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.
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.”