These two-day tours will be run on special request
IN-DEPTH DISCOVERY OF JAPANESE TEA
We spend the first morning in the company of a tea expert covering many aspects of the tea ceremony. A delicious shojin ryori, vegetarian cuisine, lunch is enjoyed at one of Kyoto’s grandest Zen temple complexes. Whilst there we learn about two figures deeply associated with the temple who were pivotal in the development of the tea ceremony. After lunch, we partake of a formal tea ceremony.
Replete from our refreshments, we wander through Kyoto’s most famous market street which is home to two of Japan’s most famous tea purveyors. We also visit a 130-yr old producer of tea caddies, whose caddies are still used by the Imperial Household.
Dinner is at a discreet local restaurant owned by a charming tea connoisseur.
We travel to Uji, south of Kyoto, for the second day. Home to some of Japan’s oldest tea fields, Uji is also home to Asahi-yaki, a 400-yr old pottery. Under the guidance of the current master we make our own tea bowls and enjoy lunch with sen-chado, a lesser known but equally elegant tea ceremony.
In the afternoon we visit a supplier of gyokuro, shaded tea where we meet the plantation’s owners, currently in the 16th generation, who are custodians of the field where gyokuro was first produced as well as processors of leaf from the temple tea field that competes for the accolade as Japan’s oldest.
The tour finishes with a kaiseki traditional banquet at a celebrated, Michelin three-starred restaurant.
ARTISANS OF KYOTO – limited availability, determined by artisan’s schedules
‘For the first six years of training under my father, every single piece I made, no matter how pleased I was with it, he would inspect it, find a fault in it and throw it in the bin’. It’s a long and difficult journey to becoming a master craftsman in Japan.
A number of successors of Japanese traditional crafts have come together to form a collaboration of Kyoto craftspeople that apply time-honoured techniques of Japanese art and design to create new designs with contemporary international appeal. Their mission is to preserve the skills and experiences of traditions and pave the way for the future.
Artisans specialising in:
*Handcrafted wooden buckets, using a technique developed 700 years ago, for bathing and storing rice. Their recently champagne cooler which two years to complete became the official cooler of Dom Perignon
*Woven bamboo. Established in 1898 this company uses a material that has featured in Japanese culture for 10,000 years
*Hand-made kimono belts. This company traces its heritage back to Kyoto’s sixth-century silk industry
*The world’s most refined chazutsu, tea caddies. Founded in 1875, this company’s caddies are still used by the Imperial household
*Kyo-kanaami, a metal-weaving technique dating back 10 centuries, in which classic patterns are used to decorate various cooking utensils
*Ceramic tea-ceremony vessels. The16th generation head of this family pottery keeps alive a 400-yr-old tradition
According to time, schedules and interest a tour will be designed to meet these artisans, view their workshops and even try our hand at creating our own pieces.
If you would like to discuss any of these tours, please contact us.