Hito-tei was constructed during the Kansei Era (1789 – 1801), and is the oldest building in Goten at over 200 years old. The tea house underwent some repairs after the Hanshin Earthquake in 1995, but, unlike other structures in Goten, it has never needed to be rebuilt. The main room within Hito-tei is 4.5 tatami mats large (7.29m² or 23.9ft²) and the interior walls are finished with a thrown straw technique. The building is covered by a gently curved grass-thatched roof.
Hito-tei was a tea house frequented by members of the imperial family and was a favorite of Emperor Kokaku, the great-grandfather of Emperor Meiji. Tea houses normally have low entrances which require all guests to bow their heads as they enter the ceremony room, but Hito-tei is remarkable because it lacks this common feature. Due to the royal status of Hito-tei’s patrons, the entrance into the tea room is a “nobleman’s entrance,” a doorway tall enough to walk through without bow one’s head.