When the tea house became soan (thatched hut) it no longer had a verandah. In place of this there was domabisashi (eaves jutting out over an earthen floor). The tea room is closed in by walls, so it may be thought that this cuts it off from nature. The guests walk along the stepping stones until they reach the fumiishi (stone in front of the entrance where shoes are removed), open the nijiriguchi (crawl-through entrance) and, once through, step onto the tatami. So the stepping stones in the garden and the tatami are directly connected.
Also, the space in which chanoyu takes place is not only the tea room, but the garden (roji) outside it. These are designed as a single unit. The roji is not a garden to be looked at from inside the tea room, but a path to be taken to it. As soon as one is inside the roji entrance, chanoyu begins. In the koshikake (waiting arbour) the guests wait for the host to come out to meet them. This is mukaetsuke. Washing the hands with water from the stone basin is also very important for the guests. The roji is to the last a garden to be used for chanoyu and only differs from the tea room in that it does not have a roof. It is a tea room roofed with the blue sky. The tradition of 'teioku ichinyo' (an exquisite harmony between the building and the garden) is alive here.
Rikyu called the roji 'The path outside the floating world'. The space in which chanoyu takes place is separate from the ordinary world and is for the purpose of enlightenment. It has something in common with the structure of a Shinto shrine which has a long path at the very end of which is a shrine housing a god.