First and foremost, thank you very much to reader, fellow Éireannach and friend Frankie L for introducing me to the Sayama Tea Festival aka Sayama Grand Tea Ceremony.
Sayama Tea Festival / Grand Tea Ceremony
The official websites relating to this event use the key phrases “Sayama Tea Festival” or “Tea Party” in their web links. However, the Japanese translates to Sayama Grand Tea Ceremony, which to me sounds so much more elegant and enticing! Basically, the Sayama Tea Festival is a large tea ceremony. It is held outdoors, rather than in a tea house, to facilitate large numbers of participants.
Last year (2022) the event was on, but they restricted the number of participants, due to you know what! Unfortunately, they have done the same this year and the tickets sold out promptly, even though you physically had to go to the city hall to buy them! And even though the price has gone up to 600 yen per cup! However, while you might not be able to sample the tea this year, you can come along and witness the grandeur as masters of ten schools perform the ceremony. In addition, you can see ikebana displays on the day and they will have a small market.
While researching this event, as always, I checked if English information already existed online. Searching for “Sayama Tea Festival” brought nothing relevant up, but searching “Sayama Grand Tea Ceremony” brought up this article by Web-Japan.org. It has succinct information about the origins of these large scale tea ceremonies as well as some beautiful photos (provided by Sayama City) and information about Sayama’s annual ceremony.
Sayama is very famous for green tea, probably the most famous area in the Kanto region (area around Tokyo). The roots of Sayama green tea are actually in Kawagoe. At Nakain Temple in Kawagoe you can see a large stone monument commemorating the area as the birth place of Sayama green tea. Much of neighboring Iruma city also produces “Sayama Tea” too.
Event: Sayama Tea Festival aka Sayama Grand Tea Ceremony さやま大茶会
Date: Sunday November 12th 2023
Time: 10 am to 3 pm
Cost: there is no admission fee to the park. It costs 600 yen to participate in the green tea ceremony, but tickets are already sold out for 2023.
The park is beside the Inariyama kouen station on the Seibu Ikebukuro Line or you can get a bus from the west exit of the Seibu Shinjuku Line Sayama City Station to Inariyama koen.
It is about a 15 minute from the Sayama Interchange of the Ken-o expressway or 20 minutes from the Kawagoe Interchange of the Kanetsu expressway.
The featured image is from the Sayama Tourism Website.
For more events in Saitama please see the main Saitama Events Category.