The lights were dim in the four and a half mat tea room. A kimono clad lady entered with a red lacquer tray and a lidded bowl. She placed a tray in front of each of us and then left the room.

The lid of the clear soup was decorated with the design of pine needles and the soup itself had a most delicate taste with a pine nut sunken in its dark depths.

The lady re-entered the room, with a square wooden tray of deep-fried seasonal fish and green peppery vegetables.

Next she brought in an iron kettle with a ceramic lid and lacquer sake cups She poured sake for us. We returned the hospitality by pouring for our host.

We admired the elegance of the tearoom and the calligraphy hanging in the alcove.

We left the tea room briefly, when we re-entered the only light was that of flickering candles.

The lady performed a ritual purification of the tea caddy, tea scoop and chawan, then with a bamboo ladle, she drew hot water from the kettle

She whisked for each of us a fine bowl of matcha tea. After this we were allowed to see the black lacquered tea caddy decorated with flecks of gold and the tea scoop.

 Joukeian 浄敬庵 (website) is a tea room tucked away

between Sennyu-ji temple and Tofuku-ji temple in the Higashiyama ward of Kyoto.

Various forms are chanoyu tea gatherings are available by appointment.

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