Acclaimed filmmaker, actor, and head of the Sogetsu school of Ikebana, Hiroshi Teshigahara spins this sequel of sorts to his 1991 work Rikyu. In that film, tea ceremony master Sen no Rikyu dares to speak his conscience and is in turn forced to commit suicide by his ill-tempered master, Toyotomi Hideyoshi. This film deals with Rikyu's gifted protégé, Furuta Oribe, who reinvented the tea ceremony. The film centers on Gohime (Rie Miyazawa), a vivacious tomboy living on Hideyoshi's estate who soon develops a strong friendship with Oribe (played by screen legend Tatsuya Nakadai). When the brash young Gohime learns that officials looking to curry favor with Hideyoshi have publicly exhibited Rikyu's head, she and Oribe's gallant gardener Usu (Toshiya Nagasawa) retrieve it and place the disembodied body part at Rikyu's gravesite. Fearing that he could implicate his master, Usu decides to leave, but not before making love to the princess. Twenty years later, the three are able to meet once again but in very different circumstances. Oribe is now the tea master for Hideyoshi's rival, Ieyasu; Usu is a lonely mountain man. And the princess is living with her birth family and Hideyoshi ally, the Maeda clan. As things look increasingly bleak for her family -- Ieyasu exiled her husband -- the princess has Oribe lead the spring tea ceremony at the Maedas, a nudge to the ribs of authority. Lead actress Rie Miyazawa was a wildly popular teen idol who shocked the country by releasing a nude photo book of herself the same year this film was released.
by Jonathan Crow synopsis