Tea Ceremony in Kanazawa
A welcoming and educational tea ceremony in one of the most beautiful gardens in Kanazawa
Japanese Tea Ceremony
The Japanese Tea Ceremony, known as "茶道" (chadō) or "茶の湯" (chanoyu) in Japanese, is a traditional and highly ritualistic practice centered around the preparation and consumption of matcha (抹茶), a powdered green tea. It is not merely a way to enjoy tea but is considered a profound art form that reflects Japanese aesthetics, culture, and philosophy, and it is one of the most popular activities for people who travel to Japan.
The Tea Ceremony is characterized by precise and symbolic movements. Every gesture, from the way the tea is prepared to how it is served and received, has meaning. The goal is to create a tranquil and harmonious atmosphere.
The roots of the Japanese Tea Ceremony can be traced back to China, where tea was introduced to Japan in the 9th century. Over the centuries, it evolved into a unique Japanese practice under the influence of Zen Buddhism and Japanese culture.
Kanazawa, a long-standing and ongoing tea tradition
The Japanese city of Kanazawa, which is part of the Ishikawa Prefecture, has a longstanding tradition of tea ceremonies and is renowned for its contributions to the country's consumption of tea.
The city has a number of historic districts with tea shops and other businesses related to tea. Higashi-Chaya District is particularly well-known, featuring well-preserved traditional tea houses where geisha and maiko (apprentice geisha) entertain guests.
Kanazawa and the surrounding Ishikawa Prefecture are known for producing high-quality green tea, including varieties like "Kaga-bocha" and "Kanazawa-hojicha."
In addition, tea ceremonies frequently take place at Kanazawa's Kenrokuen, one of the most exquisite gardens in all of Japan.
The setting at Gyokusen-en is ideal for a tea ceremony
Gyokusen-en is not only a stunning natural location, but it is also a historic and cultural treasure that gives visitors a chance to experience the aesthetics and customs of Edo period Japan. It offers a peaceful escape from the city's bustle and is a tranquil oasis right in the middle of Kanazawa.
It is well known for its tranquil and picturesque landscape and is conveniently located close to Kenrokuen. Gyokusen-en, originally constructed in 1640 by Maeda Tsunanori, samurai and fifth lord of the Kaga Domain, which was centered in Kanazawa, is a classic example of a daimyo (feudal lord) garden from the Edo period. The garden is 4.3 acres (17,000 square meters) in size and is built around a central pond, which serves as the garden's focal point. Stone bridges, walkways, and meticulously maintained trees and plants encircle the pond.
As the tea ceremony is typically held in a "chashitsu," or specially designed tearoom, which is a calm, uncluttered space with carefully chosen seasonal decorations, Gyokusen-en, like many other Japanese gardens, is created to display the beauty of the seasons as they change. Cherry blossoms in spring, lush greenery in summer, vibrant foliage in autumn, and snow-covered landscapes in winter all contribute to the garden's charm.
In order to foster a sense of harmony with nature, the Tea Ceremony frequently incorporates seasonal elements, such as seasonal flowers (ikebana), seasonal sweets (wagashi), and even the design of the tea house itself.
When you walk through the Garden to reach the small tea house at the end of the path, you are sure to feel the seasons.
A welcoming and educational ceremony
Utilizing a bamboo whisk (chasen), matcha is created by combining hot water and green tea powder. The method emphasizes producing a frothy, vibrant green tea and is both precise and aesthetically pleasing. In the customary ceremony, there is a host who makes and serves the tea, as well as participants. A strict code of etiquette governs interactions between the host and guests.
At Gyokusen-en, after tasting a matcha bowl made by your host by the rule book, your host invites you to try to make one yourself. Gyokusen-en tea ceremony’s hosts are both very knowledgeable and pedagogic and also very friendly, so no worries if you don't get the trick right the first time. Yet they are not native, they speak a very beautiful English that is easily understandable by anyone.
They will teach you about the four fundamental principles: Wa (和) - Harmony, Kei (敬) - Respect, Sei (清) - Purity, and Jaku (寂) - Tranquility, that guide the tea ceremony. These principles underpin every aspect of the ceremony.
If visiting Kanazawa, do not miss this
The Japanese Tea Ceremony is both a cultural and a spiritual tradition. It emphasizes mindfulness, beauty appreciation, and these three concepts as well as the relationship between the host, visitors, and nature. Visits to tea houses and gardens, as well as participating in tea ceremonies led by experts, are all ways that tourists can get a taste of this important cultural tradition, which is still practiced in Japan.
One of the most enjoyable and easily accessible tea ceremonies you can have in Japan, with a genuine feel. An ideal substitute for Kyoto, where reservations for the tea ceremony might be difficult.