Elegant Tea Ceremony at Warakuan Teahouse in Tokyo

Overall Rating

4.254.25 / 5


4 reviews (Post a review)

Interesting and Informative in Comfortable Sized Japanese Formal Setting

Reviewed by: Coville's, 2017/08/27

My son and I enjoyed the Formal Instruction by a Certified Tea Ceremony Expert and his wife speaking in Japanese and their older daughter translating for us. We were greeted at their gate, led to their front business door and switched from our street shoes to their special sandals and directed into an informal Japanese meeting room with a tatami mat and small floor table where we put on their special one-toed white socks and then their sandals. We then went over several sheets of their English/Japanese explanations of each of the steps of the tea ceremony explaining words that are spoken and responses that are given. There is a lot of symbolism and purpose for each movement throughout the ceremony; specific movement and placement of the handheld fans, preparation with tea scoop and whipping utensils, and finally the making of the teas themselves. The ancient tea bowls used are passed down in the family through generations. The Tea Master picks a theme for each ceremony and chooses three items to depict that theme in a special section of the room (rooms can vary in size and roof height--commonly low ceilings required scooting into the room on your knees on the tatami mats and scooting around to the themed wall) and then you scoot to your tea position lifting yourself with the flat part of your fisted hand and then sitting with your lower legs under you bottom. The tea is brewed over a small pot of special wood in the corner of the room. When completed we exited and reviewed the ceremony back in the community room we started in and they answered our questions as best as they could with their daughter's translation. It was a very personal experience.

Attended as:Families
Activity Date:2017/08/02
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I enjoyed delightful tea

Reviewed by: Nyasha, 2015/01/16

Though both of us were completely new to the tea ceremony, we decided to participate to learn the basics, just in case we are asked to join a formal event. This ceremony was held a 5 minute walk from Komabatodaimae Station. There was very much an “at-home style”, with that impression strengthened by the renovations that were ongoing.

After a short explanation of the activities, we were then taught the proper usage of the 'tsukubai', a stone wash basin, and the manner of entry into the tea house itself.

No matter the questions we asked, detailed and informative answers were very forthcoming. The differences between the 'koicha' and 'usucha', the tools of the tea ceremony, sweets, etiquette... After learning all of this, I feel that I'll never be embarrassed at a lack of knowledge at any other tea ceremony I join.

Both the tea and the sweets were delicious! From start to finish, we sat in a calm and dignified atmosphere.

That said, I can not recommend this tour if you want a very formal experience. Instead, this felt like a wonderful visit to the house of a friend. If are looking for a chance to learn about the basics of tea, this is highly recommended.
We were given a paper with tea ceremony terminology. If there was one thing more I could want from this, it would be a guide to the basics of the tea ceremony, including specialized vocabulary, that I could take home with me and read.
Also, the expected tour time was much shorter than what we spent there, as we enjoyed a fantastic conversation with the teacher and his wife. I was also able to take a commemorative photo, for which I'm grateful.

The decor of the tea house, draped in seasonal flowers and the tools of the ceremony, was a sign of high quality, I felt. If you think of this as just a chance to eat sweets and drink tea, the price seems quite high, but as a chance to study traditional culture, it is very reasonable.

<Translated by Veltra.com>

Attended as:Couples
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Thank you for the lovely time!

Reviewed by: Fijikaru Mama, 2015/01/16

While during my trips I had often tried simple 'matcha and a sweet'-types of tea ceremony, it never really gave me great satisfaction. When I found this activity (with Review Rebates too!) I booked it immediately.

The Warakuan tea house is on the Inokashira line, a 5~6 minute walk from Komabatodaimae Station, in a quiet residential area.

When they opened the door there was a wonderful smell of flowers, coming from a large vase. The tea master, his wife and daughter welcomed me with a cup of cherry blossom tea. We chatted, and I relaxed immediately.

At the sound of the bell I was led to the tea room, stopping at a little stone fountain to wash my hands (they even left a towel there for me). The garden is covered in beautiful moss, and the sound of water flowing takes you a world away from the residential area it is actually located in.

After entering the tea room, perfumed with incense, I got to see all the beautiful tea ceremony utensils. While explaining the utensils and ceremony, I was served a sweet and then the thick tea. The contrast of sweet and bitter was perfect. A true moment of bliss!

Next was the 'thin' tea. Since it was close to Christmas, the tea master selected cute snowman and snow inspired decor and sweets,which I thought was a nice touch. We chatted for a while, and it was a a truly a refined experience. The art of tea actually touches on ikebana, calligraphy, art and proper manners, I feel like I learned so much.

I am so glad to have taken part in this experience, thank you so much and please continue promoting this part of Japanese culture!

Just one thing: while I had a really wonderful experience, the price may be a bit scary for people less familiar with tea ceremony?

<Translated by Veltra.com>

Attended as:Solo Travelers
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A trip into a different world

Reviewed by: TakeTake, 2015/01/16

Less than 10 minutes from Shibuya station, we entered a totally different world.

The garden was more compact than I expected, but the lovely moss made for a perfectly Japanese atmosphere. The tea master, who likes to collect antiques, kindly explained about all the various tools used in the tea ceremony. Although I was unfamiliar with them, it was really interesting. A lot of my preconceptions about the specifics of the tea ceremony, like using monotone utensils or the degree of the strict manners, proved to be wrong. It was cool to learn more about this world.

I took part in the Review Rebate campaign, and was a little worried about what exactly what the 'thin' tea would be. Once there, the master explained the difference, and I excited to try them both.

The 'thick' tea took me aback at first, because it looked like the deep green of a still pond! I was a bit hesitant, but after the first sip was pleasantly surprised. The tea was not at all overly strong or bitter, in fact it has a sweet aftertaste.

While it may be a bit pricey, this kind of experience was truly authentic and one of a kind.

<Translated by Veltra.com>

Attended as:Friends
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