Tea Ceremony and Gardens in Tokyo
Our first morning in Tokyo was grey and drizzly; we were a little tired from our long journey but ready and raring to go drink in some traditional culture and we did this by booking onto an Airbnb Experience to help us do just that - and in the most literal way we could.
The experience we chose was titled 'Discover Zen Spirit' and in our opinion it was the best way to begin our two week adventure. We learned about Edo history, Haiku, the fundamentals of Wabi-Sabi and its importance in everyday life as well as taking part in a traditional tea ceremony. This was pretty amazing and something we would recommend experiencing in person - we didn't take any photographs during the ceremony as it required our full attention so you'll just have to try it for yourself... There are certain rules and etiquettes to follow (just as everywhere else in Japan) and we stumbled our way through as best we could with the very forgiving and helpful guidance of our host, Makiko.
The experience took us through various gardens with different personalities including that of poet Matsuo Bashō and admired the colours of the foliage that were *just* on the brink of turning - we witnessed this gradual shift over our time in Japan and loved the transition from summer to autumn and managed to sandwich our trip with garden visits to really make the most of that.
Our pictures are a scrapbook rather than a narrative and hopefully they demonstrate the calm and peacefulness of the whole affair; quite honestly it felt like we had landed in some kind of painting.
Tokyo in our minds was a place of people and rush hours (it has a population of over 38 MILLION) and we expected it to feel really fast-paced, noisy and quite intimidating. We couldn't have been more wrong and we have no doubt in our minds that our feeling of calm came directly as a result of taking part in this experience. It set the pace for us, we learned loads and came away with a beautiful handmade origami souvenir each - with our names and the date to remember the experience by, now sitting pride of place on our living room shelves.
We'd like to thank Makiko for hosting us and the rest of the wonderful team at M&P Japan who performed the tea ceremony and made us feel so welcome.