Join the Tea Ceremony at the Ichijō Ekan Sansō

Japanese Tea Ceremony performed by Enshu Sado School

By NHK Educational

NHK Educational

"Hatsuyuki (First Snow)", the Wagashi sweetNHK Educational

The Wagashi sweets

Now, it is time for the tea ceremony. The Wagashi sweets, named hatsuyuki – “first snow” – was made especially for this day. Eating the sweet before drinking the tea serves to enhance the flavor of the tea through the faint sweetness that lingers in the mouth.

The tea ceremony 1NHK Educational

The 13th Grand Master of the Enshu Sado School KOBORI SojitsuNHK Educational

The originator of the Enshū Sado (Tea) School was the feudal lord Kobori Enshū

(1579-1647), who became known as the greatest tea master of the Kan’ei era, in the early 17th century.  He was also close friends with Ichijō Ekan and Ikenobō Senkō II.

The procedure of tea preparationNHK Educational

The hospitality—omotenashi—of tea tradition is concealed in the procedure of tea preparation.

The procedure of tea preparationNHK Educational

One aspect of it is the act of purifying the utensils. Through the act of purifying, the host cleanses his own mind and spirit. This also serves to gradually cleanse the feelings of the guests who watch attentively.

Tea utensilsOriginal Source: Enshu Sado School

Tea utensils

Taking the utmost care in selecting just the right combination of utensils is another aspect of omotenashi. A careful selection is made with due consideration of all elements of the gathering, from the location, to the participants, to the season.

The frame of the hearthOriginal Source: Enshu Sado School

The frame of the hearth is made from old wood from Katsura Rikyū Imperial Villa, in a reference to Ichijō Ekan’s uncle, Prince Hachijōnomiya Toshihito

(1579-1629), who constructed the Katsura Palace.

"Tsuruoka", the tea container by ShōiOriginal Source: Enshu Sado School

The poetic name of this tea container, “Tsuruoka,” alludes to the Tsuruoka Hachiman Shrine in Kamakura, where the event is being held.

The tea bowl "Sagi-no-e"Original Source: Enshu Sado School

The tea bowl was commissioned from Korea by Kobori Enshū, the tea master who developed a form of practice incorporating gracefulness and simplicity that is known as kirei-sabi.  

The tea ceremony 2NHK Educational

The thin tea (usucha) serviceNHK Educational

The thin tea service The host provides thin tea as an opportunity for the guests to enjoy a moment of relaxation after the anticipation of the thick tea service has reached its peak.

"Murakumo",the tea bowlOriginal Source: Enshu Sado School

In contrast to the koicha session, each guest receives a separate bowl of usucha.

TokokazariNHK Educational

Special items conveying the friendships of 400 years ago greet the guests. Kobori Enshū made the bamboo vase himself by hand and presented it to Ichijō Ekan’s elder brother, Emperor Gomizuno’o.

The letter to Ikenobō Senkō II from Kobori EnshūOriginal Source: Ikenobo

Enshū also sent this letter of invitation to Ikenobō Senkō II. “Tomorrow morning, Mr. Itakura of the Kyoto governor’s office will be coming. If you have time, won’t you stop by and join us?” 

Tea utensilsOriginal Source: Enshu Sado School

We can imagine what it must have been like for the people who gathered at this mountain retreat to pass the time together appreciating beautiful things in times past.

The Interview of KOBORI SojitsuNHK Educational

The luncheon seatingNHK Educational

And lastly, to the luncheon seating. Their hearts united through tea, the guests now enjoy a meal together.

The kaiseki ryori (The traditional Japanese meal brought in courses)Original Source: TSUJITOME

The traditional Japanese meal

Auspicious foods such as kelp-cured snapper and lobster soup suggest long life. Puffed gluten in the shape of maple leaves, along with chestnuts, gingko nuts and other seasonal ingredients highlight the autumn season.

The Interview of guestsNHK Educational

The Ichijō Ekan SansōOriginal Source: The Ichijō Ekan Sansō

Today was a beautiful moment created out of the intersections of flowers and tea, host and guests. Thus comes to an end this special day that transcended time and space.

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
Explore more
Google apps