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A Tasteful Meditation: Reconnect with Your Senses at a Zen Temple

People

A Tasteful Meditation: Reconnect with Your Senses at a Zen Temple

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Japanese high-end experience booking platform WABUNKA.We offer exclusive experiences such as behind-the-scenes tours of manufacturing facilities and temples.

Content Partner

Japanese high-end experience booking platform WABUNKA.We offer exclusive experiences such as behind-the-scenes tours of manufacturing facilities and temples.

Interview with Reverend. Daiko Matsuyama, Deputy Head Priest of Taizo-in Zen Buddhist Temple, Myoshin-ji

Taizo-in Zen Buddhist Temple has designated cultural properties and beautiful gardens that change by the seasons spreading across its precincts. Rev. Daiko Matsuyama, Deputy Head Priest, hopes that the minds of the visitors to Taizo-in Temple will “leave behind their daily lives when they are here.”
 
Born and raised in Kyoto, Rev. Matsuyama grew up with a keen appreciation of nature and culture, and now hopes to share the “true flavor” of them. He has also been appointed as Kyoto Travel Omotenashi Ambassador since 2011 and a visiting lecturer at Stanford University since 2018, crossing the boundaries between countries and actively sharing and communicating Japanese culture. 
 
Taizo-in, where Rev. Matsuyama serves, is now collaborating with an established Kyogashi confectionery Oimatsu (Kyogashi: traditional confections wagashi that developed along with tea ceremony in Kyoto) offering guests a special experience of making Kyogashi sweets and then having matcha tea with them while viewing the garden. Here is the “story” behind conceiving this hands-on experience of making Kyogashi sweets and whisking matcha by the participants themselves.
 

The Splendor of each season and the serenity of Zen exist in harmony at Taizo-in Temple


Taizo-in Zen Buddhist Temple in the Hanazono area of Kyoto was founded over 600 years ago. It is the oldest among the over forty sub-temples within the Myoshin-ji Temple Complex, the headquarters of the Rinzai Sect of Zen Buddhism. The temple has a National Treasure ink painting Hyonenzu “Catching a Catfish with a Gourd” (the original is in a museum now), a dry landscape garden designed by master painter Kano Motonobu about 450 years ago, Motonobu no Niwa, and a pond garden known as a mid-twentieth century masterpiece, Yoko-en.   
National Treasure Hyonenzu’s replica (Taizo-in)
While many areas in the Myoshin-ji Temple Complex are not open to the public except for during special admission periods, Taizo-in is open year-round, allowing visitors to enjoy the beauty of the gardens that take on different charms as the seasons come and go.
The Garden of Yin in autumn (Taizo-in)

In search of ways to offer the “true flavors” with their benefits

When Rev. Matsuyama was a young child, enjoying matcha that he whisked in a bowl himself, after coming home on his preschool bus, was part of his everyday life.

“According to a person who researches fragrance in Osaka University’s Faculty of Medicine, the best way to prepare matcha and gain the relaxing effect of its fragrance is to whisk it. Of course, the matcha they serve in shops is delicious, but the fragrance of the moment it is prepared using a whisk is by far the most luscious and important” so he tells the merit of practicing it yourself.

The time you intently concentrate your mind on preparing matcha tea can be a form of meditation
“We’ve had Oimatsu’s Kyogashi sweets available at Taizo-in from before, but I wished I could have everyone taste freshly made Kyogashi, too.” Being fond of sweets himself, he said he had always wanted to offer the “true flavors” of them.
The Kyogashi you can make at Oimatsu

Rev. Matsuyama’s strong devotion to “offering authentic flavors and benefits” chimed in unison with Oimatsu’s wish to allow people to “Taste freshly made Kyogashi not only by their flavors but by also enjoying their poetic names and admiring their artistic appearances” resulting in a project offering guests the experiences of making Kyogashi sweets themselves and then tasting them at Taizo-in.

A Kyogashi making workshop by an expert confectioner and a relaxing time at Taizo-in

The experience starts by making the Kyogashi sweets at Oimatsu. It is suitable for beginners as a professional confectioner teaches and supports how to make it.
A professional confectioner showing you how to make Kyogashi

Upon arriving atTaizo-in, you will be seated in a tea ceremony room where you can whisk your own bowl of matcha tea. Relaxing with the gentle aroma of matcha that fills the space, you will enjoy the sweets you made yourself.

Taste the matcha and Kyogashi sweets you made at Oimatsu as you view the temple garden

At the end of the experience, you can leisurely stroll in the temple garden. If you find a place that you especially like, you are invited to close your eyes and immerse yourself in meditation there.

 

A special experience that resonates with all five senses

The experience of making Kyogashi with a professional artisan, and then tasting freshly made matcha at a tea ceremony room looking out onto the garden in Taizo-in is a truly rewarding experience filled with Rev. Matsuyama’s wish for everyone to “taste the true flavors.”

“I hope people can leave their everyday lives behind for a moment, immerse themselves in their own senses and take themselves on a spiritual retreat,” said Rev. Matsuyama.

Rev. Matsuyama interviewed in the temple garden
The special experience of enjoying hands-on activities and tasting the authentic flavors is made available by Oimatsu and Taizo-in. We hope you take this opportunity to immerse yourself in a peaceful experience.

Taizo-in Zen Buddhist Temple

Taizo-in is a Zen Buddhist temple first founded in 1404 and the current temple structure dates back to 1597. It is the oldest among the sub-temples of Kyoto’s largest Zen temple complex, Myoshin-ji. It is known for one of Japan’s oldest ink paintings, Hyonenzu, and its dry landscape garden created by the master painter Kano Motonobu, called Motonobu no Niwa, which are both designated cultural properties, and the Yoko-en pond garden that is a mid-twentieth century masterpiece. 
 
Address:35 Hanazono Myoshinji-cho, Ukyo-ku, Kyoto City 616-8035
Website:http://www.taizoin.com/en/
 
June1,2021

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Making Kyoto-style sweets at a traditional confectionery and enjoying matcha tea with a garden view in a Zen temple
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Japanese high-end experience booking platform WABUNKA.We offer exclusive experiences such as behind-the-scenes tours of manufacturing facilities and temples.