A couple of weeks ago, I got invited for a tea mindfulness experience conducted by CHA-Link and my dear friend, Rica Takeuchi, who is also the founder of CHA-Link.

Rica is also the First Miss Tea Ambassador of Japan and the person who came up with the innovative idea of tea mindfulness.

I have always been a tea lover. Therefore, I am passionate about anything that involves tea also, inner calm, Japanese culture, and meditation. That's why I was super excited to try it out. My excitement grew bigger after finding out the location, which was the Jōbokuin Temple 浄牧院 in Higashi-Kurume 東久留米.

She gave me a lot of information regarding the time and address, including a detailed map of the location, so I didn’t have any trouble getting there.

On the way to Higashi-Kurume and exploring the Zen Buddhist Temple

Photo by © cinnamonellie

When the tea mindfulness day came, I was so excited that I woke up early, prepared my camera, and double-checked the time I should get out of the apartment so I can take some pictures.

It was around an hour and a half train ride to Higashi-Kurume, and I was lucky because the weather was sunny and warm, perfect for a tea and Zen experience.

It was my first time in Higashi-Kurume, and I got there quite early, so I explored the surroundings a little bit before heading to the temple (which is only around 6 minutes- walk from the Higashi-Kurume Train Station).

Photo by © cinnamonellie

I found the area peaceful, and I enjoyed my time exploring it, then headed to the temple. The temple was bigger than I expected, and I was supposed to enter through the third gate, which was the closest to where the tea mindfulness event was going to happen.

Photo by © cinnamonellie

You could feel the tranquil atmosphere surrounding the Jōbokuin Temple and the neighborhood.


I noticed some pamphlets at the entrance of the third gate, so I stopped for a second to read what they say. The pamphlets featured other events you can participate in, besides tea mindfulness, for example, zazen 座禅 or Yoga at the temple.

After taking a couple of pictures of the area, I decided to go inside. However, I might have seemed a little lost because a monk came to talk to me and asked if I am here for the tea mindfulness event held by Rica san. I said yes, so he was kind enough to guide me to the right place.

Once inside, I noticed a beautiful Japanese garden and the silhouette of Rica-san preparing the items for the event. She saw me and called me inside, so I opened the door and took my shoes off, disinfected my hands, then headed off to where Rica-san was making preparations.

Tea mindfulness: Inner Calm with CHA-Link at a Buddhist Temple

Photo by © cinnamonellie

I was the first to come, so I got to choose my Japanese tea caddy (茶筒 chazutsu), a teapot (急須 kyūsu), my teacup, and a tray.

Photo by © cinnamonellie

I went for an unusual empress tree (Paulownia tomentosa) (桐 kiri) chazutsu. I instinctively picked it because I found it unique, and it seems my instinct was on point because chazutsu made out of empress tree seem to be quite a rarity.

Besides me, there were another three participants. They also got to pick their tea utensils, and after leaving our luggage in another room, we went to sit down so we can start.

Photo by © cinnamonellie

We started with a bit of stretching to relax our bodies, then feel the positive energy around us and be conscious of every part of our bodies. While the tea was boiling, we took our time to be in the moment, focus on what we were doing in the present, close our eyes, and listen to Rica-san’s soothing voice while she was guiding us through the next steps.

We put a lot of time into appreciating everything: we felt the touch of the tea utensils, took our time to discover them, also to see the delicate tea leaves and get to know their fragrance. 

Photo by © cinnamonellie

When the water boiled, we felt the warm teapot in our hands. It was a perfect fit in our palms, and it felt like it was warming up my entire soul.

We then poured it with small moves, concentrating on each part, then waiting for it to change color. We once again discovered how it changed into a light green, also how the leaves changed shape, and we imagined how it would taste like.

Photo by © cinnamonellie

The tea had a pleasant fragrance, a sweet aroma, and a light green appearance. I imagined a subtle taste, a bit on the sweet side. However, I was surprised when I first drank it. It was rich and nothing as I imagined, so that was such a fun turn of events.


While drinking it, we enjoyed the tranquility, and we took in everything from the buzzing of the insects and chirping of the birds to the smell of the tatami.

After finishing it, Rica-san brought some traditional sweets, and we filled our teacups once again.

Photo by © cinnamonellie

We then enjoyed talking to each other, took some photos, and shared our thoughts on the unexpected turn of events regarding the tea. The tea had a rich and tasty flavor that matched the Japanese sweets so well, and just being there, with everyone, enjoying the garden, enjoying the sounds, was such an incredible experience. We had just met, but everything seemed to bond us all.

For me, in particular, I feel like this experience became such a precious memory that I will forever treasure.

Photo by © cinnamonellie

Through CHA-Link and thanks to Rica-san, I once again learned about how important it is to take some time for yourself, also how important it is to enjoy being in the moment and be conscious of the little things surrounding you.


For those who want to know more about CHA-Link, Rica-san, also the courses available, I covered it in another article that you can find in the link below:

"Inner Calm in a Teacup: CHA-Link Meditation and Tea with Miss Tea Ambassador Rica Takeuchi"

The courses are also available online, in English and Japanese. Rica-san speaks English at an advanced level, and she even offered to do the tea mindfulness in both English and Japanese when we were at the temple.

I am comfortable with Japanese as I’ve been learning it since a young age, and being the only foreigner participant, I didn’t mind doing it in Japanese. I can say that Japanese also comes naturally to me so, I would’ve chosen it anyway.

However, for those who don’t speak Japanese, you can also choose English as an option.

On the CHA-Link Official Website, you will also notice that the website is bilingual and has both English and Japanese available.


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By - cinnamonellie.