Saturday Classes (Kyoto)

Saturday Chado Classes in English (Kyoto)

The influence of chado on the arts and culture of Japan is far-reaching, and studying this cultural activity which has a history of over four hundred years provides an excellent introduction to arts such as calligraphy, architecture, and Japanese cuisine, and crafts such as ceramics, lacquerware, and woodwork. Chado is considered a comprehensive synthesis of the traditional Japanese lifestyle, and its philosophy and aesthetics embody such representative ideals as simplicity, reticence, suggestion, and subtlety.

Since April, 1980, Urasenke, one of the largest schools of chado in Japan, has been offering a special program in English at the Headquarters in Kyoto for non-Japanese people interested in learning more about chado and Japanese culture. The program is named International Chado Institute (ICI). Classes are held in the facilities of Urasenke Headquarters, so that students can study in an authentic environment and experience many aspects of chado.

Iemoto Sen Soshitsu XVI believes that the study of chado will help the ICI students not only to broaden their understanding of Japanese culture, but also to enrich their daily lives by providing values that are very much needed in today’s world. These include consideration and thoughtfulness for others; awareness of nature and the seasons; and the cultivation of discretion, gracefulness, and a spirit of hospitality.

The international teaching staff, providing instruction in English and Japanese, guide the students in the procedures of how to be a host and guest at a formal tea gathering. They arrange field trips once or twice a semester to enhance and enrich the tea room practice. Past trips have included, for example, going to Uji to view the tea-picking, going to a potter’s studio to make Raku-style tea bowls, and going to a sweets maker to learn how to make Japanese tea sweets. Generally once a year, the students attend a full-length formal tea gathering which features food, sake, and two types of matcha.