03.05 2019

Experiencing the Art of the Tea Ceremony in Sapporo

As you may already know, the tea ceremony is one of the most well-known parts of Japanese culture. When you hear the word ‘tea ceremony’ or ‘sa-do/茶道’, anyone would think of Japan.

While you are traveling to Hokkaido, to get away from the brisk cold, why not stop by inside to learn and experience the art of the Japanese tea ceremony right in the center of Sapporo?

In this blog, we will be introducing and describing our experience trying out the tea ceremony experience in this local shop that holds a package where you can experience the tea ceremony for yourself called: REN Tea Ceremony

We believe that ‘REN’ will provide a wonderful experience and insight into what the tea ceremony is like, its traditional roots, and while being able to try making the tea in the ceremony yourself, with guidance in English!

For more information, visit their website at http://sapporo-teaceremony.com/


Overall Experience of the Tea Ceremony

Once you step into REN, the tea ceremony experience begins from the moment you enter the room.

The main characteristic that makes REN stand out, as a cultural center, is that they have a translator on hand to help you learn about the tea ceremony process and tradition in English. (They also have Chinese as well)

The company that holds this tea ceremony experience also runs the Ninja Experience in Sapporo as well!

The entire room is calm and peaceful in atmosphere, as you sit down and get introduced to the art of the tea ceremony by the guide/translator. First fill out a small introduction form in English, Chinese, or Japanese and pick which Tea Ceremony experience package you want to pick.

For today’s blog we booked the standard ‘ Tea Ceremony Experience Package’ which came with an instructed step by step close up look at a live demonstration of the tea ceremony, two Japanese-styled red-bean paste sweets to eat with your tea, two cups of freshly made green tea, and photos of you making the green tea and with the teacher. You will also be able to try making the green tea yourself to drink!

If you want to, you can take the ‘Tea Ceremony plus Kimono Package’ where you can not only experience the art of the tea ceremony, but also get to try on a kimono as well! You can choose from many of these colorful selections here:

The ‘ Tea Ceremony Experience Package’ is 3,500 yen while the ‘Tea Ceremony plus Kimono Package’ is 5,000 yen.

You can have up to 6 people for one tea ceremony booking. The tea ceremony experience, without wearing the kimono, is about 1 hour long for two people to fully enjoy the experience.

For booking, you can book at the bottom of the website page, providing your email, what type of booking you want, and how many people you want to bring along.

You can also call their phone number for more information: (011-252-7387)


An Easy Guide to REN’s Tea Ceremony Experience Course

First, before the tea ceremony starts, your guide will show you how to properly introduce yourself to the teacher during the tea ceremony. They will show you how to use your fan, how to hold and place your chopsticks on your plate, as well as show you how to eat your sweets while folding napkin in a specific order.

You will be able to learn about the complex yet intricate nature of the tea ceremony through this experience.

Second, you will wash your hands near the entrance of the tatami room before you participate in the tea ceremony. The guide will show you which hand to use and how to wash your hands in preparation for the tea ceremony.

Thirdly, you will use the knowledge you learned and introduce yourself to the teacher and then she will perform the intricate tea ceremony in front of you.

**However, we must note that while you may take pictures and videos of the room and the process before and after the tea ceremony is done, you are NOT allowed to take photos of the teacher performing the actual tea ceremony.

After the teacher is done with performing the tea ceremony and after your legs get tired from sitting in a ‘seiza’ position for a few minutes, you can take a quick break and then go through the process of learning, from the teacher herself, how to make the tea.

Very kindly and gently, she will guide you on how to carry the water to the cup, and describe each and every careful step in order to carry out the tea ceremony.

The teacher and the guide/translator both were very nice, understanding, and patient so you will not feel anxious or nervous while trying out the tea ceremony experience for yourself.

Lastly, after you finish making the green tea with the teacher, the teacher and the guide/translator will have a one-on-one discussion and session with you. You can ask as many questions about the tea ceremony as you’d like to either in Japanese, English or in Chinese.

We learned from the teacher how the tea ceremony performed in Hokkaido has a few differences to the tea ceremony done in Kyoto and Honshu. For example, the meaning of the clothes and the type of kimono and color of the handkerchief are different than that of Honshu’s tea ceremony performances.

Overall, we highly recommend for you to try this package out for yourself! It is a great way to learn about art of the tea ceremony and how intricate and careful every step in the ceremony truly is.

You can also check out their souvenirs they have for sale, which includes original, handmade crafts done by the teacher herself!

Overall this was a wonderful experience! You also get your photos sent straight to the email you provide them right after your tea ceremony experience is over.


5 Steps to Experience the Art of the Tea Ceremony Yourself in Sapporo

If you would also like to experience the art of the tea ceremony here, here are 5 steps to ensure that you will have a smooth and fun experience!

Step 1: Book the Tea Ceremony Session on their Website

Step 2: Reply to the Email Sent and Confirm your Appointment

Step 3: Getting there

Tips on Getting to the location:

The tea ceremony experience shop location is closest to Odori Station, right in the heart of Sapporo.

To get there easily, walk until you pass by the Sapporo TV tower in the distance and cross the big road here to go to Higashi 1 Road. (East 1 Road)

You should see this view as you walk straight ahead at the intersection leading to Minami 1 Higashi 1: (South Ward 1, East 1)

Stop in front of the Hotto Motto shop, as shown here, and turn right:

Once you turn right, you will see the green sign REN in the distance on the right in the Salmon Building: (it will be in the building with the bright green sign out in the front of the building on the far right, as you can see in the picture)

Step 4: Go to the 2nd Floor of the Salmon Building, and fill out a quick form in English/Japanese/ or Chinese to register and pay for the package

Step 5: Enjoy the Tea Ceremony Experience!

Tea Ceremony Experience REN
Address:
2 Chome-7-1 Minami 2 Jōhigashi, Chūō-ku, Sapporo-shi, Hokkaidō 060-0052

Opening Hours:
9:00-17:00(Last Order at 17:00) (Every Tuesday and Wednesday off)

Price:
‘ Tea Ceremony Experience Package’ 3,500 yen
‘Tea Ceremony plus Kimono Package’ 5,000 yen

You can have up to 6 people maximum for one tea ceremony booking. The tea ceremony experience, without wearing the kimono, is about 1 hour long for two people to fully enjoy the experience.

For more information, visit their website at http://sapporo-teaceremony.com/


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