HRH Princess Sonam of Bhutan Visits Konnichian

Sunday October 22, 2017, HRH Princess Sonam Dechen Wangchuck, daughter of the 4th King of Bhutan, Jigme Singye Wangchuck, was guest of honor at a chakai hosted by the Urasenke head family at Konnichian, the Urasenke estate in Kyoto. HRH was in Japan at the invitation of Kyoto University, to take part in events commemorating the 60th anniversary of the special relationship enjoyed between Bhutan and Kyoto University. Among her entourage from Bhutan were Major General Chencho Dorji and the Jigme Singye Wangchuck School of Law's Dean Sangay Dorjee. Ten individuals from Kyoto University, including Distinguished Professor MATSUZAWA Tetsuro of the Institute for Advanced Study and Professor Emeritus MATSUBAYASHI Kozo of the Center for Southeast Asian Studies, accompanied them.

A massive typhoon was approaching just around the time of Princess Sonam's visit to Kyoto, and most of the site-seeing and cultural activities which had been planned for her therefore were cancelled. However, amid considerable wind and rain, she was able to come to the chakai, at which Daisosho SEN Genshitsu and SEN Takafumi represented the family in greeting her and serving her a bowl of tea. From the Konnichian corps of deputy tea masters, KURAKAZU Sokaku was the chief assistant.

Daisosho met the Princess and party upon their arrival and showed them into the Heisei Chashitsu. For their visit, a display of various items which are employed in the Japanese Way of Tea had been put together in one of the rooms, and Daisosho showed it to them and provided explanations. They then were shown to the main room, the Chofu-no-ma, where they were served traditional wagashi confections and Takafumi performed temae to serve them usucha tea. After the tea-drinking, Princess Sonam tried her hand at using a tea whisk to prepare a bowl of usucha, and Takafumi came forward to drink the tea that she made.

Finally, there was an exchange of gifts and a brief photo session before the Princess and party's departure. On their way back to the Kabutomon, Daisosho took them on a short detour to see the old kitchen in the historical Konnichian complex which is currently under restoration.