Visit a Japanese tea house in Galilee region

The northern part of Israel is still waiting to be discovered. The Galilee has some of the most breathtaking scenery in the country, with a whole tourist infrastructure in place ready to welcome every type of visitor.

Visitors interested in a cross-cultural experience can visit Taiko Studio and Japanese Tea House, about half-an-hour's drive north of Kfar Kedem, just a little south of the city of Karmiel. It is here that the visitor can sample a genuine Japanese tea ceremony as well as taste some traditional Japanese home cooking. The establishment is the home of Taiko Kushida Eliash. She is married to Shlomo Eliash, an Israeli whom she met when both were students in the United States.

Taiko is a magnificent artist who trained for many years in the ancient art of kimono painting. At her Japanese-style house, high up on Mount Kamon, there is a magnificent view of the lower Galilee with the Kinneret (Sea of Galilee) in the distance, a setting that could not be more suitable to the clean design of her home and studio.

Shlomo offers a detailed explanation of how the colors are made and applied to the traditional kimono. Taiko, dressed in traditional Japanese costume, will also demonstrate and explain the meaning of the Japanese tea ceremony.

"In Japan this spiritual ceremony can go on for three hours when there is no talking acceptable by the host or guest, but here," says Taiko with a twinkle in her eye, "it only lasts 20 minutes because no Israeli could keep quiet for a minute longer."

By prior arrangement Taiko will also prepare some traditional Japanese delicacies. The food is delicate in flavor and healthy, low in calories, but high in protein, vitamins and fiber.

For an authentic Israeli experience, visit the garden at Kibbutz Harduf, also near Karmiel, where the plants and herbs grown are all native to the region.