Aug 3, 2014

Tea Ceremony in Kyoto, Japan

Tea Ceremony with En 

Near Gion District, you can go to En Tea Room, and have a traditional tea ceremony experience. It was such an enlightening experience, and very meditative even just to observe the making of the tea. We went through an informal tea ceremony, which should normal last 4 hours but ours was only 20 minutes with plenty of time for explanation. Normally there are a maximum of five guests, however we had 10+ people in the tea ceremony room

The movements during a tea ceremony or slow, deliberate and well practiced. They serve Matcha tea - a powdered green tea. 
"Tea ceremony (the way of tea) is one of Japan's traditional cultural practices,
and is the name given to a synthetic art
that encompasses not only the making of tea,
but also tea-room architecture,
the appreciation of tea utensils and bowls,
and Zen Buddhism."
Guests must remove their shoes before entering the tea room and must sit "seiza-style", a traditional form of sitting where you sit kneeled on the floor. I found this very difficult to do, so eventually had to sit crossed-legged.

The host cleanses each utensil (tea bowl, tea whisk and tea scoop), and once that is complete the host prepares the tea. The tea is prepared, and served. All guests drink from the same tea bowl. You actually must rotate the bowl so that you are drinking from the back of the bowl, and away from front so you don't damage the art on the tea bowl.  This is passed onto the next guest. 

It is after this that all guests are served individual tea bowls. Of course, this was an informal tea ceremony and was meant more as a demonstration for foreigners, so we got to try mixing our own tea. 

Tea treats are eaten on special paper called kaishi, which is usually tucked away the breast of the kimono. Guests must bring their own kaishi. 

Our attention was drawn to the architecture of the tea room, utensils and bowls. Each guest was asked to take the time to admire the art and architecture of the utensils. Many are often handmade, priceless antiques and are treated with extreme care. 

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1 comment:

  1. Great job remembering all of the deets, Annie! This was a great experience for me too and I'm glad we got to do it together.~

    Maybe next time, we'll be in traditional attire? Hahaha