Tea Ceremony and Maryuma Park
Gion Travel Blog› entry 12 of 20 › view all entries
The bus route ended in the Gion District and fortunately Linda knew where we were. We were looking for a quick lunch before the tea ceremony, since it was now 2 and we missed lunch. We went into a cute little sandwich place, but they were full and the waitress told us to leave. They don’t like to have people wait inside restaurants. Maybe they don’t want to the current customers to feel rushed. I liked that we never felt rushed to leave so someone else could have our table. If you do decide to wait, you need to wait outside of the restaurant. We didn’t have time to wait, so we ended up at Starbucks. Not exactly my first choice, but we needed something quick and we all wanted to sit after an hour of standing on the bus.
I decided to use the restroom before we left and found my self quite relaxed on the toilet with the heated seat and little birds singing to cover up any noises I might make.
We walked down a little street full of tourists and locals alike. Some people were even dressed in their formal, traditional clothing. We got our tickets and entered the tea ceremony building. We were attending the Miyako Odori, a special program with a tea ceremony followed by traditional dance performances that only runs for the month of April.
Apparently 50 guests at a time are allowed to enter. The room is filled with low tables and stools. The front of the room has a stage where two Geisha serve the tea to the front table. Everyone was rushing to get a good seat. I was just trying to look for 4 seats together, but as soon as you sat at one table, someone else would join you. So we’d move and it would happen again. My Aunt was about to sit down on a stool when a little old lady hip checked her out of the way and stole her stool from under her! It was crazy! After about the fourth try, we finally got seats at two tables across an aisle from each other. Wow! We were seated and a server placed a placemat and small plate with a little, painted white rock in front of us.
Since it was close to show time, we went to the auditorium. An usher seated us, but we got separated. I was in the lead and turned back to find the rest. When I turned back around, suddenly this little old lady cut across the aisle right in front of me. As I turned around, I totally hip checked her and she went flying into the lap of someone seated in the front row. Oh! I felt so bad! I tried to help her back up, but she was talking to those people, no doubt complaining about those pushy Americans! Or maybe she meant to talk to them? I didn’t know but was losing our usher so I hurried on.
The dances were beautiful, with Geisha dancing and playing instruments. The men played the shamisan throughout. The theme was the four seasons and the dances reflected the seasons. The backdrops were beautiful. It was so relaxing that it was all I could do to keep my eyes open. I really didn’t want to be the one snoring. It really was beautiful, but I was just so tired. It wasn’t even until the final winter scene that I realized they were doing the seasons. Overall, this experience was expensive, but worth it.
After the performance, we walked through the Yasaka Shrine to Maruyama Park because I wanted to see the famous, old cherry tree.
We walked through the park to Kodai-ji Temple, the widow’s temple. We walked through a room covered in tatami mats (in our socks). It was nice and I liked the Zen rock garden here better. We even walked through a really cool bamboo forest. On the way out, we passed the Mani wheels. You earn merit by turning it once. If you have wishes regarding health, longevity, etc, you can walk clockwise around touching all the wheels with your right hand. I didn’t know this until after I walked around spinning all the wheels.
After the temple, we enjoyed the views of the city, as we were up on a hill.