The Way of Tea is a two part blog series on the Japanese tea ceremony.
|Fig 1. A waiting bench for guests|
Entering the tearoom
|Fig 2. Japanese tea equipment|
Before entering the tearoom, guests take off their shoes and enter through a small door, known as a nijiri-guchi. When in the tearoom, guests view the tea tools and equipment, and are seated in order of prestige. When all guests are seated, the door is closed loudly. The noise summons the host, who welcomes each guest and answers any questions they may have about the ceremony or the equipment.
|Fig 3. Traditional Japanese tea room|
A charcoal fire is set up in the hearth, and guests are served a meal of many courses accompanied with sake. After this meal, guests eat a ‘wagashi’ sweet. Following this, there is an intermission called ‘nakadachi’, in which the guests return to the waiting room. Whilst they wait, the host cleans the tea room, sets a flower arrangement, and opens the shutters within the room,
Drinking the tea
|Fig 4. Japanese tea equipment|
A bell or gong is sounded, which summons the guests to return to the tearoom. The host will ritually cleanse each of the utensils and arrange them in a specific manner. The host will then prepare the tea and bow to the first guest, who will return the movement. The guest will then bow to the next guest, and take a small tip of tea. The guest will compliment the quality of the tea, wipe the rim, and pass the bowl on. Each guest will repeat these motions until all have drunk tea, the equipment is cleaned, and the host will leave the tearoom.
After the tea
|Fig 5. Matcha tea|
We hope you’ve enjoyed this sneak peek into the beautiful chanoyu ceremony. Have you ever been to a traditional Japanese tea ceremony? We’d love to hear about it in the comments.