All 2017 Tea Ceremony dates are SOLD OUT! Check back in Spring 2018 for next year’s dates!

Tea Ceremonies

The objective of a Japanese tea ceremony is relaxed communion between host and guests. It is based not only on the etiquette of serving tea, but on the precise performance and aesthetics of the centuries-old ritual, the beauty of the utensils, the simplicity of the surroundings, and the social aspects of experiencing the ceremony with others. All of these elements coexist in a harmonious relationship with the ceremony.

The ultimate aim is the attainment of deep satisfaction through silent contemplation and the drinking of tea. An authentic Japanese tea ceremony can last many hours.

Built in the style of a traditional Japanese teahouse, Como’s teahouse is made primarily of materials indigenous to Minnesota, and expresses pure Japanese taste. Its aesthetic intent addresses not a spirit of deficiency but of poverty freedom from external concern and awareness of essential inward values. Equally important is the spirit of tranquility. Together they reveal beauty in imperfection and insufficiency.

For the Japanese people, a teahouse and garden represent a mountain sanctuary within the city. The teahouse and gardens are our mountain sanctuary. Through participation, guests set themselves apart from the cares of the world.

One approaches the teahouse and its gardens by way of a gate, leaving the outside world behind. Only participants of the tea ceremony enter the inner secluded garden. This is not a large landscape scene. Dramatic views or unusually fragrant plants are not included. Simple, natural arrangements of trees and green leafy plants are desirable, as is foliage that makes a sound in the breeze.

 

PREPARATION FOR THE CEREMONY

Guests experience the details of the garden before entering the tearoom. Carefully placed stepping stones form a short path in the garden. They encourage introspection, bringing attention downward as you prepare to enter the tearoom.

Final preparation involves the washing of hands and touching the mouth at a special small stone basin called a tsukubai, which means ‘to crouch.’ While washing, one crouches on the flat smooth stone or mai ishi, which is one of the many stones placed around the stone basin.

 

INSIDE THE TEAHOUSE

After meditative preparation, you enter the tearoom by crawling through a small, low entrance, which brings you to an area that is in every way another world. Subdued lighting and the fragrance of incense greet you. The room is free of decoration except for the alcove, or tokanoma, set aside as a place of honor.  A simple flower arrangement and a hanging scroll establish a tone of quiet, transient beauty for the gathering.

 

THE CEREMONY HOST

All the hosts of the tea ceremony volunteer their special skills. At least one certified tea instructor is present with a staff of other volunteers, who have studied tea for many years. The tea ceremony they perform has been taught in Japan from generation to generation by the Urasenke branch of the Sen family. We are most fortunate to have the support of these devoted individuals.

The tea ceremony at the Charlotte Patridge Ordway Japanese Garden lasts 45 minutes, and includes an explanation of the ceremony itself.

 

THE COST

The cost of a tea ceremony is $35, of which, a $5 donation is being made to Chado Urasenke Tankokai Minnesota Association (Yukimakia) to help in the recruiting and training of new tea students so they may continue their long tradition of presenting the Japanese Tea Ceremony (Chanoyu) to the public at The Charlotte Partridge Ordway Japanese Garden.    If you would like more information about opportunities to study and learn about the Chanoyu you can contact Yukimakai at [email protected].  Thank you and we hope you enjoy your experience.

All 2017 Tea Ceremony dates are SOLD OUT! Check back in Spring 2018 for next year’s dates!