Tour Report : Tango Tanimura|

Tour Report : Tango Tanimura


Today I visited the home and workshop of Tango Tanimura, an artisan who carries on his family’s traditional crafting of tea whisks used for matcha tea ceremony. Tanimura-san is the head of the 20th generation of tea whisk makers in his 500 year-old lineage.

The Tanimura family compound was beautiful from the moment we entered up a steep driveway lined with huge stones. Everything here speaks to attention to detail and awareness of beauty and balance. We were lucky to be here just as the early autumn leaves were starting to change color.

Our tour started with a demonstration of the steps required to craft each whisk, from choosing the bamboo to the secret family-held techniques of splitting the piece of bamboo into fine slivers which become the whisk. I was so impressed by Tanimura-san’s delicacy and attention to each piece of bamboo as a unique object with its own properties. To see the whole process felt like a real privilege. Our tour leader Yuko provided very clear translation for Tanimura, and we were able to ask questions as we went along.
Visitors can purchase tea whisks and other bamboo utensils and flower vases, if desired.


After the whisk-making demonstration, we attended a lovely tea ceremony. First we were served matcha tea and traditional Japanese sweets, then we were given the chance to try it ourselves. Our hostess was very gracious and emphasized that the experience is a chance to use all our senses to enjoy the sounds of the rain outside and the tastes and smells of our tea. She was very relaxed and helped us feel relaxed, too. Compared to other tea ceremonies I have attended, it felt less like a ritual and more like true hospitality. Very enjoyable!

This was a lovely trip to visit a truly unique and special family. Thanks, Yuko, for sharing Tanimura-san with us.


Photography by Maryana