Tea ceremony in Japan


There are more than 700 years in Japan regulated by the tea ceremony. Its history began in the 13th century, when the famous monk Eisai of the Rinzai school was imported to their home country traditions of the Chinese tea ceremony. All the rules were described in detail in the monumental work Tajin – the book of tea. The main difference between the Japanese tea ceremony from the Chinese is that it is not aimed only at enjoyment, and is mainly ritual.

The greatest prosperity the ritual reached in the 15th century, when the shogun Ashikaga Yoshimasa ordered to be constructed on the territory of the country Palace of Kyoto, a special open-air pavilion, where they were supposed to be tea ceremonies for aristocratic friends of the shogun. They were conducted under the guidance of a specially trained man, the master Murata JUKO. In the 16th century, all educated Japanese have adopted a new tradition and, thanks to the efforts of sen-no Rikyu, began to hold similar ceremonies in their houses.

In 1732 because of crop failure and famine tea ceremony ceased to be conducted in the homes of the aristocracy.

The Renaissance of this ancient tradition occurred in 1868 in the Meiji ISIN (the Meiji restoration), when Japanese culture became interested in foreign guests. It was then that the elements of this ritual were adopted by other countries. In the USA, Germany, France even has a special salons, where Japanese master performed the traditional tea ceremony.

How is the tea ceremony in Japan

The room for the tea ceremony in Japan

For each tea ceremony meets the master connoisseur of strict ideals of Zen and wabi Sabi – simplicity and universal sadness about the ephemerality of the living. It was chosen for a special room (often, tea tsyzu pavilion (茶室) in the courtyard of a large house), which was supposed to conform to strict parameters. For example, the floor space was about 4 tatami mats and was equal to about 9 square meters. In this small room guests entered through the low door. These inconveniences were directly related to the improvement of the condition of the spirit and abstraction from everything external.

The interior of the room also needs to be specially prepared. All the shades and textures should be soft, light colored with a greenish tinge keguro the noble tea. From materials to furniture and accessories were used mainly wood and paper, at least – of silk. The room was located and special niche tokonoma (床の間) – in this niche hang a picture or calligraphic engraving and put the flower arrangement – ikebana (生け花), all these elements corresponded to the colours and mood of the traditional tea ceremony.

Heaven and earth in the Japanese tea ceremony: the philosophy of cha-no-Yu

The tea ceremony is inseparable from the philosophy and wisdom of Zen. The beauty of simple things and phenomena – Sabi, as well as understanding the brevity of life and the infinity of the universe – wabi . The main credo of cha-no-Yu (the way of tea, art tea, 茶の湯) is not only to show the beauty and grandeur of simplicity, but also to provide a small and limited space in the pavilion as an infinite universe. Long hours of leisurely savoring of the beverage created the feeling that time has stopped forever.

The first tea masters were Zen monks, who, in the course of cooking and tasting tea could show the students visually the philosophy of zazen (座禅)– when most people renounces all earthly things and completely clears itself of all alluvial. But the Japanese aristocracy came closer the other approach is a true delight and a deep philosophical meaning they found in leisurely conversation, a friendly atmosphere of peace and serenity.


Water is poured bucket special

Now we should talk about the procedure tea. It is a real solemn performance, where every detail is important. First perform a cleansing ritual for utensils, scrubbing all the dishes expensive embroidered silk handkerchief, wash in hot water with a special whisk and a wooden ladle to pour water. Prepare tea in a metal kettle, and in a fairly concentrated form – about 150 g of leaves in 500 ml of water, which temperature not exceed 90 degrees. Boil the drink on the stand with coals from the wood of the cherry tree.

After drinking the first tea koita dense, the wizard proceeds to prepare the more refined taste of matcha, powdered green tea, powdered in a porcelain mortar and Cup. 200 ml of water put one teaspoon of powder.

The most important parameters are:

Proportions: the tea must be strong, which means that you need to cook it in a ratio to water of 1/5.

Water temperature: it must not be cool, but should not be boiling water. The ideal temperature is from 70 to 90 degrees.

For proper boiling of water, the Japanese can put in the kettle additional pieces of metal – the tea masters even give this procedure a sacred meaning.

Tea ceremony in Japan in our day

One of the streets of the city Uji

Today this beautiful and aesthetic ritual has not lost its relevance. Admiring minimalist interior and enjoying the taste of hot tea, you can turn away from problems and feel truly free.

The most complete picture of the real tea ceremony, you can get in the small town of Uji, where long since grown gyokuro tea authentic and carry out the ceremony, cha-no-Yu. Arriving in this place, should be plenty of time to stroll through one of the oldest streets in the district of the temple of the Phoenix and to visit one of the tea shops, where as a store, and holding tea ceremony.

On the island of Kyushu (九州) also have pavilions where specially trained craftsmen will prepare tea for the guest with all the rules of Tajin. You can taste autumn tea ban-cha, and fried Hoji-tan. For gourmets presents a rare variation of a traditional tea sen-cha – kaboose. Its mild flavor and divine aroma due to the special rules of selection and care: kabuse are grown under special mesh.

But in Tokyo, every second of this tour ends with a tea ceremony, though in a half-hour Express version – I have to catch the tour bus!

Interesting facts

Tea artisans could be both men and women

The tea ceremony was performed at any time of day, and even there was a division into six types: night, morning, afternoon, at sunrise, at sunset and special, held on special holidays.

In tea ceremony, they used Tawan (茶碗) is a small ceramic cups, which were produced by special technology in the furnaces of the potters Kanji. Their differences from each other, consisted only in the form – with high walls or low, as well as in color. It was considered the most beautiful bowls in white and scarlet. Also demand black cups.

Cups for the ceremony were carefully chosen – their color should be in harmony with the greenish hue of the beverage.

A glass bowl for the tea ceremony, the Japanese discovered only in the 17th century, when it was brought into the country by Portuguese and Dutch merchants.

Highly prized ceramics Sucide Saeco, which gave sets of utensils for cha-no-Yu to their patrons and patrons .

Do you like Japanese tea? Did you ever attend a tea ceremony?

This article tells the story of the tea ceremony cha-no-Yu, its philosophical sense, tradition and innovation, and that it is in our day.

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