ZEN- AN: Tearoom in a Suitcase

If you’ve ever wanted your very own tearoom, read on. Tearooms are essential for practicing the Way of Tea, called Chado or Sado in Japanese. The oldest tearoom was built in Jisho-ji, a Zen temple, in 1486. It provides the inspiration for current tearooms.

Tearooms are not meant to be big. About 7 square meters (or 75 square feet) is sufficient. The materials are simple: wood, bamboo, mud, tatami. There is a small window for light. There is no artificial lighting, so the host and guests will face each other in usually dim natural light.

Wabi-cha-style tea ceremonies began in the late 16th century with Sen no Rikyu, one of Japan’s great tea masters. The name “Wabi-cha” comes from the concept of wabi sabi, or a spiritual state that acknowledges dissatisfaction, forlornness and loneliness and calls on one to act modestly. In a tea ceremony, the tea is prepared in a way to calm you down and instill reflection. It is a type of spiritual training.

It is also important to treasure meetings with people and give them the highest hospitality. This concept is called ichi-go ichi-e (“one time, one meeting”). In a tea ceremony, there is spiritual interaction between the guests and the host.

If your spiritual drive is there but you don’t have the money or the space for a full tearoom, consider the innovative ZEN-An, a tearoom in a suitcase. All the materials you need are in the suitcase. The tatami mat, wooden poles, bamboo blinds and other essentials are made with the utmost care.

Location & Contact Information

Tsubaki & Associates


Author profile

Yasushi Kurita was born in Tokyo. He has spent the last 30 years as a writer for print publications and TV. When he was in college, he spent two years in New York. His favorite band is the Atlanta Rhythm Section, making him one of about 15 Japanese people who actually like that band.