Within Nitobe Memorial Garden, visitors will see an authentic tea house and roji. Tea houses are structures created for the practice of the Japanese tea ceremony, known as chadō or sadō, “the way of tea.” Visitors pass through the Roji, a garden that literally means “dewy ground,” on their way into the tea house.
The tea ceremony is a meditative practice with roots in Zen Buddhism, but there is no overt religious meaning in the ceremony. Participants remove themselves from the world to enter a ceremony that encourages a state of being fully present in the moment, free from worldly thoughts. Roji are designed to help one enter this state by guiding one’s attention to the approach of the tea house and to the start of the tea ceremony. The tea house itself follows simple and naturalistic design principles—traditional wood sliding doors, tatami floor mats, and rice paper panels—that do not distract from the ceremony.
To deepen their understanding of the Japanese culture, visitors are encouraged to experience the Japanese tea ceremony at the Nitobe Memorial Garden themselves. The Urasenke Foundation of Vancouver hosts tea ceremonies at Nitobe Memorial Garden throughout the summer. Visitors attending the ceremony can witness the formal preparation of tea and participate as guests.