Photo/IllutrationMembers of the executive committee announce the program of the Juko Chakai tea festival to be held in February in Nara. (Takeshi Sakurai)

NARA--Kasuga Taisha shrine and seven temples will host a series of events Feb. 6-11 to honor Murata Juko (14231502), a Nara native who founded the “wabi-cha”-style tea ceremony.

About 8,000 people in all are expected to attend the tea festival, called Juko Chakai.

The executive committee comprising officials from the city government and the venues announced the details.

“The tea festival will be open to citizens and tourists alike,” said Ryobun Kono, head priest of Daianji temple, who chairs the committee. “We’d like to promote the charms of Nara through tea culture.”

The Juko Chakai was launched in fiscal 2013 to boost tourism during the winter season in the ancient capital of Nara.

Seven schools of tea including Omote Senke and Ura Senke offer tea gatherings at eight renowned venues, including Kasuga Taisha as well as Todaiji, Toshodaiji, Yakushiji temples.

The wabi-cha style focuses on creative tea equipment and tools and achieving the greatest simplicity possible.

A tea gathering especially for foreign visitors will be held for the first time at the Naramachi Nigiwai-no-Ie townhouse on Feb. 11.

Guests can gain hands-on experience doing a tea ceremony and watch a sweets-making demonstration. Tickets are 1,000 yen, with no preregistration required.

Tea gatherings will also be held at the Nara Craft Museum, the Hassoan teahouse at the Nara National Museum and elsewhere.

For more information, visit the special website at (http://jukotea.jp/).