お茶壷道中 Tea Procession

June 5th, 2009 by
Category: Events

image courtesy of http://www.naraijuku-ikariya.com

Although it’s a staple almost anywhere you go in Japan, it is said that back in the Edo Period (1603-1868) tea was available only to the daimyo, Japan’s feudal lords. . .those elitist swine.

So, vessels of tea making their way from one place to another was quite the sight for Japan’s “common folk”; almost as much fan-fare as when the daimyo themselves would come through town.

The Kiso Valley’s nakasendo 中山道 was one of the major roads used during the Edo Period to travel between Kyoto and Edo (modern day Tokyo).  This means that there was also a fair amount of tea being carried through the mountains there.  These processions of tea are known as ocha-tsubo-dou-chuu お茶壷道中.

Narai-juku 奈良井宿, one of the stops on the old nakasendo, celebrates this Edo Period custom during a yearly festival.  The festival will be held this year from today, June 5th until Sunday, June 7th.  The tea procession itself will happen on Sunday, June 7th from 12 PM to 4 PM.

Narai-juku is a beautiful town that allows a glimpse into Japan’s Edo Period, so it’s worth visiting any time of the year.  The ocha-tsubo-dou-chuu is just an added treat.

Find more information at the Narai-juku website:                                                          http://www.naraijyuku.com/info/menu.html

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