Myouki-an in Kyoto

I visited the Myouki-an is the only survived tea house built by Sen Rikyu. He was known for establishing the Japanese tea house style and “wabi cha”.

Sen Rikyu was born in the merchant city of Sakai in 1522. He was given the name Yoshiro at birth. Young Yoshiro began his study of the

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tea ceremony at an early age. He initially studied a traditional style under the tutelage of Kitamuki Dochin. Later, Yoshiro learned a contemporary style, conducted in a small thatched tea house, from Takeno Jo-o.

Both Shuko and Jo-o had undergone Zen training at Daitoku-ji Temple in northwest Kyoto. The temple had a long, deep relation with tea and Yoshiro began his Zen study there as well. Shortly after that, Yoshiro changed his name to Sen Soueki taking the family name of Sen from his grandfather`s name, Sen-ami.

By the time he reached 58, he was serving as tea master to Oda Nobunaga, the leading daimyo in Japan. After Nobunaga’s assassination, he became the tea master for Toyotomi Hideyoshi, Nobunaga’s successor and military dictator of Japan.

When Hideyoshi hosted a tea at the Imperial Palace in 1585, Rikyu received the Buddhist rank of koji from the Emperor Ogimachi. This was an honorary title for a lay person who had lived a pious faithful Buddhist, and from that time he was known as Sen no Rikyu Koji. This established his preeminence among the leading Japanese tea practitioners.

It was built (1492-1501) in the Meio era year of the Muromachi era.