In Japan tea drinking is the foundation of the daily routine.
The ritual is inseparable from a person’s search for harmony and serenity – both of which are fundamental keys to Japanese culture.
The act of drinking tea transcends lifestyle and is more of a philosophical practice.
Chanoyu is a traditional Japanese tea ceremony and translates literally to mean “hot water for tea”.
Chanoyu was developed in the 16th Century by Sen No Rikyū, following the practices of Zen Buddhism.
Chanoyu generally takes place in a simple, yet decorative, tea room or pavillion, usually in a quiet corner of the garden.
A maximum of five people attend a Chanoyu and it goes a bit like this:
Things kick off with a light meal known as “kaiseki” and then begins the central part of the ceremony, “goza iri”.
This involves serving a thick tea, known as “koicha” and then a light tea, known as “usucha”.
This takes about one hour but some Chanoyu ceremonies can last up to four hours.
Throughout the ceremony various blessings and gestures are done to honour tea, life and respect for all things.
The host spoons matcha powder into a bowl, adds hot water, and whisks until frothy.
It is first offered to the guest of honour, who sips and then wipes the area where their lips have touched the cup.
It is then offered to other guests and then finally to the host.
Not only has tea and tea ceremony influenced the art and architecture of Japan but it also explains a lot about Japanese culture.