Tea Ceremony at Yusentei Japanese Garden

History of Yusentei

  • Yusentei was built in 1754 during the Edo period as a resort of Kuroda Tsugataka, the 6th lord of the Kuroda Clan
  • It was opened to the public as the first Chisen Kaiyu garden
  • The name of the park, Yusentei, came from a classical poem by Minamoto Michinatsu, which translates as:
    • Away from the unbearable heat of summer water sprung from fountain (Sen)
    • Nurtures friendship (Yu)
    • At this house (Tei)
  • The Yusentei house is a sho-in styled tea house, which means there is an area for reading and writing
  • The Yusentei tea garden is also known as the “power of healing” park, where people come to relax and recuperate

How to Drink Tea for Beginners

  1. Bow to show appreciation towards the people who made the tea.
  2. Eat the sweets
  3. Grab the tea bowl with your right hand and place it on your left palm
  4. Turn the tea bowl twice, to prevent drinking from the face of the tea bowl because the face is the most important part of the tea bowl
  5. With the tea bowl on the left palm of your hand, cup the side of the teal bowl with your right hand and drink the tea
  6. Turn the tea bowl back to its original position, with the front facing you, and set the bowl down with your right hand
  7. Bow again

We each received a tray of matcha, sweets, and origami.


Wendy: As a member of the UH Manoa Tea Ceremony club, this was an amazing experience. The club motto is “ichi go ichi e” which means one chance one meeting because in tea ceremony, the items they present to you might be your last time seeing them, so treat it as if you will never see it again to appreciate it more. So being able to see another tea house and their different tea bowls, flowers, scrolls, and sweets really broadened by view and experience on the topic of Japan tea. It was great to be able to see an actual tea garden, which was much grander and beautiful than I had expected. I’m excited to share what I saw, experienced, and learned at the Yusentei tea garden with my friends and the UH Manoa Chado Tea Ceremony Club.

Charissa: Though this was my first tea ceremony experience, this is a Japanese tradition that I have been wanting to try for years. I have heard about the amount of discipline necessary to perform the ceremony, yet there is also the sense of a natural, harmonious energy. At Yusentei, I was able to see this juxtaposition of rigor and tranquility firsthand. While we were only taught a very simplified way of drinking tea, the little we learned emphasized the amount of respect Japanese people have for everyone and everything around them. Before enjoying the tea and sweets, everyone first thanks the host with a bow. This respect is extended to the tea bowl, which must be turned twice in order to avoid drinking from the face. At the same time, our host encouraged us to enjoy the beauty of the tea garden surrounding us and to take the time to relax. There was something about this process and environment that elevated the drinking of tea to a refined art form. Our time at Yusentei has inspired me to continue exploring my interest in tea ceremony by taking the “Chado” class offered at UH Manoa and joining Wendy at the Tea Ceremony Club on campus. I look forward to discovering more about the way of tea and using it as a means to carry on Japanese values as I act as a kakehashi at home in Hawaii.

2017-04-03 12.34.33 4.jpg
Charissa (left) and Wendy (right) enjoying the tea garden.

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