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In the Japanese tea room, visitors can drink from an antique bowl of $ 25,000

(CNN) — Join the ancient Japanese tradition, drink a $ 25,000 antique bowl and a little "Austin Powers" from the 1970s I found. atmosphere.

You can be part of your experience at Gallery Okubo in the Yanaka district of Tokyo. Here, antique shop Mitsuru Okubo and his family offer a traditional Japanese tea ceremony experience with a twist. Bowls range from new to over 300 years old, with old museum-quality works worth $ 25,000.

The idea behind the gallery is that visitors can feel the bowl and taste the drink at an affordable price, as the Japanese master of tea ceremony wanted. That is. It is art and history accessible to the masses.

Of course, if you're cold sweating thinking about what happens when you drop a $ 25,000 bowl in the 18th century, you have some of the latest options.

Entering the quiet side street gallery, visitors are greeted by a variety of cups, bowls and plates on the small ground floor. After that, Okubo's daughter, Atsuko, comes out of the room next to her, welcomes visitors, and guides them up the stairs to the tatami room on the second floor, which is the traditional stage of the tea ceremony.

For Western visitors in that the usual chairs are installed on the sunken floor, so you don't have to sit cross-legged like in Japanese tradition. Accommodation is built in. This can be very painful if you are not used to it.

In a small room next to it, a bowl is placed on a stand on four shelves. These are your choices, Atsuko explains in English and then highlights some interesting details about each bowl, such as age, origin, and the tea masters who approved them.

Atsuko Okubo shows some her family's antique tea bowls available for customers to choose for use during a Japanese tea ceremony.

Atsuko Okubo introduces some of her family's antique bowls that can be used in Japanese tea ceremony.

Brad Lendon / CNN

It was Atsuko's idea to open these antique bowls to the public.

As an antique shop, her father collected a lot, but sales in the gallery were slow, most bowls were hidden, boxes collected dust, It didn't give any joy to anyone. Atsuko thought that by adopting them in the tea ceremony, the family business could stand out more than the dozens of other tea ceremonies available to visitors to Japan.

But her father curates the bowls and he is excited to add more details about them. There is a dark and wide one from Belgium designed for other purposes, but the tea master thought it was suitable for the ceremony.

Or a light bowl with light circles, squares and triangles. It seems to have been made in the 1970s, and you can imagine the movie comic Super Spy Austin Powers drinking it.

That's a special reason, says Mitsuo Okubo. It is a fusion of ancient and modern times. And although it's only 50 years old, it's still worth about $ 15,000.

Atsuko Okubo performs the tea ceremony.

Atsuko Okubo will perform the tea ceremony.

Brad Lendon / CNN

Okubo shows another bowl about 200 years ago. To an untrained observer, there appear to be some flaws. There is discoloration, not symmetry.

“Imperfections are humans,” says Okubo, which gives the bowl a unique value of thousands of dollars.

He shows another bowl today. It's beautiful, but perfect. It's worth about $ 100.

"Perfect is for robots. This bowl is for robots," he says.

Robots are replaceable, so if you're afraid to drop a $ 25,000 bowl, you can take advantage of it. Atsuko adds that it's also suitable for children so they can share their experiences with parents who don't have to worry about thousands of dollars in disaster.

Today's visitors choose between bowls from the 300 years ago and bowls from the 1970s. Atsuko in a kimono begins the ceremony.

The tea service is preceded by a sweet cake.

She has a sweet cake in front of the tea service.

Brad Lendon / CNN

Kneeling at right angles to the guest, she prepares tea systematically and carefully.

She uses a wooden ladle at the end of a long stick to remove hot water from the pot, place it in a mixing bowl, and mix the tea with a whisk. The only sounds are the water guided by her movements and the birds singing outside.

After the visitor is served a sweet cake of jelly and miso shaped like a hydrangea flower, the tea is transferred to the bowl of the visitor's choice and foamed. Will be served hot.

Following a given ritual, the visitor picks up an expensive bowl and holds it sideways with one hand and the bottom with the other.

The taste is great and everything is wrapped up, so the fact that you have tens of thousands of dollars in pottery in your hand is forgotten.

This is the best experience in Japan.

As Atsuko was politely cleaning up the supplies and bowls, her dad went up the stairs, hand-painted and colored pictures of the bowls used by the visitors, and they had them. The sweet desserts that were there, and an explanation of their origin and importance.

Surprisingly, Okubo, who draws only from memory, is a perfect match for the geometric design of the bowl in the 1970s. It's a very personal level of art.

Antiques dealer Mitsuro Okubo provides lucky guests with an original drawing of their tea cups and an explanation of their origins.

Antique shop Mitsuo Okubo provides lucky guests with an explanation of the original bowl and its origin.

Brad Lendon / CNN

It took about 90 minutes to complete, but looking back at the tens of thousands of dollar bowl shelves, this is an earthquake country. Keep in mind that in the event of an earthquake, bowls and plates that have been shaken off the stanchions are often shattered.

That's right.

"This is the first place to come when an earthquake strikes," says Atsuko.

If you go

Gallery Okubo is open from Wednesday to Sunday from 11am to 6pm increase. The address is 6-2-40 Yanaka, Taito-ku, Tokyo, about a 15-minute walk from Nippori Station on several major railway lines.

The cost of the tea ceremony is 2,200 yen ($ 16) per person, and reservation is recommended.