Experiencing a Japanese Tea Ceremony in Kyoto
If you are me, when you think of Japan you think of Karate Kid II when Daniel traveled to Japan, fell in love with a Japanese girl, and the two of them experienced a beautiful tea ceremony. Every since then, I have had a romantic notion towards tea ceremonies; so when in Japan we had to take part in one.
Kyoto Tea Ceremony
When researching tea ceremony options, we discovered Maikoya ((https://mai-ko.com). One of their options is a Kimono Tea Ceremony, where you wear traditional Japanese kimonos while taking part in the ceremony. Even better!
The Way of Tea
Our instructor and host, Miki, has been studying the Japanese tea ceremony for five years. She first demonstrated each step, then afterwards we completed the steps ourselves. These including a purification process before the tea was made, placing the matcha powder into the cups, the methodical pouring of the water into the mugs by Miki, the proper whisking of the tea, and finally the turning of the mugs in a certain sequence to signify respect before drinking the tea.
Throughout the ceremony Miki asked us to be mindful of the sounds of the tea ceremony, such as the water pouring from the ladle, water dripping, the tea spoon tapping against the rim of the mug, and the wisking of the tea. It was beautiful.
Sweets Before Tea
Do you know why sweets are eaten before drinking tea during the ceremony? Since matcha (a special type of green tea) is bitter, having the sweets beforehand tames the bitterness.
Here is a very short time lapse photography sequence, showing just part of our experience.
Kimonos & Photos
When the tea ceremony was over, we were given the option to remain in the kimonos and have a stroll down the street, or get back into our street clothes. After a few more photos, we decided to get back in our street clothes.
A Beautiful, Delicate Ceremony
If you come to Japan I would highly suggest taking part in a tea ceremony with Maikoya. Not sure about putting a kimono on? No problem. They have an option for that where you can wear your own clothes.
If you want to get even deeper into Japanese culture, they even have an option to have a geisha instructor and another where you learn to make Japanese sweet treats before the tea ceremony. Either way, you will enjoy yourself.
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