Ancient Shinto ceremony to bless the tea harvest held each year at Kitano Tenman-gu, Kyoto.  This shrine was built in 947 and has become the shrine that the Japanese students go to to pray for good test scores. Each year, many of the tea farmer and producers around the Kyoto region bring their tea in special tea urns and offer it to the Kamis for a great harvest.  This ceremony dates back hundreds of years.  Usually held in January along with all the other festive traditions honoring the coming of the new year.  Especially tea, Japaneses can not live without it.

All of the urns are placed outside the shrine and are first collectively purified and then each urn is opened and some tea is placed on a dish and taken into the inside alter for the offering to the Kami. The producers are then brought to the center of the alter to formally present the tea and it is then blessed. This is done with each tea. This is a very long process. After the blessing, each participant is escorted to a private room for a reception. Many of them are wearing the traditional Kimono.

I suggest if you are in Kyoto in January, don’t miss this. There are many other ceremonies throughout Japan at this time, keep your eyes open.

I almost forgot, there is very good park behind the shrine with a tea house for refreshments.

kitano tenmanguopening tea urnDisplaying the tea urn

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