The Japanese tea ceremony

May 26, 2015

Meditative Tea

Filed under: Uncategorized — japaneseteaceremony @ 7:05 pm

Gathering with a small group of people who share a passion for tea, brewing a bowl in silence with care and awareness is called the Japanese tea ceremony. Registering every sensation, sound, and thought is the basis of meditation. Come to think of it, Japanese tea ceremony is a form of meditation. Moreover it was first developed by Buddist monks as an elixir to improve awareness and alertness in their meditation.

The current approach is unfortunately less meditative and more focused on the correct ritual, more on remembering than feeling. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to bring back the meditation to tea. A bowl of meditation…


April 9, 2010

japanese tea ceremony history

Filed under: Uncategorized — japaneseteaceremony @ 7:21 pm

Though it is not native to the country, the drinking of tea was introduced to Japan in the 9th century CE by a Buddhist monk from China, where it had already been known, according to legend, for thousands of years. Tea soon became widely popular in Japan, and began to be cultivated locally.

The custom of drinking tea, first for medicinal, and then for purely pleasurable reasons, was already widespread throughout China. In the early 9th century, Chinese author Lu Yu wrote the Ch’a Ching, a treatise on tea focusing on its cultivation and preparation. Lu Yu’s life had been heavily influenced by Buddhism, particularly the school which would become known in Japan as Zen, and his ideas would have a strong influence in the development of the Japanese tea ceremony.

The Japanese tea ceremony history:

In the 12th century, a new form of tea, matcha, was introduced. This powdered green tea, which derives from the same plant as black tea but is unfermented, was first used in religious rituals in Buddhist monasteries. By the 13th century, samurai warriors had begun preparing and drinking matcha, and the foundations of the tea ceremony were laid.

Tea ceremony developed as a “trans-formative practice,” and began to evolve its own aesthetic, in particular that of wabi. Wabi (佗, meaning quiet or sober refinement, or subdued taste) “is characterized by humility, restraint, simplicity, naturalism, profundity, imperfection, and asymmetry [emphasizing] simple, unadorned objects and architectural space, and [celebrating] the mellow beauty that time and care impart to materials” .

By the 16th century, tea drinking had spread to all levels of society in Japan. Sen no Rikyu, perhaps the most well-known — and still revered — historical figure in tea ceremony, introduced the concept of ichi-go ichi-e, (一期一会, literally “one time, one meeting”), a belief that each meeting should be treasured, for it can never be reproduced. His teachings led to the development of new forms in architecture and gardens, fine and applied arts, and to the full development of sado. The principles he set forward — harmony, respect, purity, and tranquility — are still central to tea ceremony today.

February 26, 2009

in tokyo

Filed under: Uncategorized — japaneseteaceremony @ 8:30 pm

on Sunday the 8th of march my tea teacher planned a Chaji in Tokyo for her students. I’ve heard only eight people will go. The thing is that participation price plus travel expenses will exceed my monthly allowance. My wife already told me she doesn’t want to go because she has less money than me, so that means it’ll be me and a bunch of old ladies. All kind folks but not particularly my crowd.

The host of the Chaji is apparently a well known tea teacher and hosts various Chaji throughout the year. I’ll decide in a few days whether I go or not.

September 4, 2008

green tea is most important

Filed under: japanese tea ceremony, tea ceremony utensils — Tags: — japaneseteaceremony @ 12:37 am

let’s imagine that you have provided your Japanese tea ceremony guests with sweets. you have cleaned all utensils and are about to open the Natsume. Up on opening it you see there’s no green tea powder in it. you’ve got the bowl, whisk, and hot water ready but nothing to mix it with. nothing to serve your guests with. green tea or Matcha is the most important part of the Japanese tea ceremony.

Any comments are very welcome!!

Japanese tea ceremony review

Filed under: japanese tea ceremony — Tags: — japaneseteaceremony @ 12:13 am

An interesting page which explains the relationship with Yin and Yang. These Yin and Yang come from ancient Chinese traditions just as the roots of the Japanese tea ceremony do.

Sample from

” In the tea ceremony, water represents yin. The fire in the hearth represents yang. A stoneware jar called the mizusashi holds fresh water and symbolizes purity and only the host touches it. The green tea called matcha is kept in a small ceramic container called a chaire that is covered in a fine silk pouch (shifuku) and is set in front of the mizusashi.

If tea is served during the day a gong sounds, or if it is evening a bell tolls five to seven times to summon the guests back to the teahouse. Everyone purifies their hands and mouths once again, and then re-enters the teahouse to admire the flowers, kettle and hearth before seating themselves.

The host enters carrying the tea bowl (chawan) that holds the tea whisk (chasen), the tea cloth (chakin) and the tea scoop (chashaku). The tea bowl represents the moon (yin) and is placed next to the water jar, which represents the sun (yang). “

August 26, 2008

Japanese tea ceremony Chawan

Filed under: tea ceremony utensils — Tags: — japaneseteaceremony @ 11:20 pm

The Chawan is the most important tool for the Japanese tea ceremony. …or is it? Of course we need powdered green tea and hot water, but what to do with all these ingredients if we can not serve them to our guests?

any comments on this are more that welcome.

Japanese tea ceremony review

Filed under: japanese tea ceremony — Tags: — japaneseteaceremony @ 2:26 am

This site provides some information on the japanese tea ceremony and important aspects related to it. It looks into Zen and Zen poems as well as poems written by the great tea master Sen no Rikyu. There is a simple description of how to hold a tea ceremony with limited resources. And finally a little about the history of the Japanese tea ceremony.

(content sample:

” …The custom of drinking tea was prevalent in China before the time of Christ.
Tea was first imported from China as a beverage and over the course of several hundred
years was developed into the art of Chanoyu from which developed Chado.
The study of tea is effective in teaching discipline and instilling respect for others.

The Japanese created a unique way of life by elevating the mundane practice of drinking tea
to a spiritual discipline. Especially after the contact with Zen, The Way of Tea was strengthened because the spirit of Tea and Zen became to be seen as one and the same.
Peace, respect, purity, and tranquility are the four precepts of Chanoyu.

Chanoyu, over the centuries, has become deeply rooted in the hearts and customs of the
Japanese people and has had a great influence on Japanese culture … “

Japanese tea ceremony review

Filed under: japanese tea ceremony — Tags: — japaneseteaceremony @ 12:51 am

This site has some information on the Japanese tea ceremony. It is however not complete but is often linked to as a reference by other people. Basically it is about the use of ceramics such as a Chawan or other ceramics used during the Japanese tea ceremony.

(content sample:

” …The host enters with the chawan (tea bowl) which holds the chasen (tea whisk), chakin (the tea cloth) which is a bleached white linen cloth used to dry the bowl, and the chashaku (tea scoop), a slender bamboo scoop used to dispense the matcha, which rests across it. These are arranged next to the water jar which represents the sun (symbolic of yang); the bowl is the moon (yin). Retiring to the preparation room, the host returns with the kensui (waste water bowl), the hishaku (bamboo water ladle) and futaoki (a green bamboo rest for the kettle lid). He then closes the door to the preparation room.
Using a fukusa (fine silk cloth), which represents the spirit of the host, the host purifies the tea container and scoop. Deep significance is found in the host’s careful inspection, folding and handling of the fukusa, for his level of concentration and state of meditation are being intensified. Hot water is ladled into the tea bowl, the whisk is rinsed, the tea bowl is emptied and wiped with the chakin.
Lifting the tea scoop and tea container, the host places three scoops of tea per guest into the tea bowl. Hot water is ladled from the kettle into the teabowl in a quantity sufficient to create a thin paste with the whisk. Additional water is then added to so the paste can be whisked into a thick liquid consistent with pea soup. Unused water in the ladle is returned to the kettle. The host passes the tea bowl to… “

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — japaneseteaceremony @ 12:41 am

One of the best sources of information regarding the Japanese tea ceremony. It has detailed explanations and has pictures on most pages to create a clear image of what is being discussed. Especially the page which describes the step-by-step process of preparing a bowl of tea is a great read to get some understanding of how the tea ceremony is performed

(content sample:

” The tea ceremony is an artistic pastime unique to Japan that features the serving and drinking of Macha, a powdered green tea. Though tea had been introduced into Japan from China around the eighth century, matcha did not reach the country until the end of the twelfth century. The practice of holding social gatherings to drink matcha spread among the upper class from about the fourteenth century. Gradually one of the main purposes of these gatherings, which took place in a Shoin (study), became the appreciation of paintings and crafts from China in a serene atmosphere.

Having witnessed or taken part in The Japanese Tea Ceremony only once, one will come to understand that in Japan, serving tea is an art and a spiritual discipline. As an art, The Tea Ceremony is an occasion to appreciate the simplicity of the tea room’s design, the feel of the bowl in the hand, the company of friends, and simply a moment of purity. “