Journeys on the Tokaido
2004 48 minutes long Documentary-The greatest Journeys on Earth Series
I am reviewing this documentary on Japan because I was doing research for another tea article when I was pleasantly surprised; this DVD delved deeply into Japan’s history. Instead, of finding some boring fodder on the political rise and fall of the powers of the mighty shogun and samurais, this documentary further explored the deep culture of Japan.
I was whisked into how the Japanese people continue to pass on their legacy of symbolism, religion and philosophy to its youngest of generations.
Japan, dubbed the country of “the rising sun”, was built on connecting sets of “roadways” or the Tokaido. The Tokaido means literally “the road from sea to the east”.
My main interest I thought would be the Tokaido itself. This road had played a major part in the way that tea traveled from place to place. It was the absolute path of travel from Edo near the Pacific Ocean all the way to Osaka. Many places or stops and tea houses were built along this very famous roadway that was traveled by lords, emperors, and regular people.
The Tokaido served many functions, such as being the route of the samurai and that of monks; with whom are considered to be the very earliest “bringers” tea.
The journey’s that tea has taken along the long route, to tea plantation, to tea ceremony, and to being engrained into the very fabric of society of Japan is an incredible one.
Japan, as the documentary shows us, seeks out the “nature” in their culture. Then this is passed on from generation to generation.
The serenity that is felt as one enters the gardens that are built adjacent the tea houses, the respect for the tea ceremony, the lessons from the high tea master, and the utmost thoughtful care that is given to all who enter any tea house is explored on this DVD. This documentary expands on the beauty of nature and the fact that coexistence is not only possible it is imperative! Tea enhances and continues to be a very huge part of the Japanese traditions.
Many tea houses were built along the Takaido Road where some feel many of the greatest haiku were most likely written.
So overall, while this documentary was historical/educational as well, it is a good film as it does depict the multitude of what Japan is as a culture, and this documentary highlights how tea and the culture of tea continues to be a huge part of the Japanese culture. One may surely spot a teenager with their iphone or itablet but also they will have tea in their hand as well! This Japanese culture has grown and has changed but the people still feel the way of tea is an important one.
*This DVD was borrowed from my public library. It is available on many on-line stores for purchase, but I too would recommend that a look into your own public library may well reap this DVD. If you can watch it, it was worth a viewing.