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What is a Japanese tea house(Chashitsu)?

1. What is a Japanese tea house(Chashitsu)?

茶室

The Japanese tea house(Chashitsu) is a space created in Japanese tea ceremony for the owner of the tea ceremony to invite guests and serve tea.

The tea ceremony was established along with the establishment of the tea ceremony, which expresses Japanese sensibility and artistry through the act of drinking tea.
By understanding the structure and meaning of the tea ceremony, you can understand the spirit of the tea ceremony, which is important for tea ceremony, such as "the tea room is a sacred place, and everyone is equal in it" and "respect for the guests of the owner". ..

There are two types of tea rooms, one is the Shoin style, which has been popular since the Heian period, and the other is the Soan style, which was created by Sen no Rikyu in the Momoyama period.

2. Shoin-style tea house

It is said that the custom of tea in Japan dates back to the Heian period around 794 AD.
At that time, unlike the current tea ceremony, tea was served at a playground (tocha) for aristocrats, samurai and monks, as can be seen from the paintings at that time.
The tatami room, which became such a place, was formulated as a Shoin-zukuri with a floor and a shoin with shelves, and a Shoin-style tea room (the prototype is said to be Ginkakuji Dojinsai) was born.
Tea utensils and karamono (tea bowls, calligraphy, tools, etc. from China) were used in this "Shoin tea", and it is said that the influence of Chinese culture and Zen Buddhism was great. ) Is a big difference.

茶室の内部・Interior of Japanese tea house

3. Sen no Rikyu's Soan Tea house

茶室の外観・Exterior of Japanese tea house(Chashitsu)

From the latter half of the 15th century to the 16th century, it will shift to "Kusaan no Cha" (Wabi-cha), which aims at "Yamai in the city" (to enjoy the atmosphere of a mountain village while in the city).
After working for Murata Juko and Takeno Jōo, Sen no Rikyu made the tea of Soan. Today's tea rooms generally refer to this Soan style.
The standard is four and a half tatami mats from Zen Buddhism's "hojo", and the narrower ones are called booth tea rooms and the wider ones are called hall tea rooms.
Sen no Rikyu, who completed the tea ceremony, innovated the traditional Japanese architectural space and created the tea room, which occupies a unique position in Japanese architecture.
That is why, in addition to being built as an independent building, it is sometimes built in hotels, public halls, and corners of commercial buildings.
Currently, tea rooms with various expressions are still being created.

What kind of space is the tea room? Here, we will introduce the basic elements of the Kusan tea room with photos.

4.Small garden in the Japanese tea house

In front of the Japanese tea garden(Chashitsu), there is a small garden / space called "Roji", and guests invited to tea go through the"Roji" to the tea room.
There is a stepping stone leading to the tea room in the "Roji", and while crossing over it, you can see the planting and its atmosphere, and cleanse your technique with Tsukubai.
We head to the extraordinary space of the tea room via the outdoor nature of the "Roji".
This makes the series of actions for the tea room interesting.

茶室の露地・Japanese tea garden

5. Nijiriguchi in the Japanese tea house

お茶室のにじり口/Entrance of Japanese tea house(Chashitsu)

One of the biggest features of the Kusan tea room, which begins in Sen no Rikyu, is the stumbling block.
It is about 60 to 70 cm square and is an entrance that you cannot enter unless you bend down and shrink.
There are various theories about the origin of the sword, but even if the guest is a high-ranking samurai, a sword must be placed outside to pass through the sword. Therefore, the tea room is a tea room where the owner and the guest who entertain tea go beyond their status. It is said to be an extraordinary space on an equal footing.
In addition, it is said that passing through a small entrance has the effect of making you feel the small space of a tea room.
By the way, the owner of the tea ceremony uses another doorway called the tea ceremony entrance (there is also a way to serve).
In other words, the tea room has two entrances (three depending on the tea room). A stumbling block exclusively for customers and a tea ceremony entrance exclusively for the host.

The flow of the tea ceremony is important, and the entrances and exits are arranged so that the flow lines of the owner and customers do not overlap.

6. Tea room furnace

In the tea room, from November to April, hot water is boiled in a furnace installed by cutting a part of the tatami mats, and from May to October, the tatami mats are replaced to close the pot, and a stationary type called a wind furnace is used. Use a furnace.
Why do you replace it? This can be seen by sitting in the position of a regular customer, but it is related to using fire and boiling water.
Naturally, summer is hot. Therefore, the stove used in hot weather should be kept away from the customers to keep the fire away. On the contrary, in the cold season, the furnace is placed near the customer to keep it warm.
It can be said that it is a concern for the host's guests.

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7. "Tokonoma" 

お茶室の床の間・Tokonoma

The place to decorate hangings and flowers is called the "Tokonoma".
When the customer enters the room, he first goes to the "Tokonoma" and enjoys the hangings and flowers.
The "Tokonoma" is composed of floor pillars, floor stiles, mating pillars, and hangings, but it is not uncommon for these members to be searched for and used for many years, even if they have a taste and history.
The "Tokonoma" wall is a plastered wall, and in some cases, a base window such as a sumi window or a flower window is attached to one side of the wall to let in the light. The "Tokonoma"
  is tatami or boarded.

8. Tea room ceiling

The ceiling of the Japanese tea house(Chashitsu) is higher in the place where the guest sits than in the place where the host sits.
As seen in historical drama, high-ranking people sit in high places such as high seats.
It is not possible to add height to tatami mats in a small tea room.
Therefore, by raising the ceiling of the position of the customer who should sit on the upper seat, it is expressed that the customer is higher.
The material is also divided by straw and net, making a difference not only in height but also in material and design.
This is also one of the characteristics of Sukiya architecture.

お茶室の天井/Ceiling of Japanese tea house(Chashitsu)

9. Mizuya

茶室の水屋・Mizuya of Japanese tea house

A place where the host prepares tea ceremony and cleans up tools.
Even if you look around the tea room, there is no place to store anything.
Where do you prepare the tools and water for the tea party?
That is the space called Mizuya, where you can prepare for a tea party.
Everything is done in this small space, from washing, wiping and drying the tea set.

Mizuya is very important, and it is desirable to secure a sufficient area for tea ceremony.