BLOGDining wisely at a Ryotei2019.01.11

Special wedding ceremony at a Ryotei

ByTakako Satake

Celebrate important milestones of your life at a Ryotei. These will become the most precious times of your life. However, it is actually difficult for those who have not visited a Ryotei before to know why they can spend a special time there or what they can do at a Ryotei. Ryotei are usually considered to be hard to enter. In this feature, Takako Satake, the vice proprietress of Minokichi Honten Takeshigero, one of the most renowned Kyoto-style cuisine Ryotei, will teach Ryotei beginners how to use Ryotei to enhance your special days.

The second recommended occasion is when you hold a wedding ceremony. The relationship between a couple reached a climax after the successful propose and you will plan a wedding ceremony, the biggest event of your life.

Is there any wedding ceremony that make people feel very Kyoto-style?

Thank you for selecting our Ryotei to hold your wedding ceremony, an event to celebrate the couple's new departure. All our staff members, will do our best to assist to make your wedding memorable, from a ceremony to a reception, and to provide Ryotei-style hospitality.

Kyoto has many renowned shrines and temples and many couples wish to hold their wedding ceremony there. Our Takeshigero is located in a three-minute drive from Heian-jingu Shrine and a ten-minute drive from Yoshida Shrine. Therefore, it is convenient to hold your wedding ceremony at either of the shrines and reception at our Ryotei.
We can arrange a rickshaw for you as transportation between the venues. You will be congratulated by people along the way.

For a civil wedding, we recommend a tea ceremony-style wedding called Chakonshiki (literary "tea wedding ceremony"). As the name suggests, this is a wedding ceremony arranged according to traditional tea ceremony philosophy to strengthen the bond between the couple and their families.
Three steps of Chakonshiki:
1. Each bride and groom brings water and pours each water into one kettle. This ritual is called Omizuawase (literary "placing water together")
2. Make thick green tea called Kocha by using this water.
3. Pour the tea into a tea bowl and drink it with the groom and bride and their family respectively.
Since about 20 to 30 tea parties are annually held at our Ryotei, we are deeply connected to tea ceremony. According to the philosophy of tea ceremony, cherish every meeting as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity (ichi-go-ichi-e) and respect each other including the host and guests and appreciate the tranquil atmosphere together (wa-kei-sei-jyaku). Tea ceremony-style wedding including the philosophy of tea ceremony is very Kyoto-style and a Japanese-style, dignified atmosphere at a Ryotei will provide you unforgettable time.

Since a reception is the biggest event of your life, you want to make it exceptionally gorgeous!

people usually expect to see geisha (experienced traditional entertainers) and maiko (young ones) at a Ryotei, we can, of course, arrange them at your reception. Please enjoy their celebratory dance. Dance at celebratory events were derived from Noh play (Japanese traditional theatrical performance). It was usually performed as a gift at the beginning of these events. There are several performances that are suitable at celebratory events including okina that is regarded as a very sacred rite in Noh play and waki-noh that is usually performed after the okina. Although suitable performances vary depending on the school, performances related to the God, for instance tsurukame, kotobuki, and hakusen (literary "crane & turtle", "cerebration", and "white fan" respectively), are often considered to be suitable, because you can welcome the God to the venue of your celebration through these performances.
Although it was traditionally performed before the toast, as the guests make a congratulatory speech before the toast, the celebratory dance is commonly performed right after the toast now. It usually takes about 15 minutes for two to three songs.

After the performance, the geisha and maiko will come around each of the guest seats. At least 3 performers including one geiko, one maiko, and one jikata who performs music are required for a party. However, 3 performers are not enough to provide good service if the party has 60 guests. In such case, I recommend to arrange 5-6 performers. I think it is advisable that one geiko and one maiko can serve 10 guests.
We have close relationship with all five geisha districts in Kyoto including Gion Kobu, Miyagawa-cho, Ponto-cho, Kamishichiken, and Gion Higashi. Therefore, we can arrange geisha and maiko from a different district if you request to enjoy different performances than usual. You don't need to worry if you see geiko and maiko for the first time. They are expert in celebratory events so that they can entertain the guests perfectly and show impressive hospitality to the guests.

Making a toast with Kagaminuki: opening a sake barrel by breaking its lid with a wooden hammer is very festive. Serving sake from the barrel to each guest after opening will make the event further lively. Geisha and maiko can participate in Kagaminuki. So, please open a sake barrel together with them. The photos taken with them will look very gorgeous.
Upon your request, we can prepare a masu (wooden square cups for drinking sake) with the couple's portraits or names on it. Each guest can take it home as a wedding favor so that this will be a good memento.

One couple requested a unique idea to have a folded-paper crane shower that is inspired by flower shower. When the bride and groom changed their dresses and returned to the venue, all the guests threw small paper cranes to the bride and groom. It was pretty when the paper cranes in various colors drifted down. It was also beautiful when these cranes spread through tatami mats. Countless cranes used for the shower were folded by the bride and groom themselves and we helped folding the cranes too.

What kind of food are served at a wedding reception in a Ryotei?

Since many customers choose a Ryotei as their wedding venue because of the high-quality food, we put our hearts into serving the best food to respond to their expectations.

As a red snapper is considered to be a fish that brings good luck in Japan and its backbone looks the sunrise, we will prepare a whole red snapper and serve it to each guest in front of them. This is called Hinode-yaki (literary "sunrise grill"). Performances like this will impress guests more than simply serving food. In that sense, Shabushabu, which I recommended on Vol.1 Successful marriage proposal at Ryotei, is also good. We will serve thinly-sliced meat after quickly soaking it into hot broth in front of the guests. For a bowl with simmered food in it at a celebratory event, we always cook it with white miso. Although the guests from cities other than Kyoto is usually unfamiliar with white miso and many of them had white miso at the wedding reception in our Ryotei for their first time, the dishes made with white miso are favorable to all of them and is very popular.

Is it possible to cut the wedding cake at a Ryotei?

Of course, we will prepare a wedding cake for you. Many couples request Japanese-style cake with a green tea flavor that is matched to Ryotei's atmosphere.
Assorted celebratory confection called Hourai made by Tsuruya Yoshinobu, a long-established confectionary shop with a history since 1803, is very popular for wedding and very creative. The bride and groom will cut a mountain-shaped large bun like a wedding cake. Then, five small buns with five colors will appear in the large bun. This wedding bun looks splendid and tasteful at a Japanese-style room. Therefore, it is perfectly matched with kimono (Japanese traditional wear).

We have arranged unique performances requested by the friends of the bride and groom at our Ryotei before, such as playing jazz or guitar, and pounding steamed rice. You can make a creative wedding by using the stage at our Ryotei. We will do our best to assist to make your wedding so memorable that the couple will recall their wedding from time to time and become closer.

Takako Satake

The wife of Yoji Satake, the 11th generation chef of Minokichi Honten Takeshigero. She is struggling every day to operate the Ryotei with a history over 300 years as the vice proprietress. At Takeshigero, customers can spend a relaxing time while enjoying seasonal Kyoto-style dishes at the tatami rooms in the two buildings: the main building in Sukiya-style, inspired by tea houses and the annex in Gassho-style, which has steeply pitched thatched roofs. They can also enjoy great views of the bamboo garden with a stream from these rooms.

Editors' Choice

Editors' Choice

At ryotei, it is possible to experience the aesthetic beauty of “quiet” with the five senses in each space, including the decorations in both tatami-mat rooms and floored rooms, the garden scenery, the movements of the hostess and waitresses, and the colors of seasonal moods. With regard to “cuisine,” it is possible to experience the aesthetic beauty of “movement” as you watch the food preparation and presentation process before your eyes while you sit at the counter, observing the actions of the head chef and his first and second assistants. In this segment, we introduce ryotei and cuisine selected from among restaurants that Kyoto CHISHIN editing staff have actually visited and where we can guarantee you will be able to “experience the beauty aesthetic of quiet and movement.”