Kencha-sai of Gion Matsuri (July 16th, 2024)

Kencha-sai of Gion Matsuri

The information of Kencha-sai is presented here. Kencha-sai is held every year on July 16th. In Kencha-sai, the iemoto (headmaster) of the Omote-Senke school and the iemoto (headmaster) of the Ura-Senke school serve every other year, and the iemoto serve tea (koi-cha and usu-cha) with Gion Shinsui (well water) and offer it to the deity of Yasaka Shrine. In addition, Sencha Kencha-sai is also held every year on July 23rd.

【Kencha-sai 2024 Schedule (confirmation required)】

Kencha-sai 2024 will be held on Tuesday, July 16th, 2024, at 9:00.
●Gion Matsuri Festival 2024 will start on July 1st, 2024 and end on July 31st, 2024.
Gion Matsuri Festival Schedule (July 1st-31st)

【Yasaka Shrine Location Map & Directions】

Address: 625 Gion-machi kitagawa, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto City, Kyoto Prefecture, Japan
Access (How to get there): Gion bus stop (short walk), Keihan Gion Shijo Station (about 5 minutes on foot), Hankyu Kyoto Kawaramachi Station (about 8 minutes on foot), Subway Shijo Station (about 20 minutes on foot)

【Kencha-sai of Gion Matsuri brief overview】

Kencha-sai (献茶祭) of Gion Matsuri Festival (祇園祭) is held every year on July 16th. Kencha-sai began in 1946 with the service of the iemoto (headmaster) of the Omote-Senke school, and from 1951, the iemoto (headmaster) of the Ura-Senke school also joined, and since then it has become a biennial service of the Omote-Senke school and the Ura-Senke school. In Kencha-sai, the iemoto (headmaster) of the Omote-Senke school and the iemoto (headmaster) of the Ura-Senke school serve every other year, and the iemoto serve tea (koi-cha and usu-cha) with Gion Shinsui (well water) and offer it to the deity of Yasaka Shrine in Honden. By the way, in Kencha-sai, haifuku-seki (seats) and fuku-seki (seats) are set up in Tokiwaden and Tokiwashinden. In addition, Sencha Kencha-sai is also held every year on July 23rd.

★The Omote-Senke school is one of the tea ceremony schools and one of the San-Senke (Omote-Senke, Ura-Senke, and Mushanokoji-Senke). The Omote-Senke school is the main branch of the Senke-style tea ceremony founded by Sen no Rikyu, and was founded by Koshin Sosa, the third son of Rikyu’s grandson Sen Sotan, who inherited “Fushin-an (tea room)” built by Sen no Rikyu.
★The Ura-Senke school is one of the tea ceremony schools and one of the San-Senke (Ura-Senke, Omote-Senke, and Mushanokoji-Senke). The Ura-Senke school was founded by Senso Soshitsu, the last child of Rikyu’s grandson Sen Sotan, who inherited “Konnichi-an (tea room)” built by Sen Sotan. Ura-Senke was named because “Konnichi-an (tea room)”, is located behind “Fushin-an (tea room)” of Omote-Senke, when viewed from the street.
★Gion Shinsui is also called “Chikara Mizu”. It is said that if you drink Gion Shinsui (Chikara Mizu) and visit Utsukushigozensha Shrine, a branch shrine of Yasaka Shrine, you will become beautiful.
★Koi-cha (thick tea) is a tea made by kneading a large amount of ma-cha. Usu-cha (thin tea) is a tea made with a small amount of matcha. Koi-cha (thick tea) is considered more prestigious than Usu-cha (thin tea). It is said that high quality ma-cha is often used because koi-cha (thick tea) has a rich color and flavor. Ma-cha is made by steaming and drying fresh leaves grown under yoshizu (reed screen) and wara (straw) cover to avoid direct sunlight, and then grinding the non-rubbed ten-cha on a stone mortar. By blocking direct sunlight, the tea leaves become lighter in color, but are said to increase in flavor and richness.
★Honden (Important Cultural Property) was rebuilt in 1654 by Tokugawa Ietsuna, the 4th shogun of the Edo shogunate. Honden is about 400 tsubo and 15 meters high. Honden is modeled after the Shishinden of the Imperial Palace, and is said to be the Gion-zukuri (Yasaka-zukuri), with Honden and Haiden combined into one unique structure. Honden is said to have a deep well ryuketsu (dragon’s hole) underneath it, which is one of the seven wonders of Yasaka Shrine.

【Kencha-sai of Gion Matsuri remarks】
*Events may be rescheduled or cancelled. Also, the content of the event may have changed.
祇園祭2024日程一覧(宵山屋台・山鉾巡行・・・)

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