Saturday, April 13, 2013

A pause at the Shu Sui Tei tea ceremony room

Shu Sui Tei was built about 200 years ago as a tea ceremony room for the aristocratic Kujo family. The large residence building that originally accompanied this little house was pulled down during the Meiji era, only this and the garden with its pond were left intact, and are still part of the Kyoto Goen imperial park. The wisteria trellis over the pond was full of buds, and must look spectacular when in bloom - I would love to sit in a little rowing boat under it with a glass of wine in hand!

As I wrote earlier, some of the most wonderful experiences in Japan are often the unplanned ones. Of course planning one's trip is essential, but it is good to keep an open mind and not to push things too tight so that there's no time for random adventures...

And old stone basin with a bamboo dipper for washing hands.
Shu Sui Tei was one of those unexpected lovelies during our trip to Kyoto. We had just come out from the Kyoto Imperial Palace, which opens for the public five days during spring and autumn (more of it in a later post). Strolling through Kyoto Goen, the large park outside, we got a glimpse of this wonderful little tea ceremony house by a small pond in the southwestern corner of the park, and of course, ventured in to see more.
After the crowds at the handsome Palace, the small house was a respite of calm. There were almost no other visitors, only an old Japanese couple sitting and contemplating the view in silence. We washed our hands from the old stone basin and did the same, and stayed for a long while.

 View from the second floor towards the pond and the park; a stone bridge leads cross the pond.

 Even the wooden smell of the old little house was pleasing; I wonder what kind of timber they used to build it? And I love the way in Japan you can just put a gentle and discreet bamboo marker in front of the door, and people understand not to go past it. No large and ugly plastic signs needed...

Irregular stone slabs lead to the entrance, and out again, after a refreshing pause at the Shu Sei Tei.

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