Friday, February 24, 2017

Tea House Japanese Style

On the grounds of a large park south of Kyoto 
(a short trip on the train) there is a 
traditional tea house.

On earlier business trips to Japan I had attended a 'tea ceremony' for tourists.  But this was a building in a garden without signage.
this would be a new experience and I was the ONLY non Japanese patron.


Peeking through the doorway I questioned if this tea house was open to the public


I was greeted pleasantly by an attendant and show an 'English' version of the offerings.
You pay before entering for the type of tea (hot or cold) you wish to order.


Many of the visitors to the park on this Sunday wore their traditional kimonos.
I left my shoes at the entrance in a cubical supplied for guests.

The building was much larger than I expected from the entrance.  

The perfect garden is on display from the glassed in room where we all were seated


                There were many tatami rooms in this tea house and the largest overlooked the garden.



The tea room was large and open.  A platform covered most of the room and was covered with a thick tatami mat.   There was NO seating so a westerner not accustomed to sitting on their knees for a long period of time might have a problem.



I had never tried cold, green tea so I selected this and one of the bean sweets offered.  It was delivered with a glass of water on a tray for each visitor.



As I sipped the smooth, cold tea and sampled the bean sweet, a light rain started.
The sound was very tranquil and soothing.    I could easily see why someone would visit a tea house instead of the local fast food dispenser.

I must mention some other observations:    I expected this to be a very quiet event.  This was not the case.  There were only 6 or 8 other clients.  There were no other solo visitors.   The two women seen in the photo above sat and chatted with each other and took photos of each other.*  This is something I witnessed in the park.   EVERYONE took photos of themselves or each other.
The group of four however, were very boisterous and spoke in loud voices.  This surprised me.  But again this was a totally Japanese experience and perhaps it was more authentic than other tourist stops.  

Finally I will admit that within a few minutes my muscles were screaming 'where is a chair?".  Even leaning against a wall did not eliminate all the pain.     Sitting in front of a computer for months before the trip did not prepare me for the Japanese way.  

* photos of the back of your head:  I have read that the nape of the neck is an area of beauty and certainly many of the hair styles worn with a kimono highlights the back of your head.

I do not remember the cost of tea but it was not over $20.00 per person.