top of page

Shakujii-koen Tea Room


Location: Nerima-ku, Tokyo

Major use: Tea room,

                   Private house

Project type: Renovation

Completion: Apr., 2024

Total Floor Area: 87.55 sqm

Structure: RC

Contractor: RINZ Inc.

Photos: Susumu Matsui







"Renovation and Authenticity"


A four-and-a-half-tatami-mat tea ceremony room was designed in a condominium unit. The client is an Omotesenke (a member of the Omotesenke school of tea ceremony) and is familiar with the tea ceremony.


The client wanted a tea room that could be used for tea ceremonies, and while the design was in the "Gyo" style, as in "Shin", "Gyo", and "Sou" for Japanese tea room styles, it was also in harmony with the interior of the relatively new condominium.


The walls and sliding doors of the room, which was originally a bedroom facing the living room, were dismantled to make way for a tea room that could be opened and closed with shoji screens to the living room, while retaining the sash and air conditioning unit.


In order to make use of the existing windows, a nested configuration was adopted, with another room inside the room. When the shojis are closed, the tea room can be used as a guest room, and when the shojis are removed, it becomes a small Japanese-style room connected to the living room. The removed shojis can be stored in the threshold and Kamoi on the side of the Andon (lantern) light.


The four-and-a-half-tatami-mat of Edo-style tea room has a Tokonoma (alcove) and a Bokuseki window. The window was designed by a friend of the owner with the family crest of the owner as a motif. The window frame is made of bent bamboo.


The Tokonoma (alcove) does not have an alcove side (Tokowaki), and the floor post, which also serves as a fixture support, is a cedar bark post. In consideration of the design balance with the living room, a simple, few-line design was kept in mind, and the dropped hanging frame (Otoshikake) was omitted.


The tea ceremony room has a raised floor, and can be used as under-floor storage for tea utensils. On the wall on the side of the closet, there is a long pressboard on which kimonos can be hung.


The tatami mats in the tea room are genuine Kumamoto straw tatami mats, and an electrically heated furnace is installed under the tatami mats. The ceiling base was reinforced and a Kamahiru nail was inserted directly above the furnace.


During tea ceremonies, guests enter the tea room from the living room and sit down after viewing the floor decorations and tea utensils. The master enters through the tea ceremony entrance and performs the tea ceremony on the tatami mat.


Outside of the tea ceremony entrance, a "Okimizuya" is placed in a space that was originally used for storage. The Okimizuya is a simple water closet without a water supply and drainage system.


A folding tatami unit is set up in front of the water closet in order to adjust the floor level when the master is working. The tatami unit is a piece of furniture with four legs that can be folded and stored under the floor.


Hooks for hanging a Noren (a blind curtain) were installed on the ceiling above the tatami unit area. The Noren is used as a blindfold during tea ceremonies.


There are no lights on the ceiling of the tea room, but only two lights: an indirect light in the Tokonoma (alcove) and a built-in Andon (lantern) light. Both lights are dimmable and can be used in a variety of ways.


At night, when the tea room lighting is turned on and the shoji screens are closed, it is as if one is looking at a Japanese house from the outside, and the effect is that the entire tea room looks like a large Andon (lantern). The exterior wall appears in the interior space.


In the past, most renovations have involved dismantling an old Japanese-style room and turning it into a spacious living room, but this renovation was the opposite, creating a Japanese-style room and an Omotesenke-style tea ceremony room.


While aiming for an authentic tea-ceremony room, we had to be very careful in selecting each element, material, color, and detail, as too much Japanese style would not be in balance with the living room.


Instead of creating a strong policy at the beginning, we gradually gave shape to something fluffy and shapeless through trial and error.


The design was carefully determined by weighing the balance between the parts and the whole, just as in the case of Sukiya-style architecture, where the design is updated little by little as the building is extended.


In contrast to the traditional Western-centered approach of symmetry and strong formality, I believe that Japanese Sukiya architecture was originally determined in this way, and I was able to put it into practice.





1. Okimizuya

2. Tatami unit

3. Sado-guchi

4. Fumikomi-tatami

(Storage for Tamami units under it)

5. Temae-tatami

6. Ro(Furnace)

7. Ro-tatami

8. Guest-tatami

9. Precious-person-tatami

10. Tokonoma

11. Bokuseki-window

12. Living

13. Storage














bottom of page