Tag Archives: culture

Urasenke Foundation Japanese Tea Ceremony Waikiki Honolulu Hawaii

We experienced an authentic Japanese tea ceremony at the Urasenke Foundation in Waikiki, Honolulu, Hawaii.

The Urasenke Foundation is nestled away on a side street in Waikiki across from the post office. The foundation teaches the art of tea service at locations around the world. We stopped by for a demonstration of the Japanese thin tea ceremony.

We asked and the foundation requested we not shoot video during our visit.

We were greeted at the door and asked to make a small donation to the foundation before entering into the next room. Here we watched a 25 minute video describing a typical thick tea ceremony. The thick tea ceremony lasts several hours and gave us an understanding of the thin tea demonstration we would participate in.

Next we were guided to a tea room and instructed to remove our shoes before entering. This protects the mats covering the floor.

Our host entered with two other Japanese women all wearing colorful kimonos. Our guide described the tea ceremony and instructed us on how to respond. The host did not speak during our visit. The mood was formal and proper.

The room had a cauldron of boiling water set into a hole in the floor. The host began by serving us delicate cookies with a gingko flower design. The elaborate tea preparation began with powdered tea and a small whisk for each single serving. Our guide instructed us on the proper way to show gratitude when accepting the drink. The cup is turned clockwise twice before drinking. Admiration of the design is important.

After each guest was served, the tea spoon and tea container were passed in turn to each guest to admire.

We asked our guide about the history of the foundation. She told us she was a founding member of this branch over 50 years ago. When I asked how long it took to learn the art of Japanese tea ceremony, she said a lifetime, you never stop learning.

My husband is studying to speak Japanese and the women enjoyed conversing with him in their native tongue.

Urasenke Foundation Japanese Tea Ceremony Waikiki Honolulu Hawaii

Urasenke Foundation Japanese Tea Ceremony Waikiki Honolulu Hawaii

Read more about our visit at 808Talk Insiders Guide to Hawaii.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

So You Think You Know Hawaiian History?

We travel to Hawaii often and likely know more about Hawaiian history than the casual tourist to the islands. Our visits include stops at cultural and history sights important to making Hawaii the diverse location that it is. Then we met Richard Wong, tour guide for Ohana Tours. When our friends at Ohana Tours heard about our love of history and Honolulu they invited us to check out the weekend walking tour of the downtown area. We took our ohana (family) to meet Richard on a recent Sunday morning.

Our adventure began in downtown Honolulu in front of the golden Kamehameha Statue in the heart of the city. You can see this statue on the Hawaii state quarters released as part of the state series. For the next two hours Richard shared history of Hawaiian culture, religion, politics and people. As history buffs ourselves, we were overwhelmed by the detailed stories our guide shared with us. Richard is a gifted story teller. His vivid words and smooth delivery made the tales come alive for us. Drawing on a long career as a Honolulu police officer, he personalized his tales with accounts from his time on the force.

We found another link between us and our guide. To bring the islands to us when we are in the Midwest, we started watching the Hawaii 5-0 television series starting at the pilot. I get chills every time I hear the Hawaii Five-0 theme song playing. The show ran for 12 years from 1968 to 1080 and was filmed in Hawaii. The second floor of the Iolani Palace was the fictional state police headquarters. Many scenes were filmed at the iconic Ilikai Hotel in Waikiki overlooking Duke Kahanamoku’s Lagoon and the Honolulu Marina. Richard worked security during many of these shoots and shared stories of the cast and crew. He even had a few on screen parts.

You can read more about our tour on the www.808talk.com article. Listen to how Richard started out our tour below. If you are  staying in Honolulu over a weekend, check out Ohana Tours for information or reservations.