I was looking forward to attend the tea ceremony at Keio Plaza Hotel but due to a mild fatigue and swollen feet, I had to stay in my room and rest. Luckily, Mazni and Nadya attended the ceremony and they told me all about it.
Here’s the write-up by Mazni:
Tea ceremony in Japanese culture could be conducted either in formal (chaji) or informal (chakai) way. The ceremony is conducted by a tea master, normally using matcha – the powdered green tea, in a small tea room. A simple chakai is usually started with some sweet confectionery just to balance off the sweetness and the bitterness of the tea, followed by a thick tea, meal, and thin tea.
During my recent stay at Keio Plaza Hotel, Tokyo, I was invited to experience the chakai. The hotel’s Japanese Tea Ceremony Room ‘Sho-fu-an’ is situated on the 10th floor of the main tower. We were served by a lady tea master, Miss Michiko Yano. She is the 3rd generation in her family who pursue the art of Japanese tea ceremony.
Michiko-san guided us throughout the ceremony by washing up our hand and mouth first. This act is said to purify the body and soul. During the yesteryear, a tea house was used as a social gathering place. The samurai, the businessmen, the ordinary people will enter the tea house by leaving their swords, ranks and social status outside. Inside the tea room, everyone becomes equal no matter what their hierarchy in the society. This reminds me of some similarity in my Muslim culture. We take ablutions before entering the mosque just to purify our body and soul too. Inside the mosque, everyone’s also treated equally as human being no matter who you are.
While preparing the matcha, Michiko-san told us some beautiful custom in the tea room. The room is usually decorated with the seasonal flowers and a quote written in Japanese calligraphy. I found out that the Japanese really appreciate nature in every single way of their life.
The culture is also meant to respecting the others. For example, when the tea is offered to you first, you should acknowledge the person next to you by saying ‘Osaki ni’ – which means, ‘Sorry to drink before you!’ Then if you were the last person offered, you should say, ‘ It’s nice to enjoy the drink with you!’
I was told by the tea master, the type of ‘furo” or the portable brazier use in the tea room will depend on the seasons. If it is spring or summer, the braziers are placed at the corner as to distance the guests from the heat. In the autumn or winter, they are placed in the centre of the room so that the guests could heat up their body.
My daughter, Nadya shared her Japanese tea ceremony experience with us. It is interesting to know that she drank from the same bowl with her friends. Her tea ceremony was conducted by her sensei during the graduation day. At Sho-fu-an, we were served in different bowls. The tea master chose the beautiful part or design on that bowl and place it towards the us. We took the bowl and turn it slightly, take a sip and turn the bowl so the beautiful part is positioned back to where it begins.
Thanks to Keio Plaza Hotel Tokyo, I had a wonderful time experiencing this simple yet memorable tea ceremony with my daughter.” — Mazni.
That was a beautiful experience! Thank you Mazni for the write-up. I will try to experience the tea ceremony if I go to Tokyo next time.
Japanese Tea Ceremony
Everyday except for Thursday, Sunday, and days upon which the room has been chartered through advance booking.
session1 11:00a.m. – 11:30a.m.
session2 2:00p.m. – 2:30p.m.
session3 3:00p.m. – 3:30p.m.
session4 4:00p.m. – 4:30p.m.
*Each session’s capasity is 4people.
2,000yen (Japanese tea and sweets, tax and service charge)
Japanese Tea Ceremony Room “Sho-fu-an” on the 10th floor of the Main Tower, Keio Plaza Hotel.
Please contact the Guest Relations Desk through the following inquiry form. The hotel recommend you to make an advance reservation due to limited capacity.