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Tokyo Grand Tea Ceremony 2017

Japanese matcha (green) tea, maybe you love it or maybe you don't. Either way, the Japanese tea ceremony (sado or chanoyu in Japanese) is an art form in itself and to experience sado preformed by a master or someone training in the way of tea is something special and miles away from your standard Starbucks matcha latte.
Japanese green matcha tea and traditional wagashi (japanese sweets).
This October the Tokyo Grand Tea Ceremony will take place for the 10th year and you can attend! The event has become a signature event of autumn in Tokyo and this large-scale festival of tea is a great opportunity to participate in this old and traditional ritual.

Sadō- the Japanese tea ceremony
Regarded as one of three classical Japanese arts of refinement, sado (also called chado or chayou) meaning "way of tea", is the ritualized preparation and serving  of Japanese green tea (normally powdered matcha tea). This practice has its roots in China and was spread and developed by Zen Buddhists during the Kamakura period (1185-1333) and today there are many different schools and ways of tea.
2016 Tokyo Grand Tea Ceremony in Hamarikyu Garden. Image source: www.artscouncil-tokyo.jp
There are formal and informal tea ceremonies and gatherings and the ones held at Tokyo Grand Tea Ceremony are informal. This means that the ceremony can be easily enjoyed by beginners and since there are tea ceremonies in English it is also a very tourist friendly activity. A range of tea ceremonies, by different tea ceremony schools (including the three major historical schools Omote-senke, Ura-senke and Mushanokoji-senke), will be held inside as well as outside in the park and garden. 

How to attend
image source: tokyo-grand-tea-ceremony2017.jp
The main tea ceremony is by reservation only, and unfortunately the tickets are already sold out, but there are a lot of other tea ceremonies and workshops conducted throughout the event days that don’t require booking in advance. Tickets to those activities can be bought on the day of the event, but since there are a limited amount of spots be sure to get your ticket as early as possible. 

The event will be held at two separate occasions during October, the first one this very Saturday and Sunday (7-8/10) at and the second one two weeks later (21-22/10). This coming weekend you should head over to the Edo Tokyo Open Air Architectural Museum. If you find that a bit too far of a trip you can wait to attend the event at the latter date held in Hamarikyu Garden

Edo Tokyo Open Air Architectural Museum 

Event held on Saturday October 7 and Sunday October 8th
Traditional settings at Edo Tokyo Open Air Architectural Museum
Time: 09.50 -16.10 on both Saturday and Sunday. 
During the event days you can attend tea ceremony in English and and outdoor tea ceremony as well as tea ceremony for beginners where those who are new to the Japanese tea ceremony (and children) will get a lesson in the tradition and craft (English interpretation available). There is also a tea ceremony workshop for children where they will learn the manners and traditions of the Japanese tea ceremony. 

Besides the actual tea ceremony there are also a few events taking place including martial arts performance, Japanese jump rope performance and music performances. There will also be food stalls and   food stalls and music performances. (the "main" tea ceremony was by reservations only and is unfortunately sold out). Also the actual Open Air Architectural Museum park with all its traditional houses from different time periods are well worth just trolling around in as well. It is a perfect setting for experiencing sado since surroundings and some of the houses are "typical" Japanese with shoji (paper sliding doors) and tatami mats. 
Looking out of a old house at Edo Tokyo Open Air Architectural Museum.
The price for attending these tea ceremonies are ¥300 for the outdoor tea ceremony and the tea ceremony for beginners (indoors). The the tea ceremony in English (indoors) cost ¥700 and the children tea ceremony workshop will cost ¥200. Both the tea ceremony in English and the tea ceremony for beginners will have English interpretation available. 

Schedule and information about tickets here. (choose each type of tea ceremony to get the specific information) and map of the event venue here

Access:

Hamarikyu Garden

Event held on Saturday October 21st and Sunday October 22nd
Hamarikyu Garden tea house.
Time: 09.30-16.10 on both Saturday and Sunday.
Here you can participate in outdoor tea ceremony, outdoor tea ceremony in English and outdoor tea ceremony preformed by high school students. Tea ceremony for beginners  is also being held, where first-time participant will learn about the way of tea (English interpretation available). There will also be a wide range of other events including Shamisen (traditional Japanese string instrument) performance and the Metropolitan Bonsai Exhibition as well as small food and Japanese sweets stands and shops selling Japanese goods. Of course you have the opportunity to walk around and enjoy the beautiful garden as well.

The price for attending these tea ceremonies are ¥300 each and both the outdoor tea ceremony in English and the tea ceremony for beginners will have English interpretation available. (the "main" tea ceremony was by reservations only and is sold out).

During the event at Hamarikyu Garden you can also attend activities called the Traditional Culture Experience Program for Foreign Visitors. Here you can try Ikebana (Japanese flower arrangement) which is free to attend, visit the Edo Sashimono (the art of traditional Japanese joinery of wood materials) workshop and make wooden chopsticks, costing ¥500. If you would like to try wearing a Japanese Kimono there is also an opportunity to dress in these traditional garments and walk around the garden throughout the day. This is free of charge but only the available for the 100 first visitors since the amount of kimonos are limited. Here you can find more information.

Schedule and information about tickets here. (choose each type of tea ceremony to get the specific information) and map of the event venue here

Access:


For more information about the tea ceremony event and schedules please visit the Tokyo Grand Tea Ceremony 2017 website here.

Please let me know if you plan to attend or have attended the Tokyo Grand Tea Ceremony. Maybe you have experienced the Japanese tea ceremony somewhere else?

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