Experience Tea Ceremony (1,000yen)
one to 20 people/Time required about 40 minutes
(Contents) *History of Tea ceremony
*How to make tea
*How to drink tea /How to bow
*Explanation of the tea ceremony
The Way to Drink Tea
- Enter the tea room
- Look at the scroll and flowers and vase in the alcove.
- Go to the section which has a red, felt rug spread (be careful where you sit).
- Take some kaishi (type of paper/napkins used for various things) and a toothpick and pass them around.
- You will be served confections, bow and receive them.
- Just before you take the confectionery, bow to the person seated on your left, and say “O-saki ni” (roughly: Excuse me for going first).
- As a way of expressing thanks, take the tray (or other receptacle) with the confections and lift it slightly while bowing, then set it down.
- Take the confections. First pick up the chopsticks with the right hand (palm faced down), then hold the middle of the chopsticks with the left hand (palm faced up) and with the right hand grip the chopsticks as you would when you use them to eat.
- Place your left hand on the side of the receptacle, and then take a confection with the chopsticks in your right hand, and place it on the kaishi.
- Reposition the hand holding the chopsticks so that it is once again palm faced down, and then wipe the tips on the corner of the kaishi.
- Place chopsticks back on the receptacle, and then with both hands, pass the receptacle to the next person on your left.
- Cut the confection and eat it.
- Neatly fold the kaishi and toothpick and put them in your pocket.
- Tea will be served to you, bow when you receive it.
- Place the tea bowl between you, and the person to your left, then bow and say “O-saki ni”.
- Place the tea bowl in front of your knees and while bowing, say to the tea maker: “O-temae chōdai itashimasu” (a way of asking to drink the tea).
- Pick up the tea bowl with your right hand and place it on your left hand, then proceed to drink it.
- To avoid drinking directly from the front of the tea bowl (there is usually some pattern or picture on the front side), turn the bowl so that you can drink either from the right or left side.
- Drink the tea in several sips, rather than in one big gulp.
- Drink it to the last drop. It is okay to make a slight sipping noise when drinking the last bit.
- Return the tea bowl so that the front side is facing you again, and put it outside the border of the tatami mat you are sitting on. Then examine the bowl itself.
- Pick up the bowl with the right hand and then place both elbows on your knees and, bending forward, examine the finer points of the bowl while holding it with both hands.
- Once again, place it on the tatami mat and examine the bowl.
- Making sure the front side of the tea bowl faces you, return it.
The Way to Drink Tea for the Jikyaku*
- Tea will be served to you, bow when you receive it.
- Place the tea bowl between yourself and the person seated to your right, then bow slightly and say “mō ippuku ikaga deshō ka” (a largely ceremonial invitation to have another cup of tea…this is refused 99% of the time, thus you are able to drink the tea.)
- Place the tea bowl between yourself and the person seated to your left, then bow slightly and say “O-saki ni”.
- Place the tea bowl in front of your knees, bow and say to the tea maker “o-temae chōdai itashimasu”.
*Note: This is the way to drink tea for all except the person seated farthest right (first person), and farthest left (last person). Jikyaku means “second guest”.
“Ichi-go ichi-e” (one instance, one encounter) is the predominant idea behind tea ceremony. In application to tea ceremony it means that any given session in which the ceremony is performed and all the elements which give that particular session its ambience will never combine to produce exactly the same conditions again. Indeed, the participants may never meet again. Therefore, one should strive to consider the feelings of others, and make certain the experience is a wondrous one for all involved.
Rikyū’s Seven Ground Rules for Tea Ceremony
- Try to make the tea so that it tastes good to the drinker.
- Place the charcoal in the best positions so that the water will boil.
- Keeping the “one branch, one blossom” principle in mind—regarding flower arrangement for tea ceremony—try to incorporate the natural beauty of life in one’s arrangements.
- The setting should fit the seasons.
- Be punctual, but not rushed.
- Do not be lazy or negligent.
- All participants should have respect for one another, be considerate, and try to understand one another.
From the latter half of the 8th century evoys or monks on foreign exchange to China brought tea to Japan. It was used as medicine. In the 13th century a monk named Eisai brought back seeds, a complete tea set, and taught how to prepare tea. This was then taught to the nobles, who in turn taught the warriors. In the 14th century, tea tasting contests (to determine the tea’s place of production) became popular. From the mid to late 16th century, Rikyū Sen refined the tea ceremony. However in 1591, incurring the wrath of Hideyoshi Toyotomi, he was ordered to commit suicide. Aizu lord Ujisato Gamō provided sanctuary for Rikyū’s son Shōan, who subsequently built Rinkaku within the castle grounds of Tsuruga-jō.
Types of Tea*
Unfermented teas—ryokucha (green tea), hōji-cha, gyokuro, bancha, matcha.
Semi-fermented teas—ūloong tea
Fermented teas—black tea
* The processes in which teas are made (rather than types of tea leaves) determines their classification into the above categories.
-Tea made from leaves which have been roasted until they are dark reddish brown classifies as hōji-cha.
-Tea made from buds which have been covered with a veil during their growth classify as gyokucha.
-Tea made from leaves harvested after summer classifies as bancha.
-Tea made from leaves which have been steamed, dried, then ground classifies as matcha.
Types of Tea Gatherings
- A formal tea gathering at which kaiseki* dishes are served.
- Informal gatherings where tenshin cooking* is served with tea.
- Large gatherings to which many people are invited.
*Kaiseki dishes are specific types of foods served in a specific order. For tea ceremony they are usually comprised of rice, pickles, one soup dish and three vegetable dishes (which may include fish). Tenshin cooking is a simplified version of kaisek