Waraku-an, Nijo Castle’s Teahouse and Garden

Last summer’s research trip to Kyoto took me to Nijo Castle, a shogun’s palace constructed on the order of Tokugawa Ieyasu. Construction commenced in 1601, although the palace was not completed until 1626.  Admission to Nijo Castle gives visitors access to Wakaru-an, but only if they purchase tea (or snacks) in the teahouse adjacent to the garden. Since I feel an attachment to the garden, we decided to head inside. Large hedges fronted by decorative stones block the garden and teahouse from passersby; Once inside, you can stay as long as you like to enjoy your tea. I had a traditional matcha drink, along with

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