When we tried it, we actually felt reborn!

Wake up in the morning, get ready for work, eat breakfast, take a packed train to work, come home, do housework…the daily grind sometimes feels like it never ends. When do we get time for ourselves? 

Sometimes you just have to make it. That’s why our Japanese-language reporter Yuki Shirai went to check out a modern art building in the Nagoya neighborhood of Arimatsu in central Japan that has a cafe where you can meditate in the dark. It’s called the Konmasa Building, directed by modern artist KONMASA. The building includes a meditation cafe where you can sample different teas and sweets as you meditate, so it’s the perfect place to take some time to unwind.

The meditation cafe has two courses: the Finest Quality Houjicha Course and the Natural High-Quality Green Tea Course. Both courses cost 2,000 yen (US$17.32). The day Yuki went was pretty cold and she wanted something that could both warm her up and relax her, so she picked the Finest Quality Houjicha course.

During your meditation experience, you get three cups of tea with either course. The first two cups are determined by your course (you’ll either get roasted green tea in the Houjicha course or green tea in the Green Tea course). You can choose the third cup of tea from either the Zen or Meditation menus.

Both menus had a huge array of different kinds of teas, so Yuki found it rather difficult to choose, but after some deliberation, she decided on rose tea.

Each course also comes with your choice of a dessert, and Yuki picked the Pumpkin Gelato. At this point, even though she had come here to unwind through meditation, she was honestly more excited about the tea and the gelato.

Once she’d placed her drink and sweets order, Yuki was shown to the private meditation room, Tsuki no Ma, or the Moon Room. The room was almost completely dark, so it felt like stepping into a different world.

Just across from the seat was a huge picture of the moon, which was apparently made of washi paper and crafted so that when you look at it from the left, it looks like a full moon, and from the right, a new moon.

Underneath the moon was a small monitor that displayed some of KONMASA’s video art.

Yuki was completely alone in the room, and she reveled in the solitude. Separated from the real world, she was ready to start her meditation experience. After about five minutes, her first drink arrived: houjicha, or roasted green tea. Its warm and reassuring flavor permeated her whole body.

The second drink was also houjicha, but it had a much deeper flavor than the first cup. The mug also had a cute polar bear decoration, which was a nice bonus.

Lastly, the rose tea and pumpkin gelato arrived. The rose tea had a very gentle aroma of rose, which had a cleansing effect on Yuki as she sipped it in the dark. The pumpkin gelato was packed with sweetness and was surprisingly filling.

Once the staff brought in the last cup of tea and the gelato, Yuki was left alone in the room to meditate. Staff even provided her with a small teapot with extra rose tea, so she didn’t have to worry about running out as she slowly sipped and savored it throughout her meditation.

You might be thinking, “How can you meditate if you’re constantly sipping tea?” But while a lot of meditation is done sitting in stillness with your eyes closed, there’s merit to meditating with your eyes open in the dark, especially in the Moon Room where you can sit and observe the picture of the moon. With Yuki’s eyes focused on the moon as she was shrouded in darkness, she let her mind empty of thoughts and let her heart surrender to its patterns and light.

A mysterious sound like music born directly from nature drifted down from the ceiling. As it turned out, this sound was the timbre of a Taisho koto, a stringed musical instrument that originated in the Nagoya area. It wasn’t your typical meditation music, but it was still relaxing. Its soothing tones seemed to draw Yuki even farther away from her everyday life.

As she drank in the experience with all five of her senses, Yuki was astounded to remember how nice it was to spend some time completely alone. The experience was undeniably refreshing. When she came out of the Moon Room, she felt like a completely different person.

The whole experience lasts about one hour, and afterward, guests are welcome to explore the modern art on display on the second and third floors. And those who experience the meditation rooms can also leave their signature on the floor of the first floor. To leave your own mark on a building of modern art…now that’s something special!

If you’re looking for an enlightening and spiritually cleansing experience, you’ll definitely want to check out the Konmasa Building. But if you’re in the Tokyo area and not Nagoya, try this meditation studio instead. It will teach you to be in the moment with thirty-minute sessions, which is something we all need these days!

Cafe Information
KONMASA The Art Building / コンマさビル
Aichi-ken Nagoya-shi Midori-ku Arimatsu 1905
Hours: 11:00 to 18:30
Closed on Wednesdays

Images © SoraNews24
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[ Read in Japanese ]