The Lure of a Tea House

Tea gardens and tea houses in Japan in the 16th century represented

 "a mutual rejoicing in such spiritual bonds of comradeship, in the course of the search for Truth, Good and Beauty"
- Emori Nahiko

Nahiko further explains

"For example, if both the host and guests discover in the tea cup, brought into the tea-room by the host, some common element of beauty, the souls of those persons become united." 
(“Chashitsu [Tea-rooms], by Emori Nahiko and Asahitani Sau. Asahi Shimbun, 1949.) I got this quote from a fabulous website called The Saunterer - check it out.

This lovely quote inspired me to search out versions of Tea Houses and more:

Terunobu Fujimori's Too-High Tea House, in Nagano, Japan is perched atop a pair of tree trunks 20 feet tall: he says, “One leg is dangerous and three legs are too stable and boring.”
model for the above tea house - DWELL magazine

Is this search for truth, good and beauty  what animates us serenity garden lovers to build such frivolous buildings -

not big enough to sleep in - and just large enough to house maybe 2 people in a common quest for the ...ineffable?  (great word)

"A house and 'dewed' ground
Guest and host
Drinking together a cup of tea
In quiet contemplation
In spiritual symphony"

"The spherical shape directs your attention to the hearth, on which the tea is prepared and creates a close bondage with all who are present."  ~ David Mastalka

And this brings us to the Tea House, a work in progress so wonderfully chronicled in the great blog , Each Little World

Tea House Rises

Guest's Door.

"Traditionally the door to the tea house is very low, forcing guests to humble themselves as they enter on their knees.

 I think that there is also some folklore about Samarai swordsmen having to leave their swords outside and entering head first — a real sign of trust." ~ Mark Golbach, designer and photographer and builder of this tea house

Each Little World Blog - check it out!

This blog post was inspired by a lovely walk I took with a dear friend at Mariandale in Ossining.....walking along a wooded path we came upon their 'healing hut' :

looking out from the tea house through the entry arch to the Hudson River

By the way, drinking just half a cup of green or oolong tea daily reduces a person's risk of high blood pressure by almost 50%. Loaded with anti-oxidants, tea has been shown in study after study to inhibit many forms of cancer and to promote recovery.
so build that tea house today!

here is a great book that describes how to do it:


  1. Oh, this is such a wonderful, inspiring post! I must build a tea house! So interesting...the architecture, doorway, and space for only 2. Great idea and so much to think about!

  2. Jan. Great post, very inspiring! Is there a tea house in Croton...or around here?

  3. yes, in the river. Tea houses and tree houses - gotta have them!

  4. Magnificent. What a place to escape to the meditate and align oneself with source!!

  5. God lives in the Hudson Valley. I'm sure of it. Even seen Her there.

  6. So beautiful! And high enough off the ground that you won't notice the weeds that need to be pulled or the plants that you accidentally skipped while watering!

  7. I think I saw Her too....aligning with the source says it all...tea houses for all.

  8. Thanks, Jan, what a beautiful post. I think it is true that space is the ultimate luxury, and space, both physical and mental, is so often what we seek in a garden. Even if it is small, it is the spaciousness itself, the creating of a space inside our regular world, that inspires and calms our spirit

  9. wow - your words are so moving - 'space is the ultimate luxury'...and sanctified space of any kind is the most luxurious of all..thanks for that comment.

  10. I love the large tea house at Hakone Gardens in California. Thanks for delving a little deeper into the history of tea houses - really interesting to learn about Samuris entering head first and the 'humbling' tradition!

  11. I must check out Hakone Gardens right now - thanks for that!

  12. A really great post!! I too found the samurais entering head first quite interesting. I think there is a place for the tea house in modern garden design..
    Very inspirational thanks for the great post!!!

  13. OMG, I love this post! I especially like that teeny healing hut. How exquisite to consider and implement! Lovely. Thank you for the work it took to put this together!

  14. A beautiful post...but I'm quite glad we finished our tea house (my reiki/reflexology treatment room) before I saw this or the plans would have changed!!!

  15. This blog is great!I love the large tea house at Hakone Gardens in California.

  16. Subject matter of this internet site are usually very good and appreciative.

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  17. Excellent read, I just passed this onto a colleague who was doing a little research on this topic. And he actually bought me lunch because I found it for him. So I should thank you for the free lunch I got.

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