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Collection Highlight: Ceremonial Teahouse


The name of this teahouse, Sunkaraku (Evanescent Joys), reflects the spirit of the traditional Japanese tea ceremony as a temporary refuge from the complexities of daily life. The architecture reveals a special delight in natural materials, such as bamboo and cedar.

Using elements from an eighteenth-century teahouse, Ōgi Rodō designed this retreat around 1917 for the grounds of his Tokyo home. Among the guests he hosted at Sunkaraku were Japanese financial and political leaders for whom he designed country homes and teahouses. Acquired by the museum from the architect in 1928, this is the only example of his work outside Japan. It is still used for tea ceremonies on special occasions.

Looking Questions for Kids

  • How would you describe this building?
  • What do you think it was used for? Why?
  • What materials do you think the designer, Ōgi Rodō, used? Where can you see bamboo (fence, gutter)?
  • Do you think Rodō wanted the teahouse to stand out or blend in with the garden? Why?
  • How does looking at this make you feel? Why?

Main Building

Free with museum admission

Pay What You Wish admission on 1st Sunday of the month & every Friday night


Felice Fischer, Curator Emerita of Japanese Art

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