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Sip Tea in Some of Japan’s Quirkiest Teahouses


Tour the town that inspired architect Terunobu Fujimori’s unique style


Japanese architect Terunobu Fujimori is known for his eccentric touch. Visit his hometown of Chino, Nagano and you can savor tea in perhaps one of Japan’s most unique teahouses. This is a tour perfect for architecture fans, made more unforgettable with the addition of a Japanese tea ceremony.

Take a guided English tour offered by the Chino Tourism Association and discover the area that influenced Fujimori’s playful architectural styles. The first stop will be Suwa Taisha, or Suwa Grand Shrine, said to be one of Japan’s oldest Shinto shrines and a place that influenced Fujimori’s decision to go into architecture. Afterward, you will visit his architectural debut, the Jinchokan Moriya Historical Museum, a design that was highly influenced by Suwa Taisha’s long history, as well as the animism that is still practiced in the Suwa area. The museum houses a collection of ancient documents, some dating back to the 11th century, on the ancient rituals of Shinto.

At the end of the tour, you will have exclusive access to Fujimori’s three teahouses, which look as if they came straight from a children’s fantasy story. Takasugi-an, the “too-high teahouse,” is a structure built atop the trees; the Flying Mud Boat is a floating cabin supported by wires. Calm your senses by participating in a Japanese tea ceremony in the Hikusugi-an, the “too-low teahouse,” as you finish out your tour.



Access: From Tokyo Station, take the Chuo Line to Shinjuku Station (about 14 minutes), then transfer to the Azusa Limited Express train to JR Chino Station (about two hours). The starting point for the tour is a 10-minute taxi ride from the station.



Fujimori Terunobu Teahouse Tour (Chino Tourism Organization)


Mon Eight Building 2F, 3506 Chino, Chino-shi, Nagano-ken (inside JR Chino Station)


About 3 hours




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