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Last Friday morning, Thierry, 康代 and I, accompanied by Nobuko-san, had the immense privilege to be the guests of Chūjō Zaidan, a Sukiya, a tea-house, in Takamatsu.

We had the honor to be part of a genuine tea ceremony, a thing I never thought I would do. But thanks to Ms. Ozaki and Shikoku Muchujin, it happened.

Being a total novice concerning tea ceremonies, I won’t tell you much about it. Sorry.

I hope you’ll enjoy the pictures, although I’ll admit they’re not my best ones. I was more concentrated on what was happening rather than on my camera.







Notice how we were first sitting at a table, instead of kneeling on a tatami. This room is especially designed for foreigners and older people, so that they too can enjoy a tea ceremony without being a torture.


Despite the relative modernity of that room, keep in mind that some of the utensils used could more or less be considered as antiques.


Candied fruits that one eats with tea, mostly to balance the tea’s bitterness.





Haruyuki Chūjō

Haruyuki Chūjō aka Chūjō-sensei, the Tea House master

A very welcoming and nice person who taught us the secret of a successful tea ceremony.
It’s not about the perfection of the technique, it’s about people spending a pleasant time together.


If you’re wondering why there was a camera stand in the background four pictures above, here is the answer.
We were being filmed the whole time. Thierry was quite used to it as that happened pretty much every day on his trip. For me it was the first time and it was odd at times.


Thierry inspects the quality of the laquer.
(it was more than fine, in case you’re wondering)


Chūjō-sensei preparing tea for us. That was not originally planned, but he suddenly decided to do so, twice...



Then we headed to a very rudimentary (but even more amazing) room. There, we had another tea ceremony, a very very traditional one. I really wish I could explain the details.






As you can see, this room is much darker. It’s made only with natural materials (wood, paper, cob, etc.) and of course no electricity, the only light is daylight. An exceptional and almost unreal place.

To conclude, that was a fascinating and memorable experience. One can learn many things from books (and we all know this is one of my favorite ways of learning things, no dissing from my part here) but nothing can surpass life experience when dealing with learning about another culture, whether it’s everyday life or more exceptional elements like this one.
Once again, thanks to Ozaki-san and Chūjō-sensei to make that possible, not forgetting 康代 who had to step up in the interpreter role and we all know this is something she doesn’t really like, especially when she’s not prepared for it and it falls on her with no warning.


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