Did you know that Okinawa has its own unique tea ceremony, entirely different from that in mainland Japan? Forget the images of some kind of serene zen garden where steaming green tea is poured by a geisha. The Ryukyu style ‘bukubuku’ tea is a bubbly creation topped with crushed peanuts and brown sugar, accompanied by a local sweet such as chinsuko and fresh fruits.

Located a stone’s throw from Okinawa’s top tourist attraction, Shuri Castle, is the quirky Karisafan tea house. The first thing you notice upon entering is the incredible mish-mash of decorations, from bingata prints to war-time era cigarette packages, ceramic shisa hanging on the walls, and old black and white maps of Naha. It was a beautiful day so we opted to sit outside on the patio and enjoy the view of the street.

The menu, which is available in English, explains the process for making the tea. First you select which kind of tea you want to drink – I chose the genmai and jasmine tea. Then the shop owner brings a large wooden bowl with a bamboo whisk, and instructs you (in Japanese) on how to make it frothy. The brown tea in the large bowl is not for drinking – it is only for making the bubbles. After whisking for a few minutes, you use the whisk to gather up some bubbles, and then place it on top of your cup of tea. If you like, you can add the crushed peanuts and brown sugar on top, and then drink.

To be honest… though I enjoyed the experience, the tea itself does not really taste like anything amazing, the bubbles get in your way,  and the only thing giving it flavour is the brown sugar. However, the accompaniments were delicious; we had some handmade chinsuko, milk zenzai, and fresh fruits. So even if the bukubuku cha itself doesn’t wow you, the tea shop itself is charming, and the sweets are quite tasty.

Currency: Yen only
Menu: English available

Opening Hours

Mon – Sun 10:00 to 18:00

Karisanfan Bukubuku Cha

Social Media Links

Karisanfan Bukubuku Cha

Shuriikehatacho 5, Naha, Okinawa Prefecture 903-0824, Japan