MATSUE CITY, Japan -- This city opened a tea ceremony room in its
tourist information center to introduce visitors to the Fumai Style
Tea Ceremony, a local tradition for which it is famous.
The center was established last year to mark the 50th
anniversary of Matsue's official designation as an International
Cultural Tourist City. Meanwhile, the tea center was opened in
April in anticipation of increased tourist traffic for the World
Cup soccer tournament.
The ceremony was originated by Matsudaira Fumai, an 18th century
tea master and ruler of the Matsue Domain. The ceremony fostered
the development of two other traditions for which the area became
known: fine confections (called wagashi) and ceramics, especially
tea bowls. The tea ceremony room is open daily from 9 a.m. to 6
Matsue, capital of the Shimane Prefecture, is a castle town
known as a "city on the water" because of its abundant waterways
and location between Lake Shinji and the Sea of Japan.
One of the city's newer attractions is the Louis C. Tiffany
Museum and Gardens. Perched over Lake Shinji, the museum displays
more than 200 of the lamps and stained-glass works by the famous
craftsman. The grounds include an English garden.
More information is available by calling the Japan National
Tourist Organization at (212) 757-5641 or visiting www.jnto.go.jp.