Welcome to the Japanese Tea Ceremony Workshop Osaka, a.k.a. sadou, chadou or chanoyu, by Maikoya Osaka. The Japanese Tea Ceremony Workshop provides an engaging induction to the traditional tea ceremony. This activity dates back hundreds of years and is the most idealistic pastime of ancient Japan. This cultural ritual is called "the way of the tea" where the tea used is a powdered green tea called matcha. This experience is one that is a definite must on a Japanese vacation bucket list.
In this famous tea ceremony activity in Osaka, you will have an opportunity to wear traditional kimono robes, taste the green matcha tea and eat unique Japanese sweets specifically made to match the tea's flavour. All the content of the tea ceremony will be explained in English and will last around 90 minutes in a traditionally decorated room. This is a once in a lifetime event to experience an activity that has been practiced for hundreds of years.
In this unique workshop, a qualified instructor will walk you through step by step of a traditional tea ceremony, chadou and sadou. You will see all the unique utensils used and have an explanation of the delicate moves of your instructor as they prepare your tea. Nowhere else can you discover the cultural history and refined technique used in every action and item witnessed throughout this ceremony.
Japanese Tea Ceremony Workshops are held at the Edo-style room of Maikoya Osaka. At the end of the workshop, you can continue with a range of other activities and workshops at Maikoya Osaka or hang out at the relaxing Maiko Cafe to create a Japanese cultural experience you won't ever forget.
What can you expect in this Japanese Tea Ceremony Workshop? We show off cultural activities with a difference!
Your workshop will include:
Learn Japanese culture with all of your senses – especially your sense of wonder!
Japanese Tea Ceremony
The Japanese tea ceremony where ceremonial tea is prepared and presented to promote wellbeing, mindfulness and harmony. It is also called the Way of the Tea. The tea itself is a powdered green tea and is called matcha.
The Japanese tea ceremony has many names in Japanese: Chanoyu, sado or ocha. It has a long history of a thousand years and has ties to the tea traders in China. Japanese monks first brought back tea leaves during the Chinese Tang dynasty (618 �| 907 AD) and only used them in their temples for religious services. A priest called Myona Eisai spread the belief that green tea could be used for medicine and by drinking it regularly you were ensured good health. Samurai in particular followed this practice and spread its popularity. Later, another priest called Murata Shukou, called the father of the tea ceremony, added more significance and rituals by making powdered tea so others could enjoy it. His focus on aesthetics became well known and heavily influences the tea ceremony that we know today.
Tea Ceremony Vocabulary:
Chasen: Tea whisk made from the single piece of bamboo Chashaku: Tea scoop made from bamboo or ivory Chawan: Decorated tea bowl. See Fun Facts for more information. Hishaku: Ladle used to pour water made out of bamboo Kaiseki: Delicate meal sometimes eaten during a tea ceremony Kama: Iron pot used for hot water Matcha: Bitter green tea prepared in a powered form Natsume: The decorated tea jar that the green tea comes in Shokyaku: The main guest or guest of honour at the tea ceremony Tatami: The type of mat found in a tea house Teishu: The host of the tea ceremony
The Process of the Japanese Tea Ceremony:
There are different types of tea ceremonies as there are rituals needed for the different seasons. This is the simpler shozumi ceremony steps below, which includes a kaiseki meal.
Preparation is taken seriously before the tea ceremony can begin. Traditionally, the tea house and surrounded gardens would be cleaned and tidied. Invitations to guests should be sent weeks in advance. The tea room itself needs special attention. There are no chairs and tables as you are required to sit on the woven tatami floor. Traditionally the doors are also made of paper and cleaning requires that both the mats and doors be replaced. In a full tea ceremony, special guests would be consulted beforehand on what type of tea and food should be served.
The day beforehand is when the kaiseki meal is prepared. This is a traditional Japanese meal that consists of many small dishes of delicacies that typically consist of rice, vegetables and soup. These are well known for their high grade ingredients, careful preparation and presentation. Japanese sweets are usually prepared as well to contrast the bitter taste of the tea. More modern or simpler foods are prepared if newcomers are going to be present at the tea ceremony. The hot water is prepared just before the ceremony begins and is placed in the kama or iron pot.
The first step of the ceremony is the welcoming to the tea room. The host or teishu would open the paper door and would already have all the utensils placed on the tatami mats ready to begin (or would be brought in shortly after). Certain movements are very important to perform as a practiced host, such as standing in one smooth motion and bowing often during the ceremony. Once everyone is seated, the kaiseki meal is presented to the guests and eaten.
The sweets would be ritually presented to the main guest once the meal is finished. In a full service, a guest's social ranking would give them special rituals to perform during the ceremony. The main guest or shokyaku would get to accept the sweets. As the tea is about to be prepared, the main guest usually asks the host where the utensils were made and who made them.
As the tea is being prepared, this step is now the beginning of the ceremonial steps of the occasion. Traditionally this is all performed in silence. Firstly the tea bowl or chawan is picked up and put down with the tea whisk inside the bowl. Next the tea jar or natsume is moved in front of the host. A silk cloth is now folded and is wiped on the tea jar, before the jar is placed in front of the cold water. While the host is still holding the silk cloth, the chashaku or tea scoop is now picked up and cleaned. The tea scoop is then put on top of the tea jar.
Now the tea whisk or chasen is put next to the tea jar. A ladle or hishaku is held while the lid of the iron pot of warm water is opened. The ladle is used to take a scoop of hot water and pour it into the tea bowl. The ladle is then put on the iron pot while the host gently cleans the tea bowl and tea whisk using the warm water. This water is then discarded into a waste water bowl. The tea bowl is then cleaned with a hemp cloth.
The tea scoop and tea jar are then picked up. Usually one and half scoops of tea or macha are placed into the tea bowl. The ladle is then picked up again and a full cup of hot water from the kama is poured slowly into the tea bowl. Any leftover hot water is put back into the iron pot. A sign of a talented host is if the tea is made correctly as it takes years to know how much macha and hot water is needed. The tea whisk and tea bowl are now picked up as the host quickly whisks the tea powder. A pale green foam is formed and should settle to the centre of the bowl.
Now the tea is served to the guests. The host cleans the lip of the bowl once last time and presents it to the main guest. The shokyaku walks forward and drinks the tea first. They are the only guest allowed to make comments about the quality of the tea made. After they have finished, hot water is added and the bowl is cleaned. The host will then make the tea again in a similar fashion until all the guests have had a drink.
After everyone has finished, the shokyaku asks if everyone has completed their tea. The host cleans each utensil separately. The discarded water bowl is hidden as much as possible during this step. Fresh water is added to a kama equal to the amount of hot water taken during the ceremony. Most of the utensils and tea items are then carried away to the preparation area of the tea house. Finally the host will kneel next to the door and thank the guests for coming to the tea ceremony.
Fun Facts about the Tea Ceremony:
While great preparation is given to the tea utensils, the tea house itself is designed to embody harmony and mindfulness. Careful organisation of the artwork, flower arranging and even the interior decorating are all required in a proper tea house.
In a full tea service, the guest should be prepared to bring traditional items with them to the ceremony. These include a small fork to cut the sweets provided, a fan, a traditional paper napkin and a small decorated cloth. This cloth is important for the shokyaku as the way he or she places this cloth on the ground signals whether the tea given to them was satisfactory or not.
Traditional tea houses have artwork, flowers, pottery and aesthetics that change with the seasons, time of day or a particular holiday. The ceremonies done in these tea houses have a theme and this theme is shared with the guests through the calligraphy paintings and artworks on the walls. The main scroll is the main important decoration as they could be painted by Buddhist monks, professional Shodo calligraphers or tea masters. This should also be displayed through the fresh flowers and decorations inside and outside the tea house.
The reason why there are no chairs in a tea house is because the floor is a tatami floor. This floor is made from reeds, straw or rush grass and were seen as a luxury in ancient Japan. Traditional houses have tatami floors and only certain shoes should walk on its surface. The way the tatami floor is laid is important as it might bring good or bad luck into the house.
The Japanese Tea Ceremony used to be a 'men only' event. Up until the end of the Edo period (1603-1868 AD), women were not allowed to attend the tea ceremony. During this time only rich nobles such as warlords, samurai and monks could afford to drink the matcha tea.
Older tea houses have a 'half height' door. This has ties to the samurai era when the warriors had to take off their weapons and armour before entering the tea house. This was to promote equality between the guests and the belief that 'all people are equal in the way of the tea'.
Something that isn't equal is the utensils used. There is a ceremonial 'hierarchy of utensils' and is influenced with how expensive and important the item is. This influences how the host carries the utensil, what order they are brought in and out of the tea room and at what height they are carried. The tea bowl and tea container are the most treasured utensil, and are brought in first and carried carefully. The waste water bowl is the last utensil to be carried in and is only held at waist height.
There are a range of tea bowls that you can choose from if you do host a tea ceremony. There are summer bowls which are shallow to cool the tea, or winter bowls that are deeper. Different tea bowl creators like to use a certain material, thickness or colour when they make their wares. The more expensive bowls are made by hand and any imperfections are prized and put on display during the ceremony.
Due to novels and movies such as Memoirs of a Geisha, the Japanese tea ceremony has become linked with the grace and sophistication of the geisha. Tourist destinations in Kyoto are known for offering tea ceremonies with a geisha host. During the spring, geishas can be seen preparing sweets or meals for the tea ceremony. Some tea houses let you keep the plate offered to you as a souvenir.
Classes and clubs to learn and perfect the art of the tea ceremony are important if you wish to become a proper lady in Japan. There is even a certification process that celebrates the different levels of mastery of the tea ceremony. This is very important if you attend a special tea school, such as the famous Ura, Omote or Mushanokoji schools.