A translation of Iimachi blog post I stumbled upon. I recommend visiting the original site because it has lots of pictures that I didn’t steal.

This time’s Good Town is… The Kyoto Ooishi Shrine Nishino Yama Grand Chakai♪

Mt. Nishino of Yamashina, Kyoto where the lead of the Forty-Seven Ronin, Ooishi Yoshio (Kuranosuke) lived after surrendering Akou Castle. Here, at Ooishi Shrine, a chakai imitating the Kitano Grand Chakai started. Just as Toyotomi Hideyoshi had a grand chakai at Kitano Tenman-gu 400 years ago, we attended the elboratately planned chakai taking place at Mt. Nishino. We could enjoy passing a short while there.

There was no already established tea room. Self-made teahouses. Places selected for the tearoom. They all had a fresh feeling at this chakai. We will introduce them in order.

A seating marked by an “ippuku issen” flag. A habit of drinking tea that spread from the temples to warrior society to the common folk started a the bussiness of one cup of tea for the price of one mon.

We could hear a voice calling “Ipuku Issen, ocha irankae!” 400 years ago, there is left to us a record saying, “In front of the Southern Great Gate of Tou-ji, the worshipful did business with others.” Thus, it seems temple fairs and ochashitsu started from this.

Here is a revival of ippuku issen, “The Seat of Old”. Inside the kettle was hot water fragranced with scorched rice put inside (kogashi). The notification explaining the intent of the Kitano Grand Chakai held by Toyotomi Hideyoshi said, “The high and low should come alike, sukiya tea masters should participate bringing what utensils they possess. For those without any tea, it is fine to serve kogashi.” The sweets for ippuku issen were dried potatoes, dried figs, and also fried rice cakes. In that time period, roasted chestnuts, shiitake mushrooms, konbu also appeared as foods.

There were tea seatings in the feild. “The Seat of Ring” had a feeling of freedom. The fine weather perfected the seating. The other seating was “The Seat of Net”. We experienced the temae inside of a misquito net! Looking from the outside, it seems like a closed off space, but from inside, it has this sort of feeling (as expressed in the photo). The misquito net disrupts the sunlight, but the inside is still quite bright. The Seat of Ring and The Seat of Net had very contrasting layout. Rather than the elaborated making of the tea seating, they expressed feeling of the host.

Our free descriptions of the carefully created tea seating still continues (in the next post).