Kinkakuji & Japanese Tea Ceremony

Symphony in green and gold

Rie Kuranaka
By Rie Kuranaka   - 3 min read

Kinkakuji is a beautiful Zen Buddhist temple and one of many World Heritage sights found in Kyoto. Many first time visitors make their way to see this magnificent temple, and it has long attracted both Japanese and foreign tourists.

Near Kinkakuji, there is a main road called Kinukake no michi, where other temples such as Ryoanji, Ninnaji are located. During the day, the streets and temples can get busy with tourists, so why not take a quick relaxing break in a tranquil environment of a tea ceremony house Koto, only a minute away from Kinkakuji.

Kinkakuji was built by Ashikaga Yoshimitsu, a shogun from the end of the 14th century. The temple's formal name is "Rokuonji", but nowadays more commonly referred to as the Golden Pavilion or Kinkakuji. It was formally a villa and represented the extravagant "Kitayama culture" of the time. Consisting of three floors, each floor presents a different design and purpose. The first floor is designed as a nobleman's palace from the Heian Period (794-1192). The second floor is designed like a samurai residence, and the third floor is designed using the aesthetics of Zen Buddhism. The golden appearance, surrounding garden and lake present paradise.

At Koto, you will have the opportunity to enjoy taking part in a traditional Japanese tea ceremony. The host will first give you a thorough introduction to Cha-do, the way of tea, as well as explaining the tea utensils in English. Guests will then first observe the way of tea performed by a lecturer of Urasenke, one of the biggest tea schools in Japan.

The powdered green tea is served one by one accompanied with traditional sweets. Following this, guests then have the opportunity to make their own tea under the warm guidance of the host.

The tea ceremony is available five times a day: 11:45, 13:00, 14:15, 15:30 and 16:45.

There are also three different plans to choose from:

  1. Shared Tea Ceremony: ¥2,700 (¥1620 for children 6–12 years old). The price includes sweets and two types of powdered green tea.
  2. Private Tea Ceremony with Special Japanese Sweets: ¥5,400 (¥3240 for children 6- 12 years old) Price includes fresh traditional sweets, Japanese cookies, and strong and light styles of tea.
  3. Short tea ceremony: 15–20 minutes for ¥1,000. Observe the way of Japanese tea and enjoy dried sweets and powdered green tea.

Note: Reservations should be made at least one day in advance by e-mail.

Rie Kuranaka

Rie Kuranaka @rie.kuranaka