Home Langauages A 5 Step Guide to the Japanese Tea Ceremony (Plus History, Tools,...

A 5 Step Guide to the Japanese Tea Ceremony (Plus History, Tools, and More!)


The Japanese tea event, understood in Japan as sadō/ chadō (茶道, “The Way of Tea”) or chanoyu (茶の湯) is a foundation of Japanese culture. The term describes the routine of serving and preparing matcha tea for visitors. This routine typically happens in a tea space with a tatami flooring and is planned to reveal hospitality in an unwinded environment far from the needs of daily life. Experiencing one in Japan is a should for any visitor!

Whether you’re preparing a journey or simply thinking about the culture, Rosetta Stone can assist you discover Japanese rapidly and intuitively. Discover more about Japanese Tea Ceremonies listed below or leap right into your very first lesson today.


The history behind tea events in Japan

Though tea was presented to Japan in the 8th century, it was sluggish to get appeal. The preparation procedure utilized in the Way of Tea go back to the 12th century. Grinding tea into a powder and blending it with a bamboo whisk was presented by China and initially practiced by Buddhist monks. Tea was very important to their lifestyle for health factors and to remain awake throughout long meditation sessions. From there, tea ended up being popular with the Samurai and nobility.

In the 13th century, typical individuals began consuming tea. Throughout this time, tea ceremony ended up being popular. Some concentrated on revealing and interacting socially off elegant tea bowls, while others concentrated on Zen-inspired spirituality. The Way of Tea as we understand it today originated from the latter. Sen no Rikyu is referred to as the daddy of the tea event. There are numerous schools of the routine today, many of them established from his mentors.

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What aspects exist in a tea event?

Tea events can differ in length and rule. A complete, official event is numerous hours long and consists of a meal. Modern, less official tea events are much shorter. Regardless, there are a couple of aspects that need to exist to follow the Way of Tea. They are:

  • Modest clothes
  • Garden environment
  • Tea spaces
  • Decorations
  • Tea preparation
  • Savoring the experience

Modest clothes

The standard clothes for a tea event is a robe, however Westerners who do not own one can use their own clothes as long as it’s modest and easy. It may sound choosy, however the goal is to make sure that clothes does not sidetrack from the experience. Prevent snazzy clothes, eliminate any fashion jewelry that might draw attention or damage the devices, and prevent strong scents. If you have long hair, keep it bound and out of the method.


Garden environment

Whether the event happens inside or outdoors, it is typically surrounded by a garden developed with simpleness and serenity in mind. You’ll typically see a stone course that results in the tea home and a stone water fountain for hand cleaning. Tea gardens generally prevent strong fragrances and intense colors so visitors can concentrate on the routine.

Tea spaces

Indoor tea events are generally kept in a chashitsu (茶室, tea space) developed with rustic minimalism in mind and consists of the well-recognized tatami flooring. Every hut has an integrated fireplace for heating water. An alcove with designs functions as the centerpiece of the space. The entryway for visitors is typically low so visitors need to duck and modest themselves before the event. Like the event itself, the atmosphere is rustic, modest, and peaceful.

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The alcove of the tea space generally shows an ornamental scroll and seasonal flowers. Designs are very little, yet symbolic for the event. The scroll is typically picked with other styles or seasonal styles appropriate for the event in mind. Some have simply one big character, others have more characters, others are paintings.

There is a design of flower organizing particular to the Way of Tea called chabana ( 茶花). The name actually equates to “tea flowers. If they were growing outdoors, the concept is for the flowers to provide visitors the very same impression as they would. That indicates they are constantly in season, growing close by, and not coupled with anything synthetic. It’s popular for visitors to bow towards the alcove and acknowledge the designs before the tea is served.

Tea preparation

The meat of the tea event remains in the preparation of the tea. The tea is prepared in front of the visitors with standard utensils that are picked thoroughly for the specifics of the event and carefully put in the tea space.

  • Chakin (茶巾): A little white fabric utilized to clean the tea bowls.
  • Chasen (茶筅, tea whisk): A bamboo whisk utilized to blend tea powder and warm water together.
  • Chashaku (茶杓, tea scoop): A scoop utilized to move tea from caddy to bowl. They are typically made from bamboo, however they can likewise be made from ivory or wood.
  • Chawan (茶碗, tea bowl): The vessel for consuming the tea. They differ in size and design, however hand-thrown bowls are thought about the very best, and flaws are welcomed as an indication of originality.
  • Natsume/Chaire (棗 ・ 茶入, tea caddy): A lidded container that holds the tea powder.
  • Chagama ( 茶釜, tea kettle): A metal pot, typically constructed out of cast iron or copper, that is utilized to heat water for tea.

There are 2 designs of preparation in the tea event: thick tea (濃茶, koicha) and thin tea (薄茶, usucha). The previous is made from higher-quality matcha powder. The 2 sort of tea are prepared in various methods, too. Koicha takes 3 times as much powder as usucha Both are combined utilizing the whisk, however for koicha it’s in more of a kneading movement. Typically, thick tea is served initially from a shared pot and thin tea is served last in specific bowls. Some much shorter, casual events just serve the thin tea and sugary foods.


Savoring the experience

Once the tea is prepared, it’s time to enjoy it. The particular treatment of the event differs depending upon the school, however this is how they normally go:

  1. The host serves a sweet before the tea.
  2. They put the bowl on the mat in front of each visitor.
  3. The visitors get the cup with their right-hand man, turn it 90 degrees, consume the tea in a couple of sips, and location it back on the mat.
  4. Guests acquiesce the host and state arigato
  5. Repeat for each round.

Savoring the taste of the tea together with the serenity of the routine are necessary for taking advantage of the event.

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Different kinds of tea events

If you prepare to participate in more than one tea event, you might see subtle distinctions in how they’re performed. Every host follows a various school of preparation, and other elements can likewise affect the experience: the event event, devices utilized, setting, and so on

The 4 most typical designs are Chabako temae (茶箱手前), Hakobi temae (運び手前), Obon temae (お盆手前), and Ryūrei ( 立礼).

Chabako temae (茶箱手前)

The Chabako temae design gets its name from package utilized to keep the devices, called a chabako (茶箱, lit.’ tea box’). The design established out of benefit and is primarily utilized outdoors. The majority of the devices in a chabako is smaller sized and more portable. The event takes about 40 minutes.

Hakobi temae (運び手前)

One of the primary steps in a hakobi temae event is the host generating all of the devices, other than perhaps the warm water kettle, while the visitors remain in the space. In the majority of other designs, these products are put in the space before the visitors get in.

Obon temae (お盆手前)

Obon temae, likewise referred to as bon temae (盆手前) or bonryaku temae (盆略手前) is a streamlined event where just usucha tea is ready and served. It is the most convenient design of tea event to carry out and typically the very first one taught in Way of Tea classes. It does not take much time and can be done anywhere.

Ryūrei (立礼)

In a Ryūrei event, the visitors are seated in chairs rather of on the host and the flooring prepares the tea while seated. The host typically has an assistant for this design of event who serves the tea and moves the host’s chair. This design was established to accommodate foreign visitors who are more comfy being in chairs than on the flooring.


Tips for going to a tea event in Japan

Tourists can delight in tea events with differing degrees of rule at numerous Japanese gardens, cultural centers and hotels. Kyoto and Uji are specifically understood for their tea culture. Follow these ideas to take advantage of the experience as a visitor.

Arrive early

Everything in the tea event is organized and exact. Being late will toss all of it off. Punctuality lionizes for your host and passion to get involved.

Follow the rules

Japanese culture greatly stresses politeness and hospitality. The Way of Tea shows these worths. The rules and spirituality of the routine go back centuries! At tourist-oriented tea events, there is less pressure to understand whatever, however it’s still crucial to lionize for the guidelines and treatments. When they get in the event, Wear white socks Guests are anticipated to take off their shoes. When it occurs, keep your feet covered. Typically, Japanese individuals use



(足袋) socks, which are developed to be used with thonged shoes. If you do not have them, plain white socks are likewise appropriate.

Choose the ideal rule and length for your see

The rule and length of tea events can differ a fair bit. A complete, official tea event is hours long and consists of a meal. This can be a bit much for visitors, specifically those who have actually never ever experienced the event before. Other locations use shortened, tourist-friendly variations. These may be less interesting visitors who desire a genuine, regional experience. Research study numerous locations and pick an event type that is most attractive to you.

Always reveal gratitude

From acquiescing the host to acknowledging the flowers, thankfulness is main to the Japanese tea event. Feel totally free to state so if you see an information you like in the space. Whatever in the event is thoroughly picked by the host, so it will make them pleased if you match their options and ask thoughtful concerns. Keep discussions related to the event. That keeps you and the other visitors present in the minute.

Enjoy the experience

Above all else, a tea event must be unwinding. Revealing real gratitude and interest will get you even more and develop a a lot more satisfying experience than remembering all of the information. Whether you’re in Tokyo with other travelers or off the beaten course in Uji, have a good time and take it all in!

Unlock Japanese culture with Rosetta Stoneimmersive, bite-sized lessons Tea events are a terrific method to check out both the history of the leafy blends and Japanese culture itself. We extremely advise partaking in an event if you discover yourself in Japan. Keep a lookout for unique occasions at your regional Japanese garden, too. Lots of host tea events of their own that do not need you to take a trip! TruAccent While a guide like this is a practical tool in constructing your understanding of Japanese culture, there’s no replacement for discovering it firsthand. Knowing Japanese can assist you do simply that. With Rosetta Stone, there’s no requirement to be frightened by unknown alphabets– and there’s no requirement to invest months remembering vocabulary. Our

assist you discover naturally in an enjoyable, engaging environment. Plus, can assist you finetune your pronunciation!

Written by Luca Harsh(*) (*)



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