Japanese Public Holidays: Mountain Day [Afternoon Tea at Cerulean Tower Tokyu Hotel]

Mountain Day (August 11th) is a Japan’s newest public holiday which started last year in 2016 so that it can provide “opportunities to get familiar with mountains and appreciate blessings from mountains” as per the legislation. This year particularly, Mountain Day was welcomed with open arms as three of the sixteen public holidays in 2017 fell on a Saturday and there is no Silver Week.

While ideally I would have loved to have spent it hiking and celebrating the mountains as it was intended, it is honestly just too hot and humid to even consider going for a hike, it’s all I can do walk 10 minutes to the station. While August 11th was chosen because 1. many mountainous regions in Japan had already unofficially been celebrating mountain day on this day and 2. in Japanese, (8 written in kanji) looks like a mountain and 11 looks like two trees, I also feel like many more people would have gone out for a hike if it was at a cooler time but that is just my humble opinion.

So instead we went for afternoon tea. Do you see the logic?


That was a trick question. There’s no logic needed for afternoon tea. We went to Cerulean Tower Tokyu Hotel located in Shibuya and had tea at Zabou. Zabou means “to serenely sit and clear the mind of daily life” and derives from the zen state of mind of Japanese tea ceremony culture. Compared to other afternoon teas at hotels with views of the city from the 30-something floor, Zabou looks out into a small landscape garden. We managed to get a reservation on the day as apparently there had been a cancellation and luckily were seated front and center with views of the garden.

Disclaimer: I am not a food critic so I won’t be wow-ing you with my descriptions. I particularly loved the top-tier, the sandwiches and savory bite-sized snacks were on-point in terms of concept and taste. The second tier consisted of three different types of scones: plain, lemon and coconut. Clotted cream, mixed berry jam and lemon custard were available to accompany the scones and free refills were available for the scone toppings though the refill jams were kiwi flavored. And lastly the third tier was dessert which was probably my least favorite of the three though the fusion between Japanese “wa” and traditional western (ex. macarons) was interesting and to be applauded. Tea is all you can drink and you can choose from a selection of teas including herb teas and Chinese teas which was a nice surprise as often at other afternoon teas, you choose one type and then you get the pot.

Storytime: Mi has a wedding coming up in September, she is a bridesmaid to one of her best friends from childhood (so sweet! I can’t wait for all of weddings coming up next year that I will be attending, I am probably going to cry my eyes out). It will be an Indian wedding and they are known for their dancing, so of course as a bridesmaid, Mi has a 4-minute dance she has to learn in less than a month. (If you are as curious as I am as to how that will turn out, there will be a vlog on that on our channel next month so stay tuned!) So in-between stuffing our faces with scones, we helped Mi try to think of a way to remember all of the dance moves. The other guests probably thought we were mad as we giggled and danced to bollywood music that only we could hear.

It was an afternoon well spent and we left absolutely stuffed but refreshed and ready to face the weekend!IMG_1770

For more information: ceruleantower-hotel.com

0 Replies to “Japanese Public Holidays: Mountain Day [Afternoon Tea at Cerulean Tower Tokyu Hotel]”

    1. Thank you! Nothing like high tea on a holiday 🙂

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