A Real Tea Ceremony at a Real Tea House

April 4th, 2011 by
Category: Culture Art, Experience, Information
Since it's not everyday that I wear a kimono, I took the opportunity to take a picture with my Hina dolls

Since it's not everyday that I wear a kimono, I took the opportunity to take a picture with my Hina dolls

 I have joined a village culture class to learn how to conduct tea ceremonies.

I have been one of the members  for 3 years now, but still pretty much a novice….

Nevertheless, it excited me to hear about having a real practice at a real tea house .

So I joined my senior members to the tour to Matsumoto city.

The entrance to the Hyakuchiku-tei community house

The entrance to the Hyakuchiku-tei community house

 

Right in the back of the Matsumoto Castle, there locates a small house with its teahouse settled in the garden.

This house used to be a  house for a local merchant, Kisaku Ikegami.

He was a Kimono merchant in Matsumoto city in Meiji era, and had friendships with intellectuals like Masaoka Shiki, a haiku poet.

The house is where the merchant enjoyed his friendship with his intellectual friends.

Now the house have been donated to Matsumoto city , and the city maintains it.

So what is great about this Hyakuchiku-tei is that it is a real ordinary house of a hundred year old with a complete style of tea house attached in its garden.

Also, since it is maintained by the city and daily care is done by local senior citizens, you can rent the place in a surprising cost; 3,100yen/ half day for the tea house etc. with a homey assist of the local elderly citizen in charge.

the entrance to the tea house within the site of the Hyakuchiku- tei

the entrance to the tea house within the site of the Hyakuchiku- tei

 

After bringing in the utensils to conduct the ceremony, we walked into the tea house area pretending we are the guests, and not the ones that just before had prepared the sweets, pot, and boiling water.

 

 

 

 

 

change our socks and zori slippers

change our socks and zori slippers

 

Between the gate and the tea-house is a roofed bench place called Machiai, meaning a waiting place.

 

 

 

 

 

watching silently while the host makes tea

watching silently while the host makes tea

Can you guess from where we entered the room?

It is from a small square-cut entrance just beside the guest on the right.

Its height is about a half a tatami size, so you have to crawl in.

In fact, an entrance to a tea room is called ,”Nijiri-Guchi”, or a”crawl-in”.

Upon entering the room one by one, we bow and move to watch and appreciate the scroll painting at the alcove,  the flower aranged, and the pot for boiling water, each time bowing and shifting your head slightly to show you are appreciating the objects.

 

a senior member lectures me how to be a host

a senior member lectures me how to be a host

 

After taking turns to switch from gusts to hosts, I had a honor of  going through the host practise with the advice of my senior members.

” The pitcher , the tea powder pot, and the whisk have to be placed straight in line, apart from each other for about 4 tatami grains.” 

Wow,,,!

4 Responses to “A Real Tea Ceremony at a Real Tea House

  1. I enjoyed reading this interesting article telling Japanese traditional culture, tea ceremony. The tea house and the ladies in kimono look so elegant.

  2. I have walked past the Ikegami Hyakuchiku Tei many times while walking my son to his school (Kaiichi Elementary). I now know what is inside the beautiful House and Garden. How very elegant and pretty all of you look in your Kimonos. I am from Hawaii and had an interest in the Japanese Tea Ceremony while in college. Thank you for such a nice article.

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