Japanese Tea Ceremony

Learn to Live in the Moment at a Japanese Tea Ceremony

by Kristen Gilbert

March 06, 2017

2 minute read

Just about every culture in the world has its own special relationship with tea as well as rituals associated with preparing and enjoying it. For example, both the British and the Japanese are known the world over as tea enthusiasts, but the British tea rituals and etiquette are very different from those in Japan. The Japanese in particular are very well known for their tea ceremonies which are deeply rooted in history and full of symbolism.

History of Tea in Japan


Tea was first introduced to Japan in the 15th century after it had been brought over from China. Over the centuries, it’s become the most commonly consumed beverage in the country and is a vital part of Japanese culture. Tea is a state of mind and a way of living.

The Japanese Tea Ceremony

japanese tea

The Japanese Tea Ceremony is a choreographic ritual of preparing and serving Japanese green tea, called Matcha. Watching and participating in the tea ceremony is like being a partner in a beautiful dance with carefully executed, precisely choreographed steps. Each movement has meaning and purpose.

The ritual of the Japanese tea ceremony is based on the 4 fundamental Zen principles of harmony, respect, purity and tranquility:

  • Harmony with people and nature
  • Respect, because without it, relationships lack harmony
  • Purity, cleanses the 5 senses through the tea ceremony
  • Tranquility is the state of mind and heart that we all crave.

The heart of the ceremony lies in simplicity of spirit which brings peace to the mind. The objective of the ceremony is not just to make a cup of tea; it is a deliberate exercise in being present in the moment, focusing on one task and appreciating the simple things in life.

Of course, you do not have to be Japanese or schooled in how to perform the tea ceremony to get a sense of what we’re talking about. The next time you prepare a cup of tea, try being in the moment and paying attention to each step of the process. There’s a very good chance that you’ll find a bit of serenity just by staying present.

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