Attending a tea ceremony in Japan 日本での茶道に出席する
A bowl of matcha
Bowl of tea
Credit: Wikimedia Commons
Where to attend a tea ceremony in Japan?
The tea ceremony is a real traditional art in Japan, during which you get to try matcha green tea accompanied by a traditional sweet. It is possible to experience this ceremony which is held in a tea house during your trip to Japan.
The ceremony and the utensils used follow a strict protocol. The chasen (bamboo whisk) is used to mix water and tea, the chashaku (bamboo spoon) to measure the tea, and the chawan is the traditional bowl in which guests taste the matcha, which is often accompanied by a small traditional Japanese wagashi traditional sweet.
The ceremony has several stages. The tea master begins by greeting their guests, then places the various utensils around them. You should know that each guest will be served one by one. The master first cleans the bowl with clean water. Then places two spoons of matcha powder in the bowl, adds hot water and beats tea with the bamboo chasen. The tea then takes on a smooth texture, with a frothy surface.
To discover: Matcha tea
The tea master then presents the bowl facing the front to the first guest. The first guest, before tasting the tea, must greet the second guest. Then lift their bowl as a sign of respect for the host and turn it twice clockwise, in order to position the front of the bowl opposite their mouth. Be careful not to drink from the front side. Finally, the matcha should be tasted in two and a half sips, before placing the bowl with the front side facing you.
The master of ceremony then performs the same preparation for each participant. Finally, at the end of the ceremony, they clean and present all their utensils to the guests.
Tea Houses in Tokyo
- The Imperial Hotel Toko-an is without doubt one of the best places in Tokyo to attend a tea ceremony. This prestigious hotel located in Chiyoda offers a 20-minute ceremony, with tea and pastry, at 2,200 Yen (around US $20) per person, all in a very traditional zen setting.
- Experience a tea ceremony at the Museum of bonsai Shunkaen, east of Tokyo. Reserve your place now on Voyagin, for around US $37.
Tea ceremonies in Kyoto
The ancient capital of Japan Kyoto is full of tea houses
- The Camellia Tea House, near the Kiyomizu temple, is particularly renowned in Kyoto. The calm and sunny place delivers an elegant ceremony. The experience costs 3,000 Yen (around US $28), for 45 minutes of an unforgettable experience.
- Tea Ceremony at Ju-an, near Kyoto station. The ceremony is in English and guests have the origins of the ceremony explained. You can also practice making the tea yourself. The price is 2,850 Yen (US $26).