I've been searching Tokyo for some decent Boba tea (zen zhu nai cha) for 3 years now and I've finally found some. It's just off Takeshita Dori in Harajuku. If you walk down Takeshita Dori almost all the way to Meiji Dori there is a little side area on the right with about 25 very small, hardly more than a window, shops. It's inside there called HelloTea. Order a milk tea and make sure you ask for tapioca to complete it. 330 yen.
Seriously, Boba is huge in L.A. and from what I understand, S.F, N.Y., Hawaii, H.K. and of course places like Taiwan where it's originally from. It's probably super fattening but I love it, I crave it, and I've missed it since I came to Japan. There are lots of places for it in L.A, for example Relaxtation and Boba World and probably my favorite Tapioca Express but here in Japan it seems relatively rare and even when I did find it here it was just awful. I had tried around 11 different places and they were all yuck. Some of them were so bad I couldn't even drink more than a couple of sips before throwing them away 😞 Even sadder, the absolute worst one I ever had was in Chuukagai (the Chinatown of Japan)
I even tried making it once back in L.A. I headed over to the Monterey Park area, found some of the balls uncooked in a supermarket there. They had no instructions. I tried boiling them for 30 minutes. Nope, not enough time and they came out bland. I tried 1 hour with some brown sugar but no luck still. I found out later you have to boil them for 4 hours!!!!! My Taiwanese friend made them for me in her suihanki (rice cooker). Unfortunately I still don't know what kind of tea to use, what kind of things to add to it or exactly how to cook the balls. I do still have 100 fat straws though which I picked up in Kappabashi.
Now I've finally found salvation. Unfortunately, looking at the small stand and lack of customers I'm guessing Boba just doesn't fit the Japanese palette. Either that or they need to be a lot more agressive in promoting it. I'd better rush over there and get my fix as often as possible just incase they don't last long.
As that site about Boba says
This drink is addictive. If you've had a good one before then you know what we're talking about.
Did I say that I CRAVE it? 😃