Rikyu lived at a time when Sakai was a hub of international trade. The city was the home of major trading houses and enjoyed a level of autonomy that rulers of the time could not easily infringe. People from other lands walked its streets and goods and influences from all over the world flowed through its port. Ostentation and extravagance were the fashion of tea gatherings among the powerful and wealthy in those heady days. The cosmopolitan atmosphere, however, may have encouraged innovative ideas about tea, and Rikyu pioneered an aesthetic of simplicity inspired by Zen values.
“Today, the major schools of tea have their headquarters in Kyoto, so many people think that the culture of tea began in Kyoto,” says Tanimoto Jun’ichi, president of the Tea Tsuboichi tea manufacturer, tea master and sixth-rank tea appraiser, “but Sen no Rikyu was born in a merchant house of Sakai, so we can claim that Senshu is the birthplace of the culture of tea.”
Senshu opens the door for your encounter with the arts of chanoyu.