The emphasis of the collection is on arts relating to the tea ceremony and profound aesthetics of "tea taste".
The museum was established by Issey Hatakeyama (1881-1971),who was born in Kanazawa as a descendant of the lord of Noto Province.
After graduating Tokyo Imperial University with a degree in mechanical engineering, he founded Ebara Corporation in 1912 and became one of the leading industrialists of his age. He spent his spare time studying traditional Japanese Noh drama and the tea ceremony. He became a passionate buyer of art objects and his collection houseed in the museum is famed for its outstanding quality.
The museum building was designed entirely by Issey Hatakeyama and retains an atmosphere of calm traditional taste conductive to viewing the objects on display.
In one corner of the exhibition space, a simple tea ceremony room looks over a small garden where the beauty of the passing seasons can be appreciated.
The museum exhibits are changed four times throughout the year, with some forty or fifty art objects being carefully selected to reflect seasonal nuances.
Other traditional buildings in the garden are used for the traditional arts of tea-ceremony and flower-arranging.