Tea Ceremony at Komyo-ji temple in Kyoto
Ko-myo-ji temple is beside the mountain 10 minutes driving a car or bus from Nagaokakyo station of Hankyu line in Kyoto prefecture.
Some different tea schools take turns holding tea ceremonies every 2nd Sundays here.
It was first time for me to visit the temple because it’s a little far from Kyoto city. I got up very early in the morning on Sunday and prepared for the tea ceremony as a member of the host team.
The beautiful fresh green leaves in Ko-myo-ji temple
It was hard for me to get up early in the morning, but we arrived there before 8 am. Masters wearing kimono walking into the tea room.
The air was fresh in the morning and the green maple leaves were really beautiful. I was surprised Ko-myo-ji has large gardens than I’ve imagined.
I’ve heard it’ll be more beautiful in the autumn. The maple leaves turns into red, and a lot of tourists will visit to see them. Nagaokakyo bus stop beside the Hankyu line station will be full of people in the autumn.
Today I visited the main building of the temple to serve tea to the god. Since it was on the higher place, we could see the beautiful scenery.
The silent tea room in Ko-myo-ji temple
It’s a peaceful tea room with just 6 tatami mats, same as my tea house KOTO. Today, 17 people sit at once in the maximum while the maximum of my tea house KOTO is 12. Since all of the guests today were the experienced students or masters of the tea ceremony, they sit in the proper way called “seiza” which needs really narrow space to sit. Then, we can accept more guests at once in a small tea room.
The theme of today’s tea ceremony was Iris’s festival in May 5th (boy’s festival). The painting of Samurai was displayed in the waiting room, the name of the bamboo tea scoop was “the sword” and the fresh water container was “the tub for carps”, which are the items of the festival day in May 5th.
The white flower (Trillium smallii) was put in the vase called “Chimaki”, which is same shape as the sweets we often eat on the festival day.
”The timing” is the most difficult things in Japanese tea ceremony.
The formal tea ceremony at temples or shrines where a lot of experienced tea masters come has the specific rules and traditional atmosphere. If you were the leader of the host, you have to explain about the tea utensils. You have to remember the name and the artists of all the utensils you used, and the timing of talking is more important.
Hearing the voice “Please come in” by the leader of the guests, the main host can enter the tea room. After talking about today’s weather or something, the host will start explaining about the hanging scrolls in the waiting room and the main room, flowers, a vase, an incense box, and serve sweets….etc.
Not only saying the name, but also we need to introduce some episodes of them in the best timing.
I felt I need more experience and training to be the main host in the traditional tea room.