|Today we had an introduction to the Japanese Tea Ceremony from a Tea Master. The ceremony is normally 4 hours with an elaborate set of rules for both the host and the guests at the ceremony. Our Tea Master gave us a brief description of the history and mechanics of the ceremony and brewed and served us delicious green tea.
Next we walked through a residential section of Kyoto to visit the Buddhist Daitoku-ji Temple, the "Temple of Great Virtue" founded in 1315. There are actually 22 sub-temples in the 56 acre complex which has many beautiful and peaceful Zen gardens. After a tour of the grounds we had lunch at the Shojin Ryori restaurant located on the temple grounds. Once again our meal was a multi-course Japanese vegetarian feast.
The final stop of the day was at Nijo-jo Castle, the only residence of the Shogun still in existence. A unique aspect of the castle are the "nightingale floors". These are constructed in such a way that the lightest touch on the floor results in a chirpping sound that alerts the castles residents to any intruders. In addition to touring the interior of the castle we also toured the beautiful gardens located all around the complex.