Experience Japanese culture through the Japanese tea ceremony

Japanese philosophy and tea ceremony

The custom of drinking tea in Japan is said to have been spread after Zen monk Eisai brought tea back from China in the late 12th century.

The Chinese people at the time had a custom of drinking “Matcha” as a Zen ceremony. Matcha is a type of green tea which is made by grinding tea leaves to powder using a hand mill. Matcha tea is prepared by dissolving Matcha powder with hot water instead of infusing tea leaves in hot water. Eisai brought back tea along with the custom of drinking tea as a Zen ceremony. The custom of drinking Matcha tea developed as one of Zen ceremonies, and was eventually established as “Cha-no-yu” by Sen-no-rikyu in the late 15th century.

The concept of Zen is based on maintaining the order of the state of one’s mind and training to realize such state. Tea ceremony arose as one of the methods to practice it, and greatly influenced Japanese life arts including architecture, gardening, drawing, cuisine, flower arrangement, calligraphy and serving dish. The concept of Zen is deeply rooted in the Japanese people’s esthetics.

A variety of venues in Japan offer the chance to experience the tea ceremony

When you visit Japan, we recommend that you try and experience Japanese tea ceremony. You can start off by simply tasting Matcha tea. You may easily find one at a cafe in the airport. You may also find Japanese tea ceremony service at a hotel. There is an increasing number of facilities that offer opportunities for foreign visitors to experience Japanese tea ceremony with English guidance, so if you are interested, inquire at information counters.

tea ceremony experiences
Some tea ceremony experiences do not require reservation and you can take part on the spot

Some facilities that offer tea ceremony experiences do not require reservation and you can just take part on the spot. You may try and accommodate the activity into your itinerary after arriving in Japan. Here are some of the facilities that offer tea ceremony experiences.

In this culture center a tea ceremony is offered at a Japanese tea room with English guidance. Reservation is not required. It is located in the old part of the town where old wooden houses and shops still remain so you can also enjoy taking a stroll in the vicinity.

Seiseian, located at the seventh floor of the Garden Tower holds Japanese Tea Ceremonies from 11:00am to 4:00pm every Tuesday, Friday and Saturday.

Tea Ceremony Experience Course comes with a piece of seasonal Japanese sweets. Tea Ceremonies are offered from 12:30pm to 4:30pm every Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Reservation is required for a group of five people or more.

Tea Ceremony Experience in Ginza is offered in English and Chinese. Prior reservation is recommended but you can take part if there is still vacancy on the day you contact them. The place is situated in the central part of Ginza next to the Kabuki-za theater, and Tsukiji fish market and Hamarikyu Gardens are also close-by.

You can casually take part in a tea ceremony experience at Miyoshien chaho in casual clothing. Reservation is required by the day before the ceremony. Access the website below or e-mail (info@bikouen.com) in English.

Chanoyu Experience at Urasenke Chado Tradition is offered with a “Ryu-rei” style using a desk and a chair. Beginners and children are welcome. It is offered at 10:00am, 11:00am, 1:00pm, 2:00pm and 3:00pm daily. Prior reservation is required.

Tea ceremony is a popular activity which offers a valuable opportunity to experience Japanese culture. It is offered at various locations in Japan other than Tokyo and Kyoto as well. Let’s try and experience Japanese tea ceremony!