KCP Students Attend a Traditional Japanese Tea Ceremony

The Chashitsu of the Way of the Tea

Also known as the Way of the Tea, the chanoyu (茶の湯) in Japanese culture. The manner in which the event is performed is called otemae.  The tea ceremony is highly influenced by the principles of Zen Buddhism.

Spring 2018 students experience “Way of the Tea”.

Tea gatherings are classified as chaji (茶事) or chakai (茶会). A chakai is a simple hospitality event that includes thin tea, confections, and a light meal. A chaji is a formal gathering that includes a full course kaiseki meal followed by confections, thick tea, and then thin tea. A chaji ceremonial gathering lasts for at least four hours.

chashitsu is a room specially built for tea ceremonies. It has a waiting area, tatami floors, a low ceiling, shoji (screens), an alcove for scrolls, a hearth built into the floor, and several entrances for guests and host.

KCP chashitsu

 A tea room can be as small as 1.75 tatami mats (one full tatami mat for the guests plus a tatami mat called a daime (台目), approximately 3/4 the length of a full tatami mat) to as large as 10 tatami mats or more. But the ideal size for a modern chashitsu is 4.5 mats.

The term chashitsu came into use after the Edo period, about 1600. Earlier than the 1600’s, various names were used for spaces used for tea ceremonies.  Moriya Takeshi, a Japanese historian sites that the ideal of  wabi-style tea ceremony can be traced to the urban society of the Muromachi period (1336 to 1573). Townspeople would build tea houses in their residences in rooms built in the shoin-zukuri architectural style much like the tea rooms of today.

The tea room usually has a low ceiling and no furniture, The guest and host sit seiza-style, a term for one of the traditional formal ways of sitting in Japan), on the floor.

Chashitsu at KCP.

Windows are small and covered with shoji, (window or room divider consisting of translucent paper over a frame of wood), which allows natural light to illuminate the room. The window is not intended to provide a view to the outside which could distract the participant’ concentration from the ceremony. The KCP campus has its very own chashitsu.