Also referred to as the Way of Tea, the Japanese tea ceremony elevates the preparation and presentation of ‘macha’, or powdered green tea, to a ceremonial activity of great cultural significance. In the tea ceremony, or chanoyu, sadō or chadō as it is called in Japanese, matcha is skillfully and elegantly prepared for guests by an expert host. Every hand movement the host makes is purposeful and graceful and is a precise and disciplined expression honed through years of training.
Becoming a master of this art requires not only mastering the ceremony itself, but also everything that surrounds it. Proficiency in other traditional art forms like calligraphy and flower arranging, as well as knowledge of relevant architecture and gardening allow a masterful host to select and decorate an appropriate location that will transport their guest outside of their reality, and into the reality of the ceremony.
The tea ceremony embodies the Japanese aesthetic of wabi-sabi, centered on the inherently transient nature of the world around us. This aesthetic is a guiding principal of the Way of Tea, and celebrates beauty in that which is imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete. A well made tea cup, old, broken and repaired is more likely to be revered than a new tea cup, for example. All utensils and equipment used to make tea, collectively called chadogu, are carefully selected to complement the ceremony, and are frequently changed to reflect the environment of a particular ceremony-a winter, versus a spring ceremony, for example. The basics utensils are:
Many of these items can become quite old and revered, and whole museums are filled with the most notable of them. In Nagoya, The Tokugawa Art Museum, and in Tokyo, The Sumitomo Art Musuem have extensive collections of tea utensils that embody the Japanese wabi-sabi esthetic.
Though the essence of the tea ceremony is meant to be one of beautiful simplicity, rather like the matcha itself, the reality is rather at odds with this concept as the tea ceremony itself is intricate and detailed experience.
Taking part in this centuries old tradition is one of the highlights of any extended stay in Japan. There are many places across Nagoya at which you can experience the beauty of the Japanese tea ceremony. Currently some of these ‘chashitsu’ (or tea houses) are running a tea drive, and by visiting at least three of them and collecting stamps on these special days you can be entered into a prize draw (Japanese website). Participating tea houses are marked below with an asterisk. Should you not be able to visit on these days, some are open all year round. Contact individual establishments for further information.
Access: Tsurumai Subway Line, Tsurumai Station
Fee: 500 JPY
Note: April 29 and June 7 is the Spring Citizen Tea Party for 700 JPY. Call 052-733-8340 for details.
Access: Meijo Subway Line Jingu-nishi Station
Note: Satsuki tea drive May 2 to 6 10:00 to 15:30 Hydrangea tea drive 15：30 June 20 to 21 10:00 to 15:30
Access: Irinaka station on the Tsuramai line is a 10 minute walk
Note: Coloration tea drive May 3 – 4 13:30 to 15:30
Access: Higashiyama subway line, Higashiyamakoen station
Note: Citizen tea drive May 5 and June 12 11:00-15:30 400JPY
Access: Takaoka station on the Hisaya odori line is 12 minutes away.
Note: Spring tea ceremony May 16-June 14 500JPY plus 200JPY entry fee.
Access: It’s a 10 minute walk to Kakuozan on the Higashiyama line.
Note: May 3, 10, 21, 24, 31 for tea drive events. 500JPY admission
Access: 600m walk from Sakura station on the Meitetsu line.
Note: May 17-June 21 for Monthly Kettle meeting, 500JPY with a reservation.
Access: 11 minute walk from Nakamurakoen station on the Higashiyama line
Note: Spring events have finished. Contact for details of summer events
Access: 5 minute walk from Higashiyama line’s Ikeshita station
Note: May 10, 23, June 30 for events. 500JPY
Access: JR Chuo Line Ohzone Station Note: 12 Minutes walk from Station
Access: Meijo Subway Line Shiyaku-sho Station
Note: Tea ceremonies are held sporadically throught the year.
Fee: 800JPY (on day), 600JPY (in advance) plus Nagoya Castle admission fee
Access: Sakuradori Subway Line Mizuho-kuyakusyo Station, 12 minutes walk
Note: Fee: about once a month on Wednesday;
Access: MEITETSU INUYAMA YUEN station
Note: 7 minutes walk from station
Fee: Adult 1000JPY; Children 600JPY
Photo: flickr.com "238/2013 tea" by rosipaw (CC BY-SA 2.0) -Modified