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Tokyo tea house lets visitors drink from antique bowls worth $25,000 as part of ancient tradition

  • Gallery Okubo in Tokyo's Yanaka district is a gallery that doubles as a tea house that allows customers to participate in an ancient tradition by letting them drink from valuable antique bowls.

  • The unique traditional Japanese tea ceremony experience lets visitors choose from a variety of bowls ranging from new to those over 300 years old, with the older pieces from the 18th century valued at as much as $25,000.

  • The gallery, which is run by antique dealer Mitsuru Okubo and his family, offers the entire experience for just 2,200 yen (approximately $16) per person.

A gallery that doubles as a tea house in Japan allows customers to participate in an ancient tradition by letting them drink from expensive antique bowls. 

Visitors of Gallery Okubo in Tokyo’s Yanaka district can choose from a variety of bowls ranging from new to those over 300 years old, with the older pieces from the 18th century valued at as much as $25,000.

Run by antique dealer Mitsuru Okubo and his family, the gallery promises guests a unique traditional Japanese tea ceremony experience for just 2,200 yen (approximately $16) per person.

Okubo’s daughter, Atsuko, guides guests through the experience, greeting them and escorting them to the tatami room where the tea ceremony is held. 

It was Atsuko who suggested letting customers use the bowls that her antique dealer father had collected over the years. The gallery had been struggling to sell items and the bowls had been stored away. She figured that the bowls would give their tea ceremony business a distinct touch.

Among the collection includes a light-colored bowl that’s only around 50 years old but is already worth around $15,000. There’s also a modern bowl that’s worth about $100, which perfectly suits those who don’t want to risk dropping a bowl that costs thousands of dollars. 

Visitors who partake in the ceremony are also served sweet cakes made of jelly and bean paste. They even get to take home colored images of the bowls they used hand-drawn by Okubo himself, including details of their origin and value.

 

Featured Image via Gallery Okubo

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