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A mild and mellow flavor Japanese green tea is created by Takayama Chasen

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The essential of Sado (Way of Tea) is not only enjoying, but also re-considering the mind and way of life.

Sado(the “Way of Tea”), Wabi-cha  all refer to the traditional custom of tea ceremony found in Japan.

Tea ceremony is a custom in which Matcha (powdered green tea) is served to guests while following certain traditional forms and ceremonies. It has developed into a comprehensive art form spanning a wide range of areas including not only the enjoyment of pouring and drinking the tea itself, but also the worldview and lifestyle aspirations that it expresses, religious aspects, and the beauty of the tea ceremony articles and the artworks that decorate the tea ceremony room.

The art of tea ceremony grew out of a spiritual philosophy known as Wabi-Sabi, a form of esthetic culture which is closely bound up with “Zen”.
Originating from the Japanese words Wabishii (cheerless) and Sabishii (lonely), the word Wabi-Sabi expresses the idea of doing things in a modest, restrained and understated manner. Tea ceremony places great weight on this spirit of Wabi-Sabi, with participants aiming to achieve a sense of serenity and mindfulness as they concentrate their thoughts on the ceremony of making the tea within the peaceful space of the tea ceremony room. Through this, the participant can learn to think about themselves in a new way, and develop a deeper sense of spirituality.

The phrase Ichigo-Ichie (once-in-a-lifetime opportunity) is often used about tea ceremony. This phrase refers to the idea that tea ceremony is about “thinking of the encounter you are having with your guest as a moment which can never be repeated, and treating your guest to the very best of what you can offer.”

The origin of “Wabi-cha” and “Chasen

Tea in Japan dates back around 1,300 years. It is said to have come to Japan when the Japanese Buddhist priest Kobo Daishi brought some tea seeds back with him after studying overseas in China (known as “the Kingdom of Tang” at the time), and planted these in Nara.

Following this, the concept of Wabi-cha was first expounded around 500 years ago by Mr. Juko Murata who was born and raised up in Nara. He referred to the previous style of tea ceremony (Chanoyu), which had been held between upper class people with brilliant tea set, but he tried to establish new style of tea ceremony, which is simple, for common people, and to be an opportunity to re-considering the mind and way of life. He asked his friend named Sosetsu to create a tea-stirring tool that would fit with the new spirit of tea ceremony. Then the chasen he made was praised and named “Takaho chasen” by the Emperor. Sosetsu was impressed and he tried to make his best to produce chasen and tell his descendants how to produce chasen in order to keep the quality. As a result, “Takahe chasen (the name had changed to “Takayama chasen” later)” became famous in Japan.
This marked the starting point both for the art of tea ceremony itself and for the Takayama bamboo whisks which continue to be produced in the Takayama district of the city of Ikoma in Nara Prefecture to this day, and which still make up nine-tenths of all bamboo whisks created in Japan. Today, Takayama chasen are designated a Traditional Craft of Japan in light of their historical connections and technical refinement, and even now more than 60 different types are made in the Takayama district; the whisks are almost entirely hand-made by craftsmen using knives to cut the bamboo.

Takayama chasen creats special tastes of tea, by using all advantages of bamboo

Before the invention of these bamboo whisks, it is said that the tea was stirred with saji (wooden tea spoons) instead. However, using a bamboo whisk with its curved ends to stir the Matcha tea creates a finely-textured foam which is said to reduce the bitterness of the tea when drunk, creating a mild and mellow flavor.

Takayama whisks are even written with their own distinctive Chinese character (筌) as opposed to the character which is usually used for bamboo whisks in general (筅). Combining the Chinese characters for “all” and for “bamboo,” this special 筌 character for Takayama whisks is intended to suggest that these whisks “bring forth all of the qualities of bamboo.”

Hometown of Chasen – Takayama Bamboo Garden and Museum (Takayama Chikurin-en)

If you visit this museum, you can see demonstrations of the making chasen by professional craftsman, and a tea ceremony experience are held regularly.

*Demonstrations : 1st and 3rd Sunday every month, 10:00〜11:30、13:00〜14:30
*A tea ceremony experience :  Saturday_12:00〜16:00、Sunday, National Holiday_10:00〜16:00)

This museum also preserves and exhibits traditional crafts made from bamboo, giving visitors the opportunity to experience unique crafts that are traditionally handed down from generation to generation in the Takayama area.

We highly recommended this place if you are interested in Japanese tea culture or chasen.

INFORMATION

Takayama Bamboo Garden and Museum (Takayama Chikurin-en)
Time
9:00〜17:00
Address
Takayama-cho, Ikoma-shi, Nara Pref.
Admission
entrance free
Contact
+81-(0)743-79-3344

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