The temple that we finally found for a tea ceremony was Korinin in Daitokuji, Kyoto. I later on learned from Wikipedia that this temple is not usually open to the public.
The ceremony was held in a big room with more than 20 guests. Most of them were wearing kimono. Everybody seemed to know the manner of Sado, The Way of Tea, and the ceremony went along smoothly. The most memorable thing of the ceremony was the excellent flavor of the tea. Since I love matcha from a local tea shop in my town, I don’t usually find good tasting matcha in other places. Fortunately, the matcha served at this ceremony was quite flavorful. It didn’t have much bitter taste in it and the pure flavor of green has simply pleased my palate. The tea didn’t have any undesirable flavor. The reason for its great flavor may not only be the matcha powder itself. The thickness, temperature and amount of liquid were all well considered and it was exquisitely prepared. Maybe water was superb, I don’t know, but everything seemed perfect.
The matcha was Tamanoshiro from Ryuoen tea shop in Kyoto. I wanted it for my souvenir so we visited Ryuoen on our way back from Daitokuji. However, to my disappointment the shop was closed on that day. Bummer!
I found their tea on this webpage (Japanese) >>>
I still don’t know where you can get schedules and information about tea ceremonies in Kyoto, but anyhow I was able to attend one at Daitokuji on 28th of last month. We did not wear kimono and we just looked like ordinary tourists but the receptionist welcomed us. What I can say for now is that there are some ceremonies that are open for everybody. However, you need to be aware that most of the attendees are experienced people. It is advisable for you to know the basic manners of tea ceremony. If you are willing to learn the culture and participate to the authentic tea ceremony, this could be a good place for you to try. It will be a fantastic experience at a historical Zen temple.
|Another garden in Korinin. They also have a small tea hut.|