You Are Invited to Tea Ceremony at Nara, Japan

Photo courtesy of Nara Visitor Center & Inn

Nara City was declared as the first permanent capital of Japan in 710 but lost this title to Kyoto only 75 years later. Apart from the eight Unesco World Heritage Sites (famous ones are Kofukuji and Daibutu "Great Buddha"), one of the things that make this city special for tourists is more than 1200 deers living in Nara Park.

Yesterday, to do something different from other days, I attended the online tea ceremony organized by Nara Visitor Center in Nara city. Those who are keen on Japanese culture would know how important the tea ceremony is for Japanese people. Although some people may think that naturally, I will have an interest and knowledge in the tea habits of other cultures because I am a Turk, I would like to state that I am a coffee person and I am quite foreign to the tea habits of the far eastern cultures that I have been interested in for the last five years. So this experience was very interesting for me.

This is a new opportunity that comes with travel restrictions for those who love Japanese culture around the world.

I booked this event two days ago. In this free event which lasted for 45 minutes, they gave information about the tea ceremony, the preparation of the tea, and the location where the tea ceremony took place. There were two Japanese ladies with kimonos who were speaking in English under the face masks. Our host was very cheerful and humorous, and explained the tea ceremony while the lady from the shop called "Chiyonoya-Takemura" display the tea ceremony. There were 10 participants if I am not mistaken, and the questions of the participants were answered sincerely one by one.

I would like to share some of the information I learned during this event with you.

Photo courtesy of Nara Visitor Center & Inn

When the tea is served, first of all, you start with eating the sweets.
I learned that the person who demonstrates the tea ceremony is from the shop where the sweets were sold. The sweets were called “Dry jelly sweets” sold in the Chiyonoya-Takemura shop on Higashimuki shopping street near Kintetsu Nara Station. The colors and shapes of the sweets are varied according to the season. Prices were around 70 yen to 100 yen per piece.

Photo courtesy of Nara Visitor Center & Inn

Speaking of the fact that the sweets are suitable to be eaten on a white tissue, our host chose to taste the strawberry ones because she loves strawberries. Later she asked why the tea tastes different. We learned that this was due to the tea whisker made of bamboo. After the tea ceremony which was shown from two different angles and the first round of questions were answered, the event continued from the tatami-paved room to a room with a table.

Photo courtesy of Nara Visitor Center & Inn

Before the event ended, we had the chance to see Kofukuji, a UNESCO World Heritage site which was moved from Kyoto to Nara in 710, and was informed about the history of the man-made pond near the center.

You can attend this online tea ceremony, which they intend to do twice a month, through the Nara Visitor Center's website and make a reservation.(

Photo courtesy of Nara Visitor Center & Inn

Nara Visitor Center is also a place where you can stay when you visit Nara. During your visit, you can participate in free mini-events, rent a bicycle, or make the most suitable tour packages for you. You can also get information in English, Chinese or Korean from the tourist information office in Nara Visitor Center & Inn.

Photos courtesy of Nara Visitor Center & Inn (
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