If you’re seeking an intimate cultural experience, consider an airKitchen tea ceremony experience in Osaka. Your Japanese host will guide you through this special Japanese ritual in the comfort of their home, giving you a unique encounter with ordinary Japanese life. In addition, you can learn how to make your own wagashi, which are Japanese confections traditionally enjoyed in a tea ceremony, as part of your airKitchen experience in Osaka.
Our tea ceremony experience with Eiko-San was a great one. Very friendly and cheerful local Japanese lady.
First, Sae looked very charming in her purple kimono. It's really hard to get the wagashi shapes right, but she was super patient with us and they all turned out fine. Also, the green tea that she served was such a good one, even my friend who isn't a big fan of matcha liked it. Will definitely r...
Wonderful Tea Ceremony with Terumi at her home. We made traditional Japanese sweets followed by the tea ceremony held in a traditional Japanese room. Terumi explained the history and the steps involved in the tea ceremony . We thoroughly enjoyed this must do Japanese experience. Thanks Terumi for...
Thanks again Terumi! It was a great experience and insight in Japanese culture and philosophy.
Terumi is a warm host and clear with her instructions. Communication leading up to the class was also easy and prompt. It was a fun and lovely afternoon learning about new cultures :)
Popular cheap tea ceremony classes in Osaka include Tea Ceremony Experience (Urasenke).
Japanese Sweet Making & Tea Ceremony is popular with other travelers visiting Osaka.
All tea ceremony classes in Osaka on airKitchen are offered in English.
On average tea ceremony classes in Osaka cost ¥4300 per person (based on airKitchen prices).
Please note that this is an example, and classes vary by host.
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.
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).
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).
Traditional Japanese confections, wagashi, are often eaten before the green tea is enjoyed. Their sweetness offsets the bitterness of the matcha.
The bowl is passed around among guests until everyone has drank and tasted the tea.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
The chawan is the tea bowl that is used to prepare and drink the tea.
One of the most memorable and important tools used in the tea ceremony is the chasen, or tea whisk, made of bamboo.
This is a ladle, traditionally made of bamboo, that is used to scoop the matcha into the tea bowl.
The chakin is a cloth used to wipe and keep the tea bowl clean during the ceremony.
The natsume is the container that contains the green tea powder.
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.
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.
Japanese city life can be busy and stressful, especially as a traveler trying to make the most of your experience. An airKitchen tea ceremony class in Osaka is the perfect way to take a step back from the sightseeing and relax, while still fully engaging in a uniquely Japanese cultural experience. Matcha is a traditional Japanese drink, and there are few better ways to enjoy it than with a local, in their home, through a Japanese tea ceremony. It goes especially well with wagashi, traditional Japanese sweets, which is why you’ll find many airKitchen cooking classes pair the two.