Experience Personal Tea Ceremony with a Great Master

Tea ceremony was originally enjoyed only by a limited number of high-ranking people mainly in Kyoto. In the 17th century, it became popular in the capital city of Edo (now Tokyo) among samurai and ordinary citizens. Since then until the present day, various styles of tea ceremony have been created in Tokyo while carrying on its tradition.

Tokyo, serving as the center of culture and economy for over 400 years, is home to numerous unique and exclusive venues developed by members of various business fields and circles, where the best tea makers and masterpiece tea utensils are found. As a result of these factors coming together, Tokyo gives you wide options of first class tea ceremony experiences not seen in other cities.

Tranquilitea (Charen) is a tea ceremony specialist in organizing and hosting tailor-made tea parties. The director of Charen, Ms. Hoshina says, “I would like for people who come to Tokyo to experience the authentic tea ceremony in a casual manner and I hope to seek new possibilities for tea ceremony while connecting with people from various countries.”

She comes from a Daimyo family (Samurai lord) that can trace its roots back to the Edo period (1603 – 1868), and all of the tea utensils she prepares for us are masterpieces. Her background also allows her access to various exclusive venues in Tokyo and make some special arrangement there. For example, they offer you a real “Tea Kaiseki”, the tea ceremony with Kaiseki style course meal, at “Tsujitome”, a Michelin 2-star Kaiseki restaurant. As tea ceremonies are held in English, there is no need to worry about the language barrier. We would love to have you try your hand at creating your own unique tea ceremony in Tokyo. 


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HIROCOLEDGE - Hiroko Takahashi

Rediscovering the Kimono for the Modern Age in Tokyo

The kimono is Japan’s most iconic traditional garment. It came into being during the Heian period (794-1192) and still to this day remains a wardrobe staple for both men and women. More than just a garment, however, the kimono has shaped the nation’s artistic, textile, and technology culture quite unlike any other garment in the country.

Tokyo is the home of Japan’s progressive kimono culture, and you can experience a whole gamut of different kimono ideologies and projects here. If you want to wear traditional kimono and wander around some shrines, there are plenty of places to do that. However, if you want to see something that melds cutting edge art and design and the kimono, there are places like artist Hiroko Takahashi’s stunning studio nestled in the quiet neighborhood of Narihira, Sumida.

Today from her studio, Takahashi mixes modern ideas, geometric designs, and stylish contemporary aesthetics with the classic kimono silhouette. She founded her brand “HIROCOLEDGE” in 2016, and her work and ethos are so representative of Tokyo’s progressive attitude, and it’s landed her plenty of attention both locally and across the world. “The simplicity of the kimono creates a unique result for whoever wears it; it triggers my artistic sense,” she says. “You can’t recreate a style perfectly; the kimono comes out different every time. I want to change how kimono is perceived in the modern world by combining the modern style with traditionalist ideas. Tokyo is a great place to do that because it’s a trigger point for the rest of the nation. At the moment, the world is looking at Tokyo as the representation of Japan, and we want to showcase what we can do.”

While classic kimono studios may be closed off to outsiders, Takahashi’s studio is open to the public and those interested in meeting with her or learning more about her work. Spending some time rediscovering the kimono for the modern age is an excellent way to see just how Tokyo is propelling the history of the nation into the present day.

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Galerie Nichido

Visit the Oldest Western Gallery in Tokyo

To say Japan’s artistic prowess is legendary would be an understatement. The country has an art history and legacy that permeates almost every facet of classic Japanese culture. When it comes to influence throughout Japan, Tokyo is the birthplace for culture and trends. If you want to learn about the broad landscape of Japan’s art history and future, the entire chronology is here at Tokyo’s doorstep.

Ginza’s iconic Galerie Nichido is one of the Japan’s most important landmarks in the world of modern Japanese art, especially oil paintings. In 1928, this gallery was established — making it the longest still surviving Western-style gallery in Japan. Its survival throughout this almost century-long lifetime is due to a multitude of reasons beyond being home to brilliant modern artworks.

Chieko Hasegawa, one of the key figures behind the proudly family-run institution, chalks the success and legacy of Galerie Nichido up to its ability to move with the times. Hasegawa herself is an art legend; she was awarded the d’Officier dans l’Ordre national de la Légion d’honneur by the French government for her work. She’s also an endless fountain of captivating art anecdotes. Hasegawa has interviewed Dali, whose entire persona, she suspects “was an art performance itself” and has been painted by Andy Warhol, whom she recalls, “he asked to take my portrait and then sent me an invoice for the work! Nobody had ever done that ever or since!”

For those who want an exclusive Tokyo art experience, you can meet Hasegawa and chat with her about her illustrious career, traveling the globe and meeting legends of the modern art world as you admire the works hanging on the walls of Galerie Nichido. It’s truly a one-of-a-kind immersive art experience where ‘omotenashi’ hospitality and high art combine.

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