Experience a tea ceremony in the cool Arashiyama based Chasanraku
Chasanraku — Experience an authentic tea ceremony only a short 5-minute walk from the Raiden “Arashiyama” station
When you think of Kyoto teas, Uji is likely the first thing to come to mind, but at Chasanraku, they don’t limit themselves to teas grown in Kyoto and Uji. Chasanraku has gathered tea from all across Japan and in their tea ceremony, introduce the characteristics and flavors of each individual one.
Chasanraku also have an authentic tradtitional tea room, where you can experience tea ceremonies for yourself.
We were lucky enough to get the opportunity to take part in one of these tea ceremonies. With the help of an iPad, the teacher showed us pictures and taught us about the history and methods of Japanese tea ceremonies, all with incredibly easy to understand English explanations
If you have any questions, feel free to ask, and the teacher will kindly answer any query.
In addition to the tea ceremonies, Chasanraku also operate as a café that offers tea, lunch and depending on the season, Kakigaori, Japanese shaved ice.
Chasanraku can cater to both English and Chinese (reservation required) speaking customers, so we highly recommend anyone looking for an authentic tea ceremony experience with easy to understand explanations to check them out.
Tea Ceremony and Matcha Explanations
When you enter the tea room, you’ll instantly be taken aback by the beautiful garden you can see outside the window.
At the same time, you’ll be greeted by a flower sitting below the words “和敬清寂” (Wakeiseijaku) hung on the wall.
In English, the teacher will give a simple and easy to understand explanation of the words “Wakeiseijaku,” the heart and soul of Japanese tea ceremonies, and explain the history behind Japanese tea.
The teacher will also present photos and pictures on an iPad to help with the explanations, so you can rest easy knowing that you will be able to take in all there is to learn.
Tea Making Demonstration
After you have learned about Japanese tea ceremonies, the teacher will leave the room for a moment. Once she has returned and quietly finished preparations, the tea ceremony will begin. In the hushed room, the teacher will gently prepare the Matcha green tea for you.
During this time, try not to ask any questions, as the teacher is focusing on the tea and making you, their guest, the best cup possible.
Sit back and quietly enjoy the tranquil atmosphere of the ceremony.
Enjoy some Sweets
Once you hear the teacher say “Dozo, okashi o” (Please enjoy the sweets), you can feel free to enjoy the sweets that were placed on the folded Kaishi paper.
At this tea ceremony, we were lucky enough to enjoy cherry blossom Higashi candies made from Wasanbon sugar (Sweets are seasonal).
The sweets are not only delicious but cute too.
Matcha and the Bowl Itself
Once the teacher has made the bowl of Matcha green tea for you, express your gratitude by saying “Otenmae chodai itashimasu.”
Before you drink the Matcha, take the bowl in your hands and move it clockwise twice so that the front is facing outward. Take two large sips of the tea and with your final sip, make a big slurping sound and drink up all the bubbles sitting at the bottom of the bowl.
For many of us, making a big slurping sound when you drink is pretty embarrassing, but in Japanese tea ceremonies, it’s a polite expression that shows you thought the teacher’s tea was delicious.
Afterward, please take a moment to enjoy the art that is the bowl itself. The patterns and even materials of the bowls change according to the seasons, so you can enjoy Kyoto’s different seasons through the bowls.