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Japanese Tea Ceremony in Jo-an Tea House

Listed under Traditional Cultures in Nagoya, Japan.

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The Japanese tea ceremony or Sado is a traditional way of preparing tea rooted deeply in the Japanese culture of honour and based on Taoism and Zen Buddhism. Powdered green tea is skilfully and elegantly prepared by a host and drank by guests preferably in a tranquil setting. Each step of the process must be mastered, each hand movement a graceful, precise, pre-defined expression honed over many years of training which doesn’t stop with the ceremony itself but extends into other traditional art forms like calligraphy and flower arranging.

Guests also have strict behaviours to follow including a script for both speech and gestures, the whole point of the art and detail of the exercise being that it be the most charming, perfect way of doing such a simple thing and that each meeting should be treasured for it cannot be reproduced.

The traditions of the ceremony were begun by samurai in the 13th Century. It is now common for Japanese people interested in learning more about their own culture and traditions to take tea ceremony lessons.

Even in the most basic ceremony a variety of implements are needed: Natsume, which are tea caddies, Chawans, tea bowls, a tea scoop, Chasen, which are whisks carved from a single piece of bamboo, Hishaku, a bamboo ladle, Fukusa, a silk square used to clean the tea scoop and to cover the hot handles or lids and Tana, or shelves to put everything on.

The ceremony begins with the cleaning of all the implements in front of the guests before the careful process of boiling the water, adding it to the powdered tea, whisking and serving the tea takes place. Conversation is kept to a minimum, the idea being to create and enjoy a comfortable and relaxing atmosphere amid seasonally appropriate décor, scents and sounds.

There are huge numbers of traditional tea houses or ocha in Japan which will allow visitors to watch or take part in tea ceremonies. The Shizuoka region to Tokyo’s west grows some of the best tea available so it is a good place if you’re interested in getting the best flavours. If you’re looking for the most traditional of experiences Jo-an Ocha, set in the Urakuen Zen Garden in Inuyama was built in 1618 by one of the great tea ceremony masters has been designated as a National Treasure. 1 Mikadosaki, Inuyama-shi, Aichi.

japanican Guide to Jo-an Tea House.

Written by  World Reviewer Staff.

Comments, reviews and questions by other travellers

visiting tea houses in japan

does anyone know of other tea houses in japan that allow westerners to take part in the tea ceremony? or anywhere you can go to learn the tradition?

2 Replies

Hi - here's a link to some that allow visitors in

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