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750-yr-old big bowled tea ceremony at Nara temple a giant hit

A woman dressed in kimono drinks from a giant tea bowl while being supported by others on both sides, at a special tea ceremony in Saidaiji temple in the city of Nara, western Japan, on Jan. 15, 2020. (Mainichi/Maiko Umeda)
A woman dressed in kimono drinks from a giant tea bowl while being supported by others on both sides, at a special tea ceremony in Saidaiji temple in the city of Nara, western Japan, on Jan. 15, 2020. (Mainichi/Maiko Umeda)

NARA -- A ceremony where participants can taste matcha powdered green tea from giant Japanese tea bowls was held at the Saidaiji temple in this western Japan city on Jan. 15.

The bowls measure between 30 to 40 centimeters in diameter and weigh around 5 kilograms each. The "chasen" tea whisks made from bamboo that are used to mix and froth up the matcha are also massive. Participants were seen looking slightly perplexed by the weight of the bowls as they enjoyed a New Year's drink.

The unique "Ochamori" ceremony dates back more than 750 years. It's believed to have started after priest Eison (1201-1290), who restored Saidaiji in the Kamakura period (1185-1333), treated people to tea, then a precious commodity, using oversized rice bowls called "donburi" and stone water basins.

Ami Kotohara, 30, a resident of the city, took part with her husband and 3-month-old daughter. "I want to come again next year to see how my child has grown in comparison to the huge tea bowls," she said.

(Japanese original by Tomoko Takahashi, Nara Bureau)

A woman dressed in kimono drinks from a giant tea bowl while being supported by others on both sides, at a special tea ceremony in Saidaiji temple in the city of Nara, western Japan, on Jan. 15, 2020. (Mainichi/Maiko Umeda)

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