Private Tea Ceremony, Kyoto

Japan’s tea history goes back as far as the 9th century when records show the first-known references to what is now the country’s most popular beverage. By the 16th century, ceremonial tea drinking had become a traditional ritual across all levels of society and today it is widely recognised as being one of Japan’s Traditional Arts.

During your Kyoto private tea ceremony experience, you will get to see first-hand what makes this seemingly simple pastime such a special and important cultural act. You will be visiting the home of a ceremonial tea drinking instructor, where an assistant will translate his or her words as you are taught about the variety of teas that are cultivated and drunk in Japan and the instruments needed to prepare tea correctly, from scoops and whisks to a tea caddy and tea bowl.

Depending on the level of formality, there are one of two different processes that are traditionally followed when serving tea, with the most formal, known as a ‘chaji’ lasting as long as four hours. You will learn about every meticulously choreographed movement that forms the ritual of preparing and serving tea, which is influenced heavily by Zen Buddhism and comes with a meaning behind each important stage. Whether you continue to follow the practice once you get back home, or simply press down the button on the kettle, is entirely up to you!

Highlights

  • Visit the home of a ceremonial tea drinking instructor

  • Learn the meanings behind each stage of tea preparation

David
Travel Designer
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I love Japan for its striking contrasts of cities and national parks, and living and teaching in Tokyo was the chance to perfect my Japanese. I’ve now been a Japan travel specialist for 10 years and have explored it top to toe. My next challenge is to cycle the entire island of Shikoku, with its pilgrimage trail of 88 temples!

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