April 11-June 4
The tencha tea ceremony, which uses tea leaves that can be ground into matcha, originated in China during the Song Dynasty (960-1279) and was brought to Japan by Zen monks who had studied there during the 12th century. The practice, along with the use and display of karamono (Chinese artworks and artisanal tea utensils) spread throughout Japan, becoming a popular status symbol with the elite.
On display are various karamono, focusing on designated National Treasures and Important Cultural Properties that were esteemed by historical figures such as shogun Ashikaga Yoshimasa (1436-1490), daimyo Oda Nobunaga (1534-1582), and the tea masters Sen no Rikyu (1522-1591) and Matsudaira Fumai (1751-1818).
Tokyo National Museum; 13-9 Ueno Koen, Taito-ku, Tokyo. Ueno Stn. 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m. (Fri., Sat. till 9 p.m., Sun. till 6 p.m.). ¥1,600. Closed Mon. 03-5777-8600; www.tnm.jp