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Matcha and Suikinkutsu at Jomyo-ji, Kamakura

Added on by the ikebana shop.

We went to Jomyo-ji (浄妙寺), a Zen Buddhist temple in Kamakura with the express intention of visiting the tea house Kisen-an (喜泉庵).

It is a spacious tatami tea room, with the engawa (縁側) porch looking out to a serene karesansui (枯山水) Zen rock garden.

It is a very peaceful place.

The temple serves matcha and wagashi (Japanese sweets).  There is no better place to enjoy such a treat!

Tucked in the left corner of the garden is a suikinkutsu (水琴窟).  You can't see it because it is underground.  All you can see is the stone basin with a little water trickling on it.  

 
Source: http://www.suikinkutsu.com/image/suidanmen.jpg

Source: http://www.suikinkutsu.com/image/suidanmen.jpg

The suikinkutsu is a domed installation with a pool of water at the bottom and a tiny hole on top to allow water to fall in drops.  The sound of the water drops echo inside creating a very pleasant (or shall we go as far as saying "mystical"?) sound.

The name suikinkutsu literally translates to sui = "water" , kin = "koto" (a string musical instrument), kutsu = "cave".

 

Next to the stone basin is a long bamboo pole that extends all the way to the engawa.

Put your ear close to the end of the pole and you can hear the melodious and soothing sounds of the water drops.  Almost other-worldly!

We found a video of Jomyo-ji on YouTube.  Enjoy the sound of suikinkutsu at around the 2:48 mark.

Matcha Affogato-Style

Added on by the ikebana shop.

Here is a simple-to-make indulgence for lovers of green tea on hot summer days!

Affogato al caffè is, of course, the Italian treat where a shot of espresso is poured over a scoop of vanilla ice cream.  The name literally means "drowned in coffee" in Italian!

Now, let's substitute the espresso with thick matcha...

Make koicha (thick matcha) by using only half the amount of water you'd normally use when preparing your matcha drink.  If you need to start somewhere, try 1 teaspoon matcha with 35 ml hot water (80℃).  This concoction is good for about 3 servings...but it depends on how "drowned" you want your ice cream to be!  :-)

Pour some of the koicha over one (or two?) scoops of vanilla ice cream.

That's it!  Enjoy!