NIPPON Kichi - 日本吉

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煎茶道 Sencha-dou Senchadou

Jp En

Senchadou is one kind of sadou or tea ceremony. While sadou uses maccha tea powder, in senchadou hot water is poured into a teapot containing tea leaves such as sencha and gyokuro.  Senchadou is a sadou only in the broad sense. In general, it is considered to be different from a sadou.
It is believed that Senchadou was started by Ingen Ryuuki, who founded Oubaku-shu, a sect of Zen Buddhism in the beginning of the Edo period.
While sadou was becoming more formalized, critics who considered sadou’s formalization pretentious, turned their eyes on senchadou which was the newest trend in Chinese culture at the time and therefore unfettered from Japanese formality. Among people who love good taste, passing time talking and drinking sencha in a relaxed setting became rapidly popular. By the middle of the Edo period, senchadou took a turn away from Chinese culture and more toward Japanese. Its popularity spread from Edo and Kyoto to other parts of Japan.  
In 1959, All-Japan Senchadou Association was established. There are now many different schools existing.
In addition to  Shuushou-ha, which was born during the Edo period, 39 schools in total have joined the association.
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茶筅 Chasen Chasen

Jp En

Chasen is one of the utensils of the Japanese tea ceremony. It is a bamboo whisk to mix matcha with hot water evenly in a bowl and make it foamy. There are about 120 kinds of chasen with variety of shapes, materials and the number of ears at the head. Which chasen to select depends on a school of tea ceremony or a tea master’s preference. Basically there are two kinds of chasen; Kazuho, which has thin and sparse ear at the head, is used for usucha (thin tea), while Araho, which has thick and dense ear at the head, is used for koicha (thin tea). To use a chasen in a formal manner, one holds a chawan (tea bowl) with the non-dominant hand and holds a bamboo handle of chasen with a thumb, the index finger and the middle finger of the dominant hand. Here, we can see emphasis on the formal beauty that is in common with calligraphy. Chasen is an indispensable tool for Japanese tea ceremony culture.
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にじり口 Nijiriguchi Nijiri-guchi

Jp En

Tea house has an entrance 60cm in height and width called Nijiri-guchi or Nijiri entrance. Nijiru means “to move forward on your knees with both hands down on the floor”.
Nijigi-guchi is said to be introduced by  Sen no Rikyuu who had this idea when he saw fishermen ducking to enter their boathouse in Hirakata City, Oosaka, and applied it to his Nijyou tea house. It is customary that upon entering a tea house, visitors bow their heads, kneel down with their hands on the floor and move forward with their knees. Nijigi-guchi is regarded as a boundary to separate the inside of a tea house from the outside world. The low entrance makes any visitor regardless of their social status humbly bow upon entering and it allows the cleansing of impurities from the outside world before entering the tea room.
Nijiri-guchi also has a spatial stage effect. Tea house is usually small. But by entering through an even smaller nijigi-guchi, visitors feel that the tea house is higher and deeper than it actually is.    
Nigiri-guchi is an original concept that embodies a spirit of humbleness which is a virtue unique to Japan.
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香道 Kou-dou The Art of Burning Incense

Jp En

Incense burning is a unique Japanese art in which fragrant wood is burnt for the enjoyment of its scent.
Fragrant wood was introduced to Japan at the same time as Buddhism and the custom of adding scent to clothes or hair was born. By the mid-Muromachi period, the burning of fragant wood had become stylised in the same way as the tea ceremony and flower arranging.
The basic style of incense burning involves cutting a piece of fragrant wood and putting it into a censer; the censer is passed back and forth so that its scent can be enjoyed.
Incense burning has an element of game and you guess which scent is which by comparing it with the Japanese classics and waka poems relating to it. This is different from other arts but, of course, winning and losing are not as important as enjoying the scent.
Incense burning is a very profound art that integrates one's literary knowledge, etiquette and mastery of books and tools. Many people love this art.
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茶道 Sadou Sadou (Tea Ceremony)

Jp En

Powdered green tea was introduced from China in the Heian period (794 to 1192). It gradually became popular as a luxury item. In the meantime, as opposed to the enjoyment of tea at a lively banquet, Sado (way of tea) or Wabi-cha appeared. In Sado, unsophisticated ceramics are used and it puts emphasis on spirituality. Sen no Rikyu accomplished Sado, avoiding the play elements, putting an emphasis on the spiritual interaction between people and having a corresponding intensity. What Rikyu pursued was the mind that tries to obtain aesthetics and contentment. As is said that every aspect of Japan’s art craft is included in Sado, Sado is the integrated art that covers tea ceremony utensils, architecture of a tea house, Haikai (poems) and so on. Through its aesthetic concepts of motenashi (hospitality) and shiturai (manners concerning rooms), “kanjaku (a serene desolation)” and simple but refined state of mind, Sado has an incalculable influence on Japanese spiritual culture.
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