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Tokyo Grand Tea Ceremony is an event that that has been held yearly since 2008. Its main objective is to introduce the Japanese tea ceremony, as well as the culture of Edo-Tokyo, to foreigners and general audience. A tea ceremony is usually a formal event, but Tokyo Grand Tea Ceremony aims to create a lively atmosphere so that everyone learns in a pleasant way.
Since its beginning, the event has attracted over 100,000 persons, with 23,000 visitors in 2013. One of the highlights of the 2014 event is commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the Tokyo 1964 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
The kick-off will be on the 27th and the 28th of September at the Edo-Tokyo Open Air Architectural Museum in Koganei. Don't forget to visit these buildings that are full of history! On the 11th and the 12th of October, tea ceremonies will be held at Hama-rikyu Gardens in Shiodome, a place that has been designated as a special historic site.
Access to the Edo-Tokyo Open Air Architectural Museum is free while Hama-rikyu Gardens is 300 yen for adults. Visitors will pay between 200 and 700 yen to attend a tea ceremony - tea and the traditional Japanese sweets called wagashi are included in that price. Also, please note that reservations are required if you want to attend the indoor tea ceremonies (Cha-seki) that will be held at each location. Reservations have to be made through the official website by August 31st.
If you don't manage to get a ticket to attend a Cha-seki, don't worry: Tokyo Grand Tea Ceremony has something for everyone! At both locations, it is possible to attend an outdoor tea ceremony called a Nodate and the workshops will be available for beginners and children. At Hama-rikyu Gardens a Nodate will be performed with an English interpretation so that foreigners can better understand Japanese tea ceremony. Tickets to attend all these tea ceremonies can be purchased directly at each location.
Unlike what is indicated by its name, Tokyo Grand Tea Ceremony is not only about tea ceremonies. Various events are scheduled to suit all tastes: traditional dance performances, demonstrations of Japanese candy art, and many others.
If one wants to bring some souvenirs back home, then wagashi, green tea and even some of the tools used during the ceremonies are available for sale at Hama-rikyu Gardens.
Perfect for those who want to impress their relatives by showing them what they have just learned!