Japanese Tea Ceremony with a Tea Master

Enjoy a traditional tea ceremony and learn the sophisticated philosophy behind serving a bowl of tea. You’ll have three options for this experience: a 1-hour tea ceremony in a machiya (traditional wooden building); a 2-hour tea ceremony and kimono-wearing lesson; or a 2.5-hour tea ceremony at the private home of a professional tea master. You’ll have a local guide with you to translate any questions you may have as you experience this fascinating aspect of Japanese culture.

Depart from your Kyoto hotel or the Daimaru department store by subway or city bus to meet your tea instructor at your selected location. For the tea ceremony, you will learn the proper way to sit, and observe how the instructor prepares the tea using matcha—a powdered green tea that dates back to the Tang Dynasty in China. In the 12th century, the monk Eisai brought the powdered tea to Japan.

When the tea is ready, you’ll sip the delicious brew and savor the traditional Japanese sweet that accompanies it. You can even try your hand at preparing the tea with the help of your instructor. Enjoy this quintessential part of Japanese culture that has been described as a formal social gathering, a meditative practice and a performance art.

1-Hour Tea Ceremony
If you choose to participate in the tea ceremony at the machiya, you will be shown into a tearoom. The tea master will explain the tea ceremony to you and show you the proper way to sit, and then you will go through the ceremony together.

2-Hour Tea Ceremony with Kimono
Learn to dress in the kimono before you begin your tea ceremony at the machiya. Donning a kimono correctly can be a tricky business, but your teacher will be there to help you!

Tea Ceremony at the Home of a Tea Master
If you have chosen the option at the private home of a professional tea master, your guide meets you in the lobby of your hotel to take public transport with you to the private home of the tea master. Along the way, your guide shares Kyoto’s history and the importance of the tea ceremony in Japanese culture.

When you arrive at the home of your instructor, the tea master, you’ll be welcomed in and have time for introductions before you enter the room designated for the tea ceremony. As the instructor explains the history of tea and shows you the utensils used in the ceremony, your guide will translate any questions that you may have. Then your tea master will begin the ceremony—a choreographed art that requires years of study to master.

After the tea ceremony in the private home, you will have time to relax and chat with your instructor and guide, asking any further questions. When you have finished, your guide will return you to your Kyoto hotel via the subway or city bus.

Click on "View Additional Info" for Machiya house location.

  • Tea tasting and snacks
  • Professional English-speaking guide/interpreter
  • Food and drinks, unless specified
  • Gratuities (optional)
  • Travel costs outside the route between a hotel in Kyoto city and the instructor's house
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