Our second day in Tokyo I took Mum for a special treat. I have never been to a Tea Ceremony so decided to treat Mum and myself to one. I had booked us in at Toko-an at the Imperial Hotel in Hibiya on the other side of the railway line from Ginza.

Toko-an is located on the fourth floor of the Imperial Hotel and we were not expecting to find the setting for the tea ceremony to be a replication of a traditional tea house. It was a very pleasant surprise. A huge bank of windows looked out to a lush garden as you walked along the stone pathway to the tea room.

The garden at Toko-an
The path to the chashitsu

After taking off our shoes we entered through the nijiriguchi( a small door that you need to crouch down to get through) and then into tatami floored room(4 1/2 tatami mats) and took our place seiza style on the floor.

To our right was the Tokonoma(scroll alcove) which featured a seasonal scroll and small arrangement of flowers.

Tokonoma: decoration of seasonal scroll and flowers
Close up of the flower arrangement

Across from us in was the sadoguchi which allowed the host access to the room and along from that the Furo(brazier) on which was placed the Kama in which the water is heated. A small table was to the side and on top were the Futa-oki to hold the kama lid, the Hishaku (water ladle) and the Natsume(lacquered tea caddy). Underneath was the Mizubashi holding cold water.

Tea ceremony equipment
Close up of the furo and kama

While the tea was being prepared we were given wagashi, a sweet treat filled with red bean paste. We ate half befor eht tea was prepared and then watched while one of our two servers performed the ceremony and the other lady explained the process.

Tea being prepared
Tea being prepared – adding some cold water to the kama
Tea and wagashi of autumn colours

I was quite prepared for the tea to be bitter but was pleasantly surprised to find it wasn’t. Can’t believe everything you read!  The tea served to us was Ujicha from Kyoto and does not have the bitterness of some other types of matcha.

Here we are enjoying our tea,not very elegantly seated. My cup had a depiction of pine branches and Mum’s had fans in autumn colours.

Trying to sit seiza style while having our tea.

Then it was back out in to the chill morning and over to Asakusa and Kappabashi Dori. After leaving the station we happened to stumble upon our second wedding of the trip. The first one was at Hama-rikyu Onshi Teien.

Wedding couple at Komagatado Temple, Asakusa

We only had a quick look in Asakusa as I knew we would be back on Friday with our guide so we pretty much headed straight to Kitchen Town.

We managed to find one of the Kappa statues. Google Kappa to find out more.

Kappa statue near Kappabashi Dori

Nearly a kilometre of shops all dedicated to different aspects of restaurant and hospitality trades. I have posted on Kappabashi Dori on previous trips so will just say I bought A LOT. Then back to Shimbashi via Tawaramachi Station which was another first for me as I have previously just gone back to Asakusa station.

Stay tuned for the next adventures where we catch our third wedding!!