The Atagozaka Tea Ceremony Museum is located at the foot of Mt. Asuwa, and is about a 5 minute drive from JR Fukui Station. If you have never attended tea ceremonies, this is the perfect place to learn more about them.
◆Table of Contents
- Special Exhibition Room (2F)
- Permanent Exhibition Room (1F)
- Matcha in the lobby (3F)
- Small tea ceremony room “Shoen”
The Atagozaka Tea Ceremony Museum is located in “Atagozaka,” Fukui.
This tea ceremony museum was built by Mr. Uno Hiroki of Echizen City for the promotion of tea ceremony culture and donated to the City of Fukui.
The museum houses more than 800 valuable tea ceremony utensils and materials that Mr. Uno collected over the years, and tea ceremony enthusiasts from all over Japan visit the museum to see them.
Across the street is a museum of literature commemorating Tachibana Akemi, a Japanese scholar and poet known for his “Doraku-gin,” poems about daily life written in familiar language.
Park your car in the parking lot and walk up the stairs made of Shakudani stone.
This road was once known as the approach to Atago Daigongen Shrine on Atagozaka (Mt. Asuwa since the Meiji era) and was a prosperous place with many restaurants and tea houses back in the old days.
On a rainy day, the steps made of Shakudani stone turn blue looking even more beautiful.
There is also an observatory from which you can look out over the city of Fukui on the way up, so be sure to take plenty of pictures!
2. Special Exhibition Room (2F)
The entrance to the Atagozaka Tea Ceremony Museum is on the third floor, so go down to the second floor first.
This is a special exhibition room where you can see a variety of excellent tea ceremony utensils.
The exhibits change several times a year, but at the time of our visit, “The World of Tiny Incense Containers” was being held.
An incense container is a vessel with a lid that holds incense to be burned in a tea room.
The design and workmanship of the materials and even the age differ, giving each a different charm.
It was a moving experience to see these precious incense containers that have transcended time, coming from the Edo period and China.
3. Permanent Exhibition Room (1F)
There is a permanent exhibition room on the first floor.
The exhibits include the culture of the tea ceremony as seen in the ruins of the Ichijodani Asakura clan, a model of a tea room, and materials related to the tea ceremony of the Matsudaira family, the lords of the Fukui domain.
The history of tea ceremonies from Sen no Rikyu to the present day is well understood, but there are still many unknown aspects from before that time.
However, tea ceremony utensils and tea rooms dating back to before the Muromachi period have been excavated from the ruins of the Asakura clan in Ichijodani, and are important materials for understanding the history of tea ceremonies.
Highlights include reproductions of Japan’s oldest chasen (tea whisks) and chashaku (tea ladles), and an overview of the history of tea ceremonies using an abbreviated timeline.
4. Matcha in the lobby (3F)
In the lobby of the Tea Ceremony Museum, you can enjoy a cup of matcha with a view of the beautiful Japanese garden.
Matcha: 300 yen
Matcha was served in a cool glass bowl and beautiful dried sweets that go with the tea. The curator, Mr. Takashima told us to not worry about manners and to just relax and enjoy the tea. We were able to enjoy the tea in a relaxed manner while chatting with her.
5. Small tea ceremony room “Shoen”
Across the garden from the museum is the tastefully decorated teahouse “Shoen.”
The Atagozaka Tea Ceremony Friendship Association holds tea ceremonies here about 10 times a year, and opens the ceremonies to the public.
The tea room is also being rented out to the public, so you can hold your own private tea ceremony here.
My time here reminded me of how wonderful it is to have tea ceremonies as part of the Japanese culture. Even if you have no knowledge or experience attending tea ceremonies, please feel free to drop by this museum.
Please experience the depth, flavor, and familiarity of the “tea ceremony.”