Tea Ceremony Experiences in Tokyo

The Japanese tea ceremony is a popular experience for travelers visiting Tokyo. It is a uniquely Japanese tradition that goes back centuries, with its methods shedding insight into Japanese culture and values. Traditionally, Japanese sweets (wagashi) are enjoyed with the green tea, and you’ll find many airKitchen experiences pair the two. Step back from the bustling streets of Tokyo and into a local’s home to experience a more intimate side of Japanese life.

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All About Tea Ceremony Experiences in Tokyo

The Japanese tea ceremony is a uniquely Japanese tradition that is worth experiencing if you find yourself in Tokyo. It’s the perfect way to take a step back from the sightseeing and relax, while still immersing yourself in Japanese culture. Through observing and participating in a tea ceremony, you learn a lot about Japanese customs and values. Below, you’ll find our top picks for tea ceremony experiences in Tokyo.

1. Make Sushi and Tea Ceremony

Through this airKitchen class, you can both learn how to make sushi and experience the Japanese tea ceremony. This takes place in a Japanese host’s home, allowing you to catch a rare glimpse of what ordinary life and homes look like for Tokyo locals. The host, Yukiko, speaks English and can adjust the ingredients to accommodate vegetarians. In addition, she is happy to provide and dress you in a kimono if you’d like for an additional fee. Both sushi and the tea ceremony play important roles in Japanese culture, and you can experience both in a local’s home through this airKitchen class. tokyo tea ceremony experience

2. Private Tea Ceremony experience

At here, you can experience authentic private tea ceremony in the cosy tearoom of a tea master. The host demonstrates formal matcha making procedure and serve matcha to you. You will learn about the tea ceremony, manners in the tearoom as a guest, and experience making a bowl of matcha by yourself.

3.Tea Ceremony (Matcha) & Japanese Sweets

This tea ceremony experience is housed in the host’s tea room. You’ll have the opportunity to experience the Japanese tea ceremony and enjoy wagashi that is traditionally enjoyed with the matcha together with your host. The location is close to Toyosu fish market, therefore you can enjoyToyosu fish market after or before the class.

4.Tea Ceremony Taught by Tea Master

AirKitchen host and tea master Kaori runs a small gallery and studio space, r_cafe, where she hosts Japanese tea ceremony experiences. The studio includes a traditional-style tea room. This experience includes the tea ceremony demonstration with matcha and wagashi, followed by a cooking class featuring traditional Japanese food based on the tea ritual. tokyo tea ceremony experience

5. Hand made Udon, Sushi, Tempura, and Tea ceremony

Through this airKitchen experience with host Taka, you’ll have the opportunity to experience not only Tea ceremony but also Japanese traditional meals. He stayed in Malaysia, the United States, Mexico and China for 15 years due to my business. His family wanted to give back to foreigners visiting Japan OMOTENASHI(hospitality) mind.

6. Traditional Japanese Sweets & Matcha Tea Ceremony

In this airKitchen tea ceremony experience, you’ll first learn how to make a type of wagashi called nekiri. They are made from white bean paste and mochi, and often contain anko (sweet red bean paste). Various tools are used to shape the nekiri into beautiful, artistic shapes. Your host, Nariko, will teach you how to make five nekiri designs in this class. You’ll then experience the Japanese tea ceremony and enjoy the matcha with your nekiri, as is traditional. tokyo tea ceremony experience

7. Kimono Tea Ceremony Maikoya Tokyo

Conveniently located in Shinjuku, Kimono Tea Ceremony Maikoya Tokyo is a popular venue for those seeking a Japanese tea ceremony and kimono experience. You are easily able to rent a kimono for your tea ceremony and immerse yourself in Japanese tradition. Staff speak English.
  • Map: https://g.page/MaikoyaTokyo?share
  • Access: 3 minute walk from Higashi-Shinjuku Station
  • Hours: 10:00-18:00
  • Closed: None
  • Website: https://mai-ko.com/
  • Price:
    • ¥3000/person for group ceremony (without kimono)
    • ¥9000/person for group ceremony (with kimono)
    • ¥13500/person for private ceremony (with kimono)
    • ¥6500/person for Japanese sweet making and tea ceremony (without kimono)

8. Nadeshiko Kimono and Tea Ceremony Experience

Primarily a kimono rental shop, you are also able to rent a kimono as part of your Nadeshiko Tea Ceremony Experience. Located in the historic neighborhood of Asakusa, Nadeshiko Kimono and Tea Ceremony Experience is the perfect place to retreat from the busy, tourist-packed streets and enjoy a slower-paced element of Japanese tradition. Booking in advance is recommended.

9. We-Waraku-an Tea Ceremony

We Waraku-an is a teahouse located near central Tokyo. Guests can expect a warm welcome from an expert tea master, who will delight with his tea and seasonal atmosphere. This experience is encouraged for anyone from Sado enthusiasts to beginners in the practice in a calm, relaxing practice. They even offer to pick guests up from the east exit of Komana-Todaimae Station. Reservations are required. 
  • Map: https://goo.gl/maps/j7iWga4L5Wg1m8EJ7
  • Access: a short walk from Komana-Todaimae Station.
  • Hours: 11:00-19:00
  • Website: https://teaceremonytokyo.com/
  •  Price: 
    • 5000/person, 20% extra for single person (30-90 minutes, Usucha)
    • 8000/person, 20% extra for single person (45-120 minutes, Koicha)
    • 10000/person, 20% extra for single person (90-150 minutes, Koicha and Usucha)

10. Ginza Chazen Tea Ceremony

Ginza Chazen is a teahouse that offers a unique, isolated experience far from the noise of metropolitan spaces. At Ginza Chazen, guests can take part in a tea ceremony; grind their own leaves to make maccha powder and tea; enjoy a ceremony demonstration; and enjoy traditional, seasonal Japanese sweets.  Reservations are required at least 24 hours in advance.   

11. Shizu-kokoro Tea Ceremony

This tea ceremony offers a 90 minute workshop, including a short film in English designed to teach visitors in various aspects of chado, the way of tea. Guests will then get to experience a fully hands-on experience, including time in the role of host as well as guest, in an authentic, traditional tea room. Four 90 minute classes are offered five days per week, available by reservation. 

12. Do Edo Tea Ceremony

Located in the tourist destination of Ginza Kabukiza tower, this modern, unique tea ceremony experience is a beginner’s course offered in both English and Japanese. In this take on the traditional tea ceremony, guests will learn to make, and have a chance to enjoy, their own maccha green tea. After the ceremony, guests may take home a brand-new tea kit of their own and have a chance to enjoy this wonderful, traditional experience at home as well. 

13. Happo-en

Happo-en is another take on the traditional Japanese tea ceremony. Instead of being confined to the customary tea house, guests may enjoy their green tea experience in a gorgeous Japanese garden alongside the cultivated plants. There are benches offered outside for those who would prefer to sit while partaking in Japanese culture. For those who want a more traditional experience, guests may join the house in the tea house and learn to make tea, as well as to utilize a traditional Tatami mat. Reservations are required for some ceremonies.   

14. Mochi and Traditional Sweets Making Class with Tea Ceremony

Guests to this traditional tea ceremony will have opportunities to cook several Japanese delicacies and sweets, such as three color dango, strawberry daifuku mochi, and two different designs of nerikiri wagashi. Afterwards, guests will participate in the traditional Japanese tea ceremony, guided by a certified, experienced tea master.    

15.  Two types of Wagashi and Tea

Guests of Kayo will be fully integrated into Japanese culture in this Japanese cooking and maccha class. Kayo is a mother of three who cooks traditional Japanese food to send with her children to school. She is a certified tea master. In this down-to-earth experience, guests will learn to make two types of a Japanese sweet, wagashi, wrap anko, sweet red Japanese beans, and how to create and color nerikiri. Afterwards, guests will have the opportunity to make maccha in a casual ceremony catering to those desiring a less formal experience. Ceremonies are by appointment once daily. 

16. Saitama Cooking Class

This small, intimate tea ceremony is run by Hiroko. She focuses her ceremony on the spiritual use of incense, as well as her tea ceremony. Guests will first light the incense and feel the warmth against their hands, and then enjoy the healing powers of freshly-bloomed flowers. Finally, guests will enjoy making and eating a sweet Japanese treat with their homemade maccha. Hiroko encourages visitors to focus on the five senses to ground themselves and focus on the here and the now, so as to relieve themselves of the anxiety of the future. There are two 90-minute classes run daily, available by reservation only.   

17. HiSUi Tokyo

HiSUi is a Japanese culture school that offers classes in a wide variety of Japanese arts, including the traditional Japanese tea ceremony, Kimono dressing, swordsmanship, and calligraphy. All of these art forms are deeply rooted in Japanese culture and history, and each of the classes offered at HiSUi respects and teaches each and every spiritual and aesthetic history clearly and with reverence. All classes are available by reservation only.    

18. Kanagawa Cooking class

 The instructor Ikuyo have over 40 years tea ceremony experience. She will first demonstrate how  tea ceremony going to start and after that you will make your own mattcha.  At here you can learn how deep tea ceremony is and know about Japanese culture. Compared to Kyoto, where the tradition has its roots, there are fewer teahouses and places to participate in a tea ceremony in Tokyo. However, there are still options, whether you’re seeking a highly formal or more intimate cultural experience.

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FAQ About Tea Ceremony Classes in Tokyo

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 Tokyo!

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 Tokyo

  • Maikoya Tea Ceremony - Tokyo

    Located in Shinjuku, Maikoya Tea Ceremony offers an array of tea ceremony offerings in Tokyo. You can choose between group and private classes and whether or not you want to rent a kimono as part of your experience. The tea ceremony classes are offered in English.

  • Kyoto-Kan Tea Ceremony

    The name might be confusing, but Kyoto-Kan Tea Ceremony is actually located in Tokyo in Tokyo Station. It is an information center built by Kyoto City, and offers 20-minute tea ceremonies that visitors can observe on the weekends for a small fee.

  • Happo-en Tokyo Tea Ceremony

    Happo-en is a tea house in Tokyo where you can experience the Japanese tea ceremony surrounded by a traditional Japanese garden. There are options to experience the tea ceremony both on and off tatami mats, and strolling around the garden afterwards in recommended.

  • Chazen Tea Ceremony Tokyo

    You can experience the Chazen tea ceremony in Ginza, Tokyo. It is a small tea house that offers introductory tea ceremony classes. You both observe the tea ceremony and learn how to make your own matcha in this experience.

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

Participate in the Important Japanese Ritual of Tea Ceremony

The practices and customs of the Japanese tea ceremony shed insight into Japanese history and values. Heavily influenced by Zen Buddhism, elements of the tea ceremony emphasize balance, harmony, and simplicity. From the set-up of the room, to the ingredients and utensils used, to the movements of the server – each part of the tea ceremony carries specific intent and importance, and reveal much about Japanese culture. Through participating in a Japanese tea ceremony in Tokyo, you’ll have the opportunity to experience a ritual that has been practiced in Japan since the late 16th century.

Visit a Tokyo Local’s Home and Immerse Yourself in Japanese Culture

Tea ceremonies are a popular cultural activity for tourists visiting Japan. While there are several places to enjoy tea ceremonies in Tokyo, experiencing a tea ceremony through airKitchen offers a uniquely personal cultural exchange experience. Tea ceremonies can often feel stiffy and tied up by formality due to the rigid rules that are followed, making it difficult to relax and fully enjoy the experience. In contrast, an airKitchen tea ceremony class in Tokyo takes place in a more comfortable and intimate environment: a host’s home. You’ll still learn about the steps and history of the Japanese tea ceremony, while also having the opportunity to get to know your host and experience Japanese life more closely.

Relax and Enjoy a Cup of Green Tea in Tokyo!

Green tea, or matcha, is a traditional Japanese drink that is prepared and enjoyed in the Japanese tea ceremony. It is often enjoyed paired with wagashi, Japanese traditional sweets, and you’ll find that many airKitchen Japanese tea ceremony experiences in Tokyo combine the tea ceremony with other cooking opportunities – like wagashi making! Whether you’re interested in preparing other dishes during your airKitchen class or just participating in a Japanese tea ceremony, enjoying a cup of green tea with your host is an excellent way to round out your experience in Tokyo.