If you're in San Francisco on April 13 or 14, you can attend the spring tea ceremony and discover this treasure of culture and construction. The framework for the two tea rooms, one large for groups and one small, was built in Kyoto, Japan, brought to San Francisco and completed in the mid-'80s. The entrance to the small tea room is a story unto itself: It's purposely small so that a samurai, for whom the tea ceremony was originally developed, would have to leave his sword outside. The beautiful cedar, cultivated to have few knots, is planed, not sanded, and the intricate joinery speaks of old-world craftsmanship. The decor, which is subtle, changes with the season. 1759 Sutter St.; (415) 921-1782.
Catharine Hamm / Los Angeles Times
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