There are some people who would like to experience a Japanese tea ceremony when they travel to Japan. I‘d like to introduce my experience of a tea ceremony in Asakusa.
The place I went to was called Nadeshiko in Asakusa, which has many different packages to choose from and the shop has leaflets in English. I chose the Nadeshiko plan which cost 4,400 yen, which induces the hire of the yukata or kimono and the tea ceremony.
The tea ceremony starts with learning how to go through a small door, to enter the tea ceremony room correctly. The door is called “Nijiriguchi” and is very tiny, the reason for this is that any samurai that attended the tea ceremony would get there sword stuck in the door and would have to remove it. Another interesting point I learnt was that when you enter the room everyone is seen as equally, with no one ranking higher than anyone else.
I was told earlier that the fan I had been given was not be used during the ceremony, I realize why now as you need it for entering the room. You place the fan before you and then moved forward through the small door.
The tea ceremony room had tatami mats and a small red carpet with the tea equipment on.
The host performing the tea ceremony came into the room, where I bowed to greet her. I then watched as she picked up the ladle. I watched that everything had a correct way to be held.
Next a pink flower shaped sweet, called “Nerikiri”, was placed in front of me. It was then explained that this Green tea is quite bitter and the cake is sweet and the tastes complement each other. The cake was maybe a little too sweet, but I think it had been designed that way.
I watched the tea being prepared, there was a tea whisk (named “Chasen”) that she used to mix the tea and the hot water. The tea we drink in tea ceremony is called “抹茶 (matcha)” and is different from Japanese tea in a plastic bottle. Chawan was placed in front of me which looked more like a bowl than a cup. The Green tea had a very stronger color and had bubbles on the top from where is had been whisked.
Before drinking from the cup you have to turn the bowl around twice clockwise. The reason for this is to express consideration for the host. The host will give you the chawan with the most beautiful pattern facing forward to the guest, it is rude to put it to your lips, so you have to turn the chawan.
At first I was a little worried that it would it be too hot to drink but it was just right and Even though it was really hot in the room still felt refreshing to drink.
The hardest part I found was that when you take your last sip of green tea you must make a slurping noise to show that you have finished, before putting down your cup. This is very different to the UK, where it would be seen as bad manners to make noise while you drink or eat.
After the tea ceremony I was given a Japanese certificate with my name written in katakana. The certificate looks more like a little book where you can print out and stick a photo of your experience on. I then got to chose which gift I would like between socks and Japanese paper.
This is another fun way to experience Japanese Traditional culture and it’s not only for women, man can join in too.
There are some option such as making a bowl of tea yourself. If you are interested in, check the website.
2-7-24, Asakusa, Taito-ku, Tokyo, 111-0032 Japan
From Tsukuba Express Asakusa Station: 3 mins on foot.
From Tokyo Metro Asakusa Station: 5 mins on foot.
From Toei Subway Asakusa Station: 5 mins on foot.
Mon 11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Tue 11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Fri 11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Sat 11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Sun 11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Plan: Nadeshiko plan (Kimono and tea ceremony)
including: Wearing Kimono, Tea ceremony (Green tea, Sweets, Certificate)
Price: 4,400 yen
Duration of class/lesson: 40 mins (in the case of 2 people 1 hour)
Age: no limit
Gender: male, female
season: all season
Minimum no. of people required: 1
Maximum allowed per class: Please contact the shop
Reservation: required (1 day before you want to try)
send email or phone.
Please include the below information in the email.
– Disired date and time
– Number of participants (including children)
(write children’s age and size)
Languages: Japanese, English (It is OK that you can’t speak Japanese)