Tokyo is known for its energy and buzz, but it knows to stop and smell the roses, too. From ceremonies of tea to incense, traditional Japanese culture has long embraced mindful ways of enjoying life's simple pleasures.
Experience modern takes of these venerable rituals in the city, and discover peace within.
Hidden underground in upscale Aoyama, Medicha takes meditation to new levels. It brought together innovators in the fields of meditation, music, lighting, Japanese tea, and floral art, who brought into being the studio's unique meditation experience. Each 80-minute session will see you move between four distinct environments: a bright, minimalist space to help clear the mind, a dark room that encourages deep relaxation through sound meditation, a dome-shaped bamboo room for a themed audio-guided meditation session in English or Japanese, and finally a tea room for a contemplative teatime to round off the restorative experience.
Model: Azusa Okamoto, Yoshinori Yanagisawa
Photo: Tomohiro Mazawa
Incense was first brought to Japan along with Buddhism in ancient times, and has since evolved into "Kodo", or the "Way of Fragrance." At Koju in Ginza, you can enjoy an immersive experience of this elegant cultural art. Learn to "listen" to the subtle fragrance of incense through an incense ceremony, and peruse Koju's selection of products, which includes perfumes and more. You can also put together your own fragrance pouch with a personalized blend of your favorite scents, for a lovely souvenir that will give you an instant meditative boost with every deep inhale.
© Sohei Oya (Nacasa&Partners)
Nestled in a quiet residential street near Shinagawa Station, Takizme is a modern tea salon transformed from a 60-year-old townhouse. This tranquil retreat pushes the boundaries of tradition with its fresh approach to the time-honored ritual of preparing and serving Japanese tea. Enjoy warm hospitality and a meditative tea ceremony led by a bilingual tea master, who is also an excellent conversationalist. From the custom-designed furnishings, to the teas and sweets served, every detail here is rooted in Japanese tradition, but given a contemporary touch. Welcome to the new Japanese tea ceremony, recalibrated for the modern lifestyle.