Friday, June 14, 2013

Before getting into the tea room

The tea ceremony doesn’t happen only in the tea room.  Before it starts, there are some things that you go through.  The pictures below are from the ceremony I attended the other day at Bosetsuan in Toki.

Yoritsuki is a waiting room where the guests get together before the ceremony begins.  At a formal ceremony, hot water in a tea cup is served in this room.  But at the ceremony where I attended, there was no hot water.  Instead, sweets were served in the yoritsuki.  The theme of the hanging scroll displayed in the room was associated with the rainy season.  

From yoritsuki (waiting room), the guests will be heading to koshikake, a waiting bench in the garden.  Usually there are traditional sandals for the garden prepared for guests. 

This is the koshikake, the place where the guests will wait until they see the host approaching to the gate called chumon.

The gate, chumon, separates the inner and the outer-garden.  When the host comes to the gate from the inner garden, the guests also go there from the outer garden where the waiting bench is located.  They meet and greet in silence by bowing across the chumon.

The guests will be heading to tsukubai, a water basin in the inner garden.  They purify their hands and mouth with water.  Then, they are ready to get into the tea room finally. 

These are the things you go through before the ceremony starts.  At a casual inexpensive ceremony, there might not be “greeting with the host at the gate” or “purifying your hands and mouth at tsukubai”.  The guests will wait in the waiting room and then just go straight to the tea room.  The ceremony in which I attended was inexpensive, it only costs 500yen, but I could experience these proper steps before getting into the tea room.  I don’t have much opportunity to practice those procedures even at my tea school.  So, I really appreciated and enjoyed this gathering at Bosetsuan.   

These procedures isolate or escape you from real life and take you to the world of tea.  Taking the time before a ceremony helps your mind to be ready.  Appreciating the scroll at the waiting room, silent greeting and purifying your hands may have important meanings.  I might not truly understand their essence yet, but I simply feel good waiting for the ceremony calmly.  

The tea room, Bosetsuan (Japanese) >>>


  1. Wow, how often does this tearoom have these public teas? It is amazing to me that there are so many beautiful, historic teahouses that are so generous to have public teas that cost so litttle. Even the cost of the two sweets you consume would be more than 500yen retail. Sugoi!

    1. This is held every second weekend of the month. Another inexpensive ceremony in Nagakute is also held on the second Sunday. So I wonder which to join, I guess that I‘ll attend them alternately from one month to the next, hahaha.
      The sweet was only served in the yoritsuki, and there was no sweet in the tea room. It is still reasonably placed, isn’t it?

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  3. 日本とお茶を飲みながら存在するとすぐに思った