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Culture, Experience,

Limited to 20 participants! Experience a tea ceremony at Tokyo Tower’s 150-meter-high observatory

Tokyo Tower has a new special event that lets you experience Japanese culture at the 150-meter-high observatory. Take part in an authentic tea ceremony while bathing in the morning sun! In this article I will share my experience of this exciting event.

* Please take sufficient measures to prevent an infection and spread of COVID-19, such as wearing a face mask and using a hand sanitizer.
* The information in this article is as of January 5th. The event schedule might change. See the official website for the latest news!

To participate, you need to book your tickets online in advance. On the day of the event, all participants meet at Tokyo Tower’s main entrance, where the ticket counter is, before the official opening hours. Then, everyone goes up to the main observatory.

Participants gather at the main entrance

The sight of the morning sun beaming down on the city dipping the streets in deep gold is a special view that you can enjoy early in the morning. You have the whole observatory for yourself!

The view in the direction of Tokyo Bay. You can see the Rainbow Bridge in the foreground and the Boso Peninsula in Chiba Prefecture on the other side of Tokyo Bay.

In Tokyo, the air is usually very clear during the winter months, so chances are high that you can see Mt. Fuji!

A tea ceremony is more than just drinking tea!


After enjoying the stunning view from the observatory, it is time for the tea ceremony experience to start. The tea master is an employee of Tokyo Tower. He has even held a tea ceremony in Paris at the observation deck of the Eiffel Tower!

Some seats are very thrilling!


While the master’s assistant is preparing tea, the master talks with the participants and explains the teaware he specially picked for the ceremony. For a Japanese tea ceremony, the vessels and hanging scrolls are selected according to the season and the type of event. Therefore, the more times you experience a tea ceremony, the more variations you will see. It really makes you realize how much thought goes into the whole ceremony.

This bowl contains cold water that later is poured into a kettle with hot water during the ceremony. I participated in the tea ceremony on a day close to Christmas. The tea master ー a very witty man ー said that he thought this European-style bowl would be perfect for the occasion.

At a traditional tea ceremony, there is always a scroll.  It can be a painting or a famous quote. This was the scroll for the day of my visit.

The lids of the wooden boxes that contain the tea utensils. They are valuable items that have writings of the tea school’s top or Buddhist priests on them.

Be sure to pay close attention to the movements during the ceremony. One of the characteristics of a Japanese tea ceremony is that there are no useless movements. Every move has a purpose.

A peek behind the scenes. Due to Tokyo’s Fire Service Act, you are only allowed to use an IH cooker to heat up the water pot at the height of 150 m.

Matcha ー finely ground powder of Japanese green tea leaves ー used in tea ceremonies has a slightly bitter taste. This is because the powder has no added sugar etc.. However, people say that the matcha in the Edo period was even more bitter. Therefore, if before drinking the matcha you eat Japanese sweets, some of the sweetness will remain in your mouth. Combined with the bitterness of the matcha tea, it will create a well balanced flavor!

Japanese sweets with a winter motif

Matcha with beautiful foamy bubbles on top.

Enjoying the tea

Various Japanese cultures are condensed in the tea ceremony. You could say, it’s a comprehensive cultural experience that allows you to enjoy art and the master’s talk while enjoying matcha green tea and sweets. Of course, a tea ceremony has many more interesting aspects, but I don’t want to spoil your experience! I really want you to experience a Japanese tea ceremony and get a taste of it for yourself!


The tea ceremony is also available in languages other than Japanese. Don’t hesitate to contact the organizers for more information!


Sky Tea ceremony experience “Asacha no Yu”

https://www.tokyotower.co.jp/event/attraction-event/chanoyu/
Venue: Tokyo Tower, Main Deck Observatory 1st floor
Time: Meeting at 8:15, admission at 8:30
Meeting place: Tokyo Tower Foot Town Building 1F Main Entrance
Participation fee: ¥ 3,330 (* Participation fee, Main Deck Observatory admission, Japanese sweets, and a souvenir included)
Future schedule (until the end of March 2021): January 9th, February 6th, February 20th, March 6th, March 20th


Tokyo Tower

https://www.tokyotower.co.jp
4-2-8 Shibakoen, Minato-ku, Tokyo
Google Maps: https://goo.gl/maps/tcW2cdCx4fHMieWq8
Nearest stations: Akabanebashi Station, Kamiyacho Station, Onarimon Station, Shibakoen Station, Daimon Station, Hamamatsucho Station


 

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writer

I was born and raised in Kiel/Germany. When I was 16 I came to Japan for the first time. I fell in love with this beautiful country, so I returned after my university graduation. Since then, I have been living in Tokyo - and I don't plan to change anything about that ;-) My hobbies are taking a stroll around the city, taking photos and drinking coffee.

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