Straw ashes at tea ceremony 2016/02/12

February 11th is National Foundation day and I attended tea ceremony held at Takahata Fudo which locates in a western suburb of Tokyo. It is a more than 1000 years old and one of the most popular temples in Tokyo. It was cold but fine day and many visitors enjoyed plum blossoms, which is symbolic flower of early spring, in the garden of the temple.

Tea ceremony was held at four traditional tea rooms surrounded by many kinds of trees including plums in the garden. Four different tea sects served tea distinctively in their own styles.

One sect prepared an old elegant brazier with burning charcoal and black straw ashes in a waiting room.

Straw ashes have been an efficient organic fertilizers and also used for keeping things warm.

However it is quite troublesome to make straw ashes by roasting straw properly and carefully. Furthermore it is especially troublesome to make black straw ashes as beautiful and neat as possible for tea ceremony use. Therefore it becomes seldom to see black straw ashes, even at tea ceremony, nowadays. It was first time for me to watch black straw ashes in a tea ceremony and it was very impressive.

Charcoals covered by straw ashes excluded comfortable fragrant and we could enjoy them by beautiful sight and also by sweet smell.

0images roasting straw         ef22e917  black straw ashes in brazier