Since the early 1970s, the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa Japanese tea house has served as an educational resource for thousands of students who have studied the art of the Japanese tea ceremony.
Nestled in the idyllic East-West Center Japanese Garden, the tea ceremony house named Jaku’an, “hut of tranquility” is one of the first tea houses built outside of Japan.
In 1972 Genshitsu Sen, a 15th generation grand tea master saw the need for an authentic tea ceremony house or chashitsu in Hawaiʻi. Through his vision and monetary support, the chashitsu was pre-cut and erected in Japan, then dismantled and shipped to Hawaiʻi where it was reconstructed by five Japanese craftsmen.
Jaku’an celebrated a reopening in 2015 after undergoing renovations, once again funded by Sen.
“This is one of the only campuses in the nation where students can study Japan and Japan cultural studies in a comprehensive way,” said Mary McDonald, director of UH Mānoa’s Center for Japanese Studies. “Here we have a way to study tea, the way of tea in an authentic Japanese tea house. This is a very unique opportunity among campuses across the nation.”