Although tea drinking is popular worldwide, only in Japan has tea been so influential in the development of art and culture.
Initially when the custom of drinking tea was introduced to Japan from China in the 12th century, people simply enjoyed its medicinal value. But over time the connoisseurship of art, the creation of procedures for preparing tea, and the development of a separate tea space served to form the basis of the art of chanoyu. Ideas that shaped chanoyu, especially the monastic life of the Zen Buddhist temple and the aesthetic of wabi that favored quiet refinement and simplicity, defined the behavior of tea participants and gave rise to the physical form of chanoyu. This style of tea came to be known as wabi-cha.
Today chanoyu is regarded as a traditional culture, but in the 16th century it was quite novel and even revolutionary. New forms of architecture, gardens, ceramics, textiles, and other crafts were specially created for chanoyu, attesting to the originality of early tea masters.
Chanoyu has been transmitted since the 17th century by the descendants of early tea masters and their disciples, but within these family traditions new utensils, tea procedures, and ways of thinking about chanoyu have evolved to the present day.
We invite you to take part in a cultural journey that arose in East Asia more than eight hundred years ago and is now enjoyed in countries throughout the world.