Teamlab Tea Time: Floating Lamps and Glowing Tea Glass Spectacle
Teamlab has once again created a bedazzling digital artwork called, “TeamLab Tea Time in the Soy Sauce Warehouse” in Okayama Prefecture— which is open from April 15, 2021, to March 31, 2022.
Unlike Teamlabs Borderless or Planets, this installation doesn’t have any colorful digital illustrations or animation, it’s just pitch black. However, the dark surrounding is lighten up by flickering and floating lamps on the water and glowing tea glasses that alter their colors as you interact with it or when the tranquil music playing changes its tone. This effect creates a very dreamlike atmosphere.
In addition, this exhibition takes place in the Fukuoka Shoyu Gallery, an old soy sauce warehouse built in the Meiji Era. Instead of using a contemporary building, Teamlab utilizes one of Okayama’s historic structures that perfectly merge with Japan’s modern and traditional culture— drinking tea in a glowing glass while surrounded by floating lamps in a building constructed during the Industrial Revolution.
What to expect
The facade of Fukuoka Shoyu Gallery has a Japanese traditional design, but the reception area gives you a minimalist vibe. The interior gives out a very simple and modern vibe that contrasts the exterior of the building.
With regards to the exhibition, when your slot is next, the staff will gather all the guests and explain the rules of TeamLab Tea Time and the time limit (around 40 minutes). After that, the staff will lead the way to the water-lantern spectacle.
The pathway to the installation is also DARK. Moreover, there are also stairs, and a part where you need to crouch because the ceiling is very low. The staff will warn you though, so don’t worry, but you still need to BE CAREFUL.
Once you arrive at where the floating lamps are, you can choose your seat. The set-up is similar to a bar. You’ll be seated on a stool and there’s a basket beside each chair where you can put your belongings— just remember your stuff before leaving. On the counter, you’ll have space where you can put your tea glass and on the other side are the buoyant and illuminating lanterns.
After less than a minute, a glass is given to each guest. Than Green Tea is poured in and that’s the only time that teacup will illuminate. When you finish your tea, the glass will turn off.
The staff will leave once all the glasses have tea in it. You cannot ask for a refill, choose a different kind of tea, nor order food, so it’s advisable to eat a snack or a meal before coming to TeamLab Tea Time. Furthermore, the staff will come back when the time limit is over.
Despite only drinking GREEN TEA, I didn’t feel bored or feel like the time limit was too short. My husband and I were able to take a lot of photos and videos. We were very fascinated by how enchanting the light installations and the technology behind them.
Also, keep in mind that it’s prohibited to use tripods or selfie-stick, and don’t use any flashes or lights to avoid disturbing the other guests.
Booking and Entrance Fee
You can buy your tickets at the venue. However, you can only purchase the slot you want on the same day you’ll go— ADVANCE RESERVATION is NOT ACCEPTED. Moreover, it’s a FIRST COME FIRST SERVE basis, so once the tickets are sold out, they would stop selling them.
The entrance fee for Teamlab Tea Time cost 1,000 yen. This includes 1 glass of tea. And about its payment procedure, only CASHLESS method is acceptable (e.g., credit card, etc.).
When my husband and I went to get a seat for Teamlab Tea Time, around 11 am to 12 pm on May 7th, Friday. The next available slot was around 1 pm, and since we didn’t have any plans other than going to Okayama Castle, we took it. We’re just glad that they still had a spot for us despite going there later.
There’s nothing to do in the reception area and we still had an hour to spare. We wanted to eat a meal, however, it was too short to have lunch in a nice restaurant. So, instead, we decided to have coffee and we found Café Kitsuné Okayama Roastery. It’s a French-Japanese café that has several branches all over the world.
Café Kitsuné is just 59 meters (about a minute on foot) away from Fukuoka Shoyu Gallery, making it the perfect place to kill some time. The only downside in this café is that there are no tables or chairs inside, but there’s a bench outside the shop. We were in luck because no one was seating there when we arrived.
How to Get to Teamlab Tea Time?
Its closest train station is OKAYAMA STATION and from there it’s a 17-minute walk (1.3 km). Visitors could also take a tram from OKAYAMA-EKIMAE to SHIROSHITA and walk for 7 minutes (700 meters) to get to Teamlab Tea Time.
For those who are driving, there is no parking space at Fukuoka Shoyu Gallery. But there is paid parking around the area.
It is open from 10 am- 5 pm, but this summer it’s until 7 pm. Every Wednesday, Teamlab Tea Time is closed, however, it’s open when it’s a national holiday and close on the next day.
Is Teamlab Tea Time Worth it?
For those who are fans of the Teamlab displays and enthusiast digital artwork, you would love it! However, for those expecting for grandiose installations like in Teamlab Borderless or Planets, you might be a bit disappointed.
Despite only lasting for around 40 minutes, it’s enough to take videos or photos and enjoy the stillness of this place. It’s the perfect place to chill after a busy day of exploring Okayama City— which has many spots for art enthusiasts.
Some of these venues are the Yumeji Art Museum, Okayama Prefectural Art Museum, and Hayashibara Museum of Art. All of these places are a walking distance from Teamlab Tea Time.
Aside from museums, you could also walk around Okayama Korakuen (one of Japan’s 3 Great Gardens) and Okayama Castle, which is also known as “Crow Castle,” because of its black façade. Visitors could also check the various artifacts about Okayama in the castle and you could also rent a boat at the nearby river.
All in all, I enjoyed visiting Teamlab Tea Time. So far, it’s my favorite Teamlab exhibition. I was very pleased with the concept of it and the fact that Teamlab repurposed Fukuoka Shoyu Gallery. For me, it gave a more unique quality to it that made it really stood out among all the Teamlab installations.
Japan has an interesting and beautiful traditional architecture, but it’s too bad that not many of them are preserved. That’s why seeing that a historical building is reused instead of letting it deteriorate or destroyed made me very happy.
Furthermore, I also liked that there were only limited seats for each time slot. It made the whole experience very relaxing and tranquil. So, for those who are not fans of crowds (like me) you would really appreciate Teamlab Tea Time.
When it comes to the glowing tea glass and lanterns, they don’t do much except change colors. However, they are very eye-candy that sort of puts you in a trance that is perfect when you just want to relax and have tea. It’s definitely worth a visit, especially when you are looking for some tranquility.
Have you ever visited a Teamlab exhibition before? How was your experience and what’s your favorite? Comment it down below.
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