Chabako – Tsuki


Tsuki is the most difficult seasonal procedure for outdoor serving of Tea with a portable wooden box we know in Urasenke. It is the one most obviously related with Ko-do – the Way of Fragrance. Because of its difficulties this procedure usually is thought after the rest four Chabako-variations.


This temae is one of the four seasonal chabako-procedures for outdoor serving of Tea. It is related to the autumn and the Moon (tsuki means moon). In Japanese natural aesthetic that time of the year is considered as the best moment for looking at the Moon and the stars, because the air is clear and the lights on the sky are bright. This temae is nice during the warm and dry days when we have a simple audience with the chabako-set in the mountain for example.


The portable box we usually use in Urasenke for chabako-temae was originally created for usage in Ko-do – the Way of fragrance. This is one of the traditional Japanese practices, roots of which we lose in China. It has numerous gracious techniques for preparing and sharing fragrance – a ceremony as the Tea. Rikyu liked this kind of box and took one but didn`t create a temae for it. Centuries afterward were created the four seasonal procedures, and Tsuki is one of them. Because of autumn – the best time for tasting fragrance (the air is wet and cool, there are no flowers any more), this chabako-temae is the most referential to Ko-do: there are several typical for the Way of fragrance utensils in use, and we also have to put some fragrance in the hearth when start Tsuki. As we know, there is no other temae in Urasenke where we have to put fragrance as a part of the preparing Tea.

  • Binkake – better to use the Wabi-ones relating with the humility of autumn
  • Tetsubin – just a rusted one; for chabako you can use even an ordinary old kettle
  • Chabako – a wooden box with the middle board (name?) in it; better not shin-nuri flashy lacquer
  • 4-section-board – (name?) wide board of 4 rectangle thin pieces with the size of the lid of the box connected with a long string; it can be folded and if you open, it goes to take at around 75% of the wideness of the dougu-tatami (if you have tatami in the mountain!)
    little fan – (name?) a miniature fan looking like the one for Sumi-demae (Habouki); it is used to brush the 4-section-board
  • Kogo – usually smaller one, almost wooden; there are two Byakudan (sandal) pieces and one of them you have to put in the fire with the beginning of the temae
  • Ko-Hibashi – tiny pair of metal sticks for taking fragrance and putting it in the fire
  • Furidashi – just a usual one, Oribe-type, not glassed clay or gourd is nice
  • Chakin-Tzutsu – something simple, even a piece of bamboo
  • Chakin – usual one
  • Chawan in Shifuku – humble one, Raku or Kuniyaki is nice; even old glass is OK if the weather is still hot; smaller to enter the shifuku
  • Chasen – as usual smaller for entering the tsutsu
  • Chasen-Tzutsu – as usual for chabako, better is simple
  • Uguisu – a silver stample looking like “U” used to stabilize the chasen not to be blown out of the board
  • Chashaku in shifuku – as usual for chabako – Nakabushi or not bamboo, smaller for entering the shifuku
  • Usuchaki in shifuku – a tea-container for Usucha, mostly Natsume; as usual smaller to enter a shifuku and the chawan
  • Kensui – something simple; if you have for example a coast or you are sitting on a bridge you can skip it : )

There are two variations: with or without a haiken (looking of the utensils). Before temae you have to prepare the ko-hibashi staying on shiki-ita of binkake; lay them to stick out from the right to be easy taking them. Starting temae, you have to put the fragrance first. There is no haiken of kogo now – everything might be looked at in the end. Tsuki is the only temae in which you have to take chasen and chakin with their tsutsu out and they stay on the board during the procedure. Uguisu has to be sticked on the board and chasen goes over it to be stabilized against the hard wind in the autumn. If there is no haiken, things finish as usual cleaning and taking backwards. If there is haiken, you have to pull the box back, to open kobukusa over it and left the Tea-bowl on it. Next you have to move Uguisu to the right corner of kobukusa. Taking the middle-board, you turn towards the guests for cleaning the natsume. Before turning the board and presenting it, you have to put kogo and chashaku on it. Notes The specifics with this procedure is that there are several specific utensils used only in it. Putting the fragrance is not difficult, arrangement of the things too – there is a distinguished place for everything on the 4-section-board. The difficulty comes because of the big number of utensils and the sequence of their moving ahead.