Chado(Tea Ceremony)

tea.imageWhat is Chado?

Chado literally means “tea way”(“cha”means “tea”,”do”means “way”). It is also refered as “the way of tea”. However, it does’t quite mean “tea ceremony”, rather just enjoying the experience of drinking and appreciating tea. At the tea ceremony, meticulous attention is paid to every detail of preparing and drinking tea, where everyone shares an intimate experience with tea. Traditional manners are followed in the serving of a special powdered tea to guests.

Tea originally came from China to Japan during the 8th century and was used as medicine. With the spread of Zen Buddhism, making tea became regarded as a way of enlightenment during the Kamakura period (1192-1333).

In the late 15th century, based on the ideals and aesthetics of Zen Buddhism, Chado evolved into a traditional cultural art similar to Kado (flower arrangement) or Noh (classical musical drama).

At the end of the 16th century, Sen no Rikyu completed Chado into simplicity, which we call “Wabi-Sabi” in Japanese. This is the original form of today’s Chado.

There are Sen no Rikyu’s Four Principals of tea ceremony:

和 ・・・ harmony with others.

敬 ・・・ respect each other.

清 ・・・ purity in mind as well as in appearance.

寂 ・・・ tranquility in mind.


Recommended Tea Ceremonies:

I have listed two excellent places where you can enjoy a traditional Japanese tea ceremony. One is located in central Tokyo while the other is located about an hour west of Shinjuku at the Edo-Tokyo Open Air Architectural Museum (one of the destinations on my Western Suburbs of Tokyo tours).

Spot1: Edo-Tokyo Open Air Architectural Museum at the Mansion of Mitsui-Family

Noriko 001

  • Location: Koganei City (5 minutes from JR Musashi-koganei station by bus)
  • Entrance Fee (Museum): 400 yen
  • Tea Ceremony Fee: free
  • Held in the Mitsui Mansion (Bokaisyo).
  • Tea Ceremony School: Sohen
  • Jan. 5, Mon. & 6, Tues. 11:00 ~ 15:00

You can also enjoy open air tea ceremony (called “Teicha” in Japanese ) held in the garden of the Mitsui Family mansion, if it is fine.


For those of you interested in discussing tea ceremony and viewing the art of making tea in more detail, a tea ceremony practice is held every third Wednesday of the month from around 13:30 to 15:00. You will be most welcome. Please contact me in advance because even though the location is inside the museum, the building for the tea ceremony may change. Also if you need an interpreter, please let me know.

Spot2:Hotel Happo-en

Happo-en tea-room

  • Location: Shirogane
  • Open: 11:00 to 16:00
  • Entrance Fee:  2,000 yen (including sweets during the tea ceremony)

You can enjoy tencha or otemae, the manner of tea ceremony.  The tea house “Muan”, literally means “dream hermitage” was built in the Meiji period(1868-1925) by a trader Mr. Heihachi Tanaka and is located in the 300 years old beautiful Japanese garden of the Hotel Happoen.  Reservation is required.  Please contact me.