Have you heard the name, Sen no Rikyu? He is the most significant tea master in the history who has perfected The Way of Tea. He also designed tea rooms with his distinctive aesthetic sense.
Konnichiwa, it’s Kohei. On our Kyoto trip, we visited Myokian temple. It has Tai-an that is the only existing tearoom confirmed as Rikyu’s design. Tai-an is one of the three tea rooms designated as national treasure of Japan.
You cannot get inside the room but you can view it from outside and see the inside from the windows and entrance. My impression of Tai-an is indeed very rustic. The inside which is surrounded with soil wall was dark and extremely small. It is only two tatami-mat room. The common size room at that time was 4.5 tatami mats. I wonder why he wanted to make the room so small?
Maybe, the limited space and light make people concentrate on the tea itself, or stimulate more mutual bonding among the attendances. I’m not sure, but I really want to experience a tea ceremony in this kind of space.
The monk at this temple told us that we can find Rikyu’s designs on ceilings, windows and Tokonoma- alcove. Some of them are elaborately presented to make the room look larger. Some people say that it seems vast like the outer space. But the monk said that it’s not that large. Two tatami mats are two tatami mats and nothing more. Ha,ha,ha (^^;; Jah!