Tea Ceremony Experiences in Kyoto

Kyoto is the home of the Japanese tea ceremony, with the Uji region of Kyoto Prefecture being famous for its high-quality matcha. During your stay in the cultural capital of Japan, learn about and participate in the art of the Japanese tea ceremony. Through airKitchen, you can additionally learn how to make traditional dishes, like sushi and wagash, as part of your tea ceremony experience with your Japanese host.


20 Tea Ceremony Classes

1


All Cooking Classes in Kyoto


Reviews of Kyoto Cooking Classes

★★★★★ 4.99
Based on 1730 reviews by airKitchen users



FAQ About Tea Ceremony Classes in Kyoto

  • How much does it cost to join a tea ceremony class in Kyoto?

    On average tea ceremony classes in Kyoto cost ¥4735 per person (based on airKitchen prices).

  • Which tea ceremony classes are offered in English in Kyoto?

    All tea ceremony classes in Kyoto on airKitchen are offered in English.

  • Which tea ceremony class is popular in Kyoto?

    Enjoy making Sushi, miso soup & Matcha(Tea ceremony)! is popular with other travelers visiting Kyoto.

  • What is the best cheap tea ceremony class in Kyoto?

    Popular cheap tea ceremony classes in Kyoto include Prepare Japanese local food and tea ceremony in lovely Arashiyama!.

What Does a Tea Ceremony Experience Look Like?

Please note that this is an example, and classes vary by host.

Tea Ceremony Experience

  • Prepare the setting of the tea ceremony

    The setting of the tea ceremony is important, meant to encourage peace and reflection among participants. At its most formal, there are very specific rules of the room set-up and surrounding environment.

  • Clean the tea ceremony tools

    In a tea ceremony, the host will gracefully clean the tools in front of guests. These tools include the tea whisk (chasen), tea scoop (chashaku), and tea bowl (chawan).

  • Mix the matcha

    Matcha powder and hot water are whisked together in the tea bowl until frothy. The powder-water ratio depends on whether you’re preparing thick tea (koicha) or thin tea (usucha).

  • Serve wagashi

    Traditional Japanese confections, wagashi, are often eaten before the green tea is enjoyed. Their sweetness offsets the bitterness of the matcha.

  • Enjoy the green tea

    The bowl is passed around among guests until everyone has drank and tasted the tea.

Let's Learn About Tea Ceremony Before Joining a Tea Ceremony Experience in Kyoto!

Tea Ceremony Basics

  • What is the purpose of the tea ceremony?

    The tea ceremony is about much more than just enjoying tea. It is a spiritual practice, intended to offer a sense of peace and harmony beyond our busy daily lives. It is guided by the uniquely Japanese concept of “wabi-sabi”, which celebrates the simplicity and perfection of imperfection.

  • What is the history of the tea ceremony?

    Tea was first introduced in Japan from China in the 9th century. Though tea was initially prepared using tea leaves, powdered green tea (matcha) was introduced at the end of the 12th century. While at first the tea ceremony was a religious practice performed by Buddhist monks, it became a symbol of upper Japanese society. Over time, the tea ceremony spread from the court and samurai classes to the common people.

  • How is the tea ceremony related to Zen Buddhism?

    The Japanese tea ceremony is heavily influenced by Zen Buddhism. Japanese Buddhist monks were the first to introduce tea from China, and later the method of brewing tea from powdered matcha. Zen Buddhist monks saw an opportunity to practice mindfulness during the preparation and consumption of tea, shaping the tea ceremony into a spiritual practice. Wabi-cha is a Japanese tea ceremony style specifically related to Zen Buddhist principles, focused on simplicity and mindfulness.

  • What happens during the tea ceremony?

    During the tea ceremony, powdered green tea (matcha) is prepared by the host for guests following specific techniques and etiquette. Traditional Japanese confections, wagashi, are usually served alongside the bitter tea. Longer tea ceremonies include a kaiseki meal and the brewing of two types of green tea.

  • How long is the tea ceremony?

    The length of the tea ceremony can vary, depending on the type and degree of formality. A chaji, the most formal tea ceremony, can last up to four hours – it often includes a full-course kaiseki meal. On the other hand, a chaikai is generally less rigorous and can take as little as 45 minutes to an hour.

  • What is the etiquette of the tea ceremony?

    The tea ceremony is meant to bring about feelings of peace and serenity, thus it’s important to be respectful of your host, other guests, and the tearoom throughout the ritual. Wear conservative clothes, remove your shoes before entering the tearoom, let your host seat you, and eat and drink everything served to you. Your host will guide you through the ritual, so don’t worry too much! Just be genuine and sincere.

  • What clothes are worn during the tea ceremony?

    Traditionally, simple kimonos are worn during the tea ceremony. Flashy designs are avoided in consistency with the concept of “wabi-sabi” described above. Men wear hakama, another form of traditional Japanese attire. If you are wearing Western clothing to a tea ceremony, it’s best to keep it conservative and not too casual.

  • How is the Japanese tea ceremony related to weddings?

    Sometimes, tea ceremonies are performed as part of a traditional Japanese wedding celebration. They are often small, seated ceremonies shared among family members. Oaths are exchanged and tea is enjoyed in a peaceful atmosphere.

  • How is the tea ceremony related to geisha?

    Traditionally, geisha performed the tea ceremony as part of the five-year apprenticeship – a maiko is an apprentice geisha. They often lead public tea ceremonies on special occasions, especially during cherry blossom season under sakura trees.

  • How is the tea ceremony related to samurai?

    Historically, the tea ceremony was reserved for the Japanese elite – the court and samurai classes. The samurai were a powerful class at the top of the social hierarchy, and thus historically had the leisure and luxury for the tea ceremony. It wasn’t until later that the ritual trickled down and became a part of common Japanese society.

Japanese Tea Ceremony Schools (Sansenke)

  • Urasenke tea ceremony school

    The Urasenke school is the largest of the three tea ceremony schools founded by the descendants of Sen no Rikyu, a 16th-century tea master. This school was built by Sen Sotan, Rikyu’s grandson, and prioritizes guest enjoyment of the tea ceremony. Therefore, the Urasenke school is more open to allowing guests to sit on stools for their comfort verus on the floor, as is traditional.

  • Omotesenke tea ceremony school

    The Omotesenke school focuses on simplicity, adopting simple tea utensils and procedures. The tea is whisked less than the Urasenke school, making it less frothy. In addition, a whisk made from smoked bamboo (susudake) is used as opposed to an untreated bamboo whisk used by the Urasenke school.

  • Mushanokojisenke tea ceremony school

    The smallest of the three schools is the Mushanokojisenke school, or Mushakojisenke school, founded by Sen no Rikyu’s great-grandson Ichio Soushu. Like the Omotesenke school, the tea is not as foamy. There are other subtle differences between the three schools when it comes to the movements, seating style, and attire of the tea ceremony.

Types of Tea Ceremonies

  • Chaji Tea Ceremony

    The chaji is the most formal version of the Japanese tea ceremony, lasting up to four hours. It typically includes an extravagant kaiseki meal and the enjoyment of traditional Japanese confections before both thick and thin green tea is served.

  • Chaikai Tea Ceremony

    Though still guided by strict etiquette and guidelines, the chaikai is more informal tea ceremony gathering. Wagashi (traditional Japanese sweets) are still typically enjoyed along with thin matcha tea.

Types of Tea Prepared in a Tea Ceremony

  • Koicha (Thick Green Tea)

    Koicha is a thick green tea that uses three times the amount of matcha as usucha. After being whisked, it is served to guests in a single bowl.

  • Usucha (Thin Green Tea)

    Usucha tea is a thinner and frotheir green tea, prepared using a higher water to matcha ratio. Traditionally, it is served in separate bowls to participants in the tea ceremony following the koicha.

Tea Ceremony Tools

  • Chawan (Tea Bowl)

    The chawan is the tea bowl that is used to prepare and drink the tea.

  • Chasen (Tea Whisk)

    One of the most memorable and important tools used in the tea ceremony is the chasen, or tea whisk, made of bamboo.

  • Chashaku (Tea Ladle)

    This is a ladle, traditionally made of bamboo, that is used to scoop the matcha into the tea bowl.

  • Chakin (Tea Cloth)

    The chakin is a cloth used to wipe and keep the tea bowl clean during the ceremony.

  • Natsume (Tea Container)

    The natsume is the container that contains the green tea powder.

Other Popular Tea Ceremony Experiences in Kyoto

  • Maikoya Tea Ceremony - Kyoto

    You can rent a kimono as a part of your Kyoto tea ceremony experience with Maikoya Tea Ceremony. There are a few different packages at varying prices. You can decide whether or not you want to wear a kimono, have a private instead of a group ceremony, and enjoy wagashi as part of your experience

  • Camellia Tea Ceremony

    There are two Camellia Tea Ceremony tea houses, one on the east side and the other on the west side of Kyoto. You can book both group and private tea ceremony classes, as well as rent a kimono with them.

  • Tea Ceremony Kyoto Koto

    At Tea Ceremony Koto in Kyoto, you can watch and experience the Japanese tea ceremony. There are kimono rentals available, and you can also learn Ikebana – the traditional Japanese art of flower arrangement – here.

  • Tea Ceremony Kyoto Ju-An

    Tea Ceremony Ju-An is one of the oldest places to experience the Japanese tea ceremony in Kyoto. It is located inside Jotokuji Temple. Like the other options, you can rent a kimono and book either a group or private ceremony at Ju-An.

You Can Join Tea Ceremony Classes Not Just in Kyoto


Why Taking a Tea Ceremony Class in Kyoto is a Must-Do

Immerse Yourself in the Japanese Tradition of Tea Ceremony

As a city steeped in tradition, Kyoto is a popular place to experience the Japanese tea ceremony. The tea ceremony has its roots in Kyoto, and today it is home to the three main schools of the Japanese tea ceremony. Each part and process of the tea ceremony carries strong intention and cultural significance – the layout of the room, the tea used, the sequence of steps, the movements of the server, and so on. Learning about the components of this ritual helps travelers understand Japanese values of harmony, austerity, and grace while participating in a uniquely Japanese tradition.

Learn Directly From a Kyoto Local in Their Home

With Kyoto being the home to the Japanese tea ceremony, there are many options to choose from for those interested in experiencing this traditional ritual in Japan’s cultural capital. However, what makes the airKitchen tea ceremony experience unique is that it takes place in the home of a local Japanese host. This enables participants to not only experience and learn about the tea ceremony, but to also catch a glimpse of what an ordinary home and life looks like for Kyoto’s locals.

Enjoy a Cup of Japan’s Best Matcha in Kyoto!

Located in Kyoto Prefecture and neighboring Kyoto City is the city of Uji, which is famous for its green tea that has historically supplied the tea ceremonies of Kyoto. Enjoy the famous Uji matcha through an airKitchen tea ceremony class in Kyoto. You’ll find many of the classes pair the tea ceremony with other cooking courses, especially for wagashi (Japanese desserts), since customarily the tea ceremony includes the enjoyment of these traditional sweets. It is tough to compete with the taste of Uji green tea prepared in the Japanese tea ceremony, so don’t miss out during your stay in Kyoto!




Media
timeout
lonely-planet
sumikai
japantoday