Among the foreigners who are interested in Japanese culture, many may find tea ceremony quite interesting. Beautiful shades of green, delicate and deliberate mannerisms and a spirit of gracious service are some of its most appealing aspects. Tools that are used for tea ceremony are also very traditional and may be found only in Japan.
Chasen is a necessity for tea ceremony. It is a tool that looks like a whisk.
It is not for whipping but for mixing hot water and tea powder evenly, a process that determines the texture and taste of the tea. Takayama cho in Ikuma city, Nara prefecture is known for its 400-year Chasen production history, and its market share is more than 90% of the entire nation’s.
Takayama Chasen is registered as one of the Traditional Crafts of Japan.
A typical Chasen is constructed with 64 pieces each for its inside and outside, for a total of 128 thinly cut bamboo peels. These are divided into two sections, inside and outside, after being tied together at their ends. Then, each piece is gently stretched to create curves, using only one’s fingertips and a small knife. Although much time and effort is needed to create a Chasen, it is not durable. In fact, some of them reach the end of their lifespan after a single use. Even if you are careful, it will only last several times at most.
A famous Japanese proverb, “Ichigoichie”, means that only one opportunity exists for one meeting. In other words, each moment is precious because each moment will never be the same. “Serving tea means this very moment of spending time together will never repeat itself again. Therefore, I will present the best tea I can for you.” Japan’s grand master of tea, Senrikyu, taught this way of thinking. By looking at the delicate feminine shape of Chasen, one is filled with a sense of serenity, and remembers the words of this tea master.
3440 Takayama-cho Ikoma-shi Nara-ken
Ikoma City Hall
8-38 Higashishinmachi Ikoma-shi Nara-ken