After a full day's sightseeing, we were delighted to find this beautiful tea-house in a hidden corner of Kanazawa Castle park - the sun was shining, the dragonfly were sunning their wings, and the pond was reflecting all the greenery around it.
There are a few rules to follow when you go into a tea-house:
- Take your shoes off - this applies to most Japanese houses, but is all the more important if there are tatami mats and good wooden floors.
- Place your order as you come in - somebody will be there to greet you, tell you what's on the menu and take your money, and give you an instruction sheet in English if it looks like it might be your first time!
- Kneel on a mat (generally red), facing the tatami
- A seasonal Japanese sweet (sweet chestnut and persimmon were the two most popular flavours when we were there) and the matcha tea will be brought to you. Japanese sweets are not as sweet as what we're used to, but they're delicious.
- Use the little wooden stick provided to break up the sweet and enjoy it
- When you're finished the sweet, turn the bowl clockwise 180 degrees
- Rest the bowl in your left palm and hold it with your right hand
- Enjoy your tea
- When you're done, wipe the lip of the bowl with your thumb and index finger, and turn it 180 degrees (I can't remember if you're supposed to turn it clockwise or anti-clockwise - sorry!)
- Place the bowl in front of you and admire it
- That's it. Ready to go. This is not like Bewleys where you could spend a whole morning sipping a cup of tea and reading the paper!
And don't forget to admire the peaceful view!