The Huntington Library's circa 1911 Japanese Garden reopened Wednesday after a nearly $7 million renovation, including the addition of a historic ceremonial teahouse built in Kyoto. The teahouse first arrived in the L.A. area in 1964, when it was installed at the Pasadena Buddhist Temple; In 2010 the house returned to Kyoto for restoration before settling into its new home at the Huntington.
While the Japanese House (photo after the jump) will remain open to the public during Huntington hours, the teahouse will be used only occasionally for ceremonies, including tonight's dedication performed by Soshitsu Sen, the iemoto (grand master) of Japan's Urasenke tradition of tea.
The dedication by Sen, who is the 16th-generation descendent of Sen Rikyu -- the Japanese founder of chado, aka the Way of Tea -- is sold out. But we did learn of a hidden window of (quiet) local opportunity for those who have ever experienced a less than Zenlike Japanese garden moment at the Huntington (dozens of chatty, camera-toting tourists on summer vacation come to mind). If you join the museum at the contributor level or above, the perks include early admission on weekends.
There is a catch, of course. Early weekend admission means 8 a.m. Yeah, you're going to need a lot of tea.