The Tokyo Grand Tea Ceremony is an annual festival that takes place in Hama Rikyu Gardens, a public park in Chuo City, as well as the Edo-Tokyo Open Air Museum in Koganei Park, Tokyo, on two weekends in October.
Sado or Japanese tea ceremony is an age-old tradition that has been preserved and is proudly observed up to this day, thanks to the combined efforts of the government and private establishments that keep the practice alive. The elegant ritual is a rich cultural experience that both local and foreign tourists look forward to participating in. Tea ceremonies give appreciation to the simple cup of matcha tea and the process of serving and preparing the beverage. Participants would also wear kimonos and enjoy “wagashi”, or Japanese sweets with their tea.
The practice of tea ceremony became popular in Japanese high societies, serving as a sort of status symbol because of its requirement for space, resources, and time. This ritual even has a set of special tools called “chadougu”, which are traditionally made from organic materials and earthenware.
The annual Tokyo Grand Tea Ceremony was started in 2008 by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government and Arts Council to spread and celebrate the Japanese cultural tradition of tea ceremony by locals and foreigners visiting the country. The celebration has served as a way for the ritual to be passed down through the generations. This annual event has seen over 200,000 visitors in its 12 years of practice and is considered the signature autumnal event in Tokyo.
This large event features displays, classes, and workshops to introduce and celebrate the rich culture handed down through the traditional tea ceremony. Guests and spectators can observe and enjoy the traditional indoor ceremonies and the more relaxed outdoor activities–both in English and Japanese so that everyone from the locals to foreign guests may be able to enjoy and participate in the festivities.
The events at Hama Rikyu Gardens and Edo-Tokyo Open Air Museum are ticketed for adults while children of primary school age or younger are able to get in for free. To participate in the indoor Tea ceremony at Hama Rikyu Gardens, be sure to book a ticket before the drawing event, which is usually at the end of August.
To help with the prevention of the spread of Covid-19, many events in the country have been canceled or delayed until further notice. Please make sure to check official sites to confirm the resumption or modification of the festival.
Tokyo Grand Tea Ceremony, 2019
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