This was discovered through the Welcome Sapporo City website. It is located a few minutes from Nijo seafood market. Be aware that it is closed on Sundays. The establishment itself is run by the original founder's grandson and his younger brother. They both have good English, and there is an assistant (his nephew) on hand to help with translation when required. Like many small businesses in the area, the setting is quite intimate. You will be guaranteed attentive service, and there are pairs of seats at varying distances from the tea brewing action. Now for the fun part: consumables. The two main beverage choices are loose leaf and matcha. It might be worth starting with a recommended loose leaf tea (sweet or bitter) to get a feel for what's on offer. If the owner asks if you're tired, it's so he can gauge the brew temperature. From there, you could progress to a cup of venison soup. The real showpiece, essentially, is the matcha ice cream. It is paired with "strong milk" Hokkaido soft serve (delightful) and if you arrive before afternoon you should be able to have it in a green tea waffle cone. For ¥400 you can taste authentic, top-grade matcha prepared by an expert. Prices for the menu items are comparable. There are over a dozen packaged tea varieties available for purchase. We also found the teaware to be well-priced. There is no sales pressure. Throughout the service, we were given excellent advice on the varieties, properties and preparation methods of Japanese tea. Our questions were all well-answered. If you are interested in knowing more about the subject, drop in. If you're after some top-tier Hokkaido ice cream, you'll be pleased you went. It's a cosy and personable shop. We saw a lot of local regulars stop by, and it's easy to understand why the community values Gyokusuien. There's something for anyone who enjoys culture and original fare.
This is one of the oldest Japanese tea shops in Sapporo although Hokkaido actually does not produce any green tea at all. The proprietor, who was a very kind gentlemen, and spoke good English, explained to us that they sourced the best teas from all over Japan including Kyoto's Uji and Kyushu (both our favorites). He went on to prepare teas for us to try and we also learnt some more tips to prepare a great pot of green tea from him. The experience was topped of with a taste of the shop's signature matcha ice cream cone - it was heavenly. The texture of the ice cream was nothing like we have had before and the aroma of green tea was fragrant and intense. The proprietor was glad that we liked it very much and proudly proclaimed that he came up with the recipe for this matcha ice cream - this is the kind of artisanal pride and dedication that attracts us back to travel in Japan year after year. The teas we liked and bought included a beautiful Asatsuyu Chiran sencha from Kyushu. We will certainly visit the kind gentleman again on our next visit to Sapporo! Highly recommended!