Event Planning Idea: Tea Ceremony
Event Planning Idea: Tea CeremonyEvent Planning Idea: Tea Ceremony

Event Planning Idea: Tea Ceremony

Many event planners are trying to wow clients with the latest tech, but to standout from the pack why not look to the past? A ritual Japanese tea ceremony could bring elegance and variety to your next event, and help you get more clients looking for something out of the ordinary.


The tea ceremony as it is known today emerged in the sixteenth century. It was an elite artistic pursuit that provided a forum for the rulers of Japan, the warrior elite, and wealthy merchants to forge and reinforce social ties (which your guests can do at your next tea ceremony).

The ceremony is called sado or chanoyu 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.


Any room or space where the needed implements for tea preparation can be set and where the host can make tea in front of their seated guests may be used. An outdoor, picnic-style gathering is known as nodate. A 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.

The Ceremony

The Japanese tea ceremony varies from one school of thought to another, as well as with the time of day, season, venue, and other important factors. Guests usually arrive earlier than the appointed time and enter the waiting room, where they store coats and put on tabi (traditional Japanese socks).

The guests then proceed to a stone basin where they wash their hands and rinse their mouths with water, continuing to the tea house. They then sit on the tatami in order of status. When everyone is seated, the host is alerted through a sound created by the closing of the door.

The chaji starts with the laying of a charcoal fire to heat the water. Guests are then served each course of food, followed by a sweet edible paper called kaishi. After the meal, guests take a break in the waiting area. When they are summoned back, they perform the cleansing ritual again and sit in their original positions.

The host performs the ritual of cleansing the utensils in front of the guests. The host exchanges bows with each guest receiving tea. The guest rotates the bowl (to avoid drinking from the front), takes a sip, and compliments the host. After a few sips, the guest then wipes clean the bowl’s rim and passes it to the next guest.

After everyone has taken their sip from the bowl, the host adds more charcoal to the fire and brings more confections and a smoking set to the tea room. The host prepares an individual bowl for each guest. After all the guests finish their tea, the host cleans the chadogu and at the same time allows guests to take a look at them. Items are treated with extreme care, as they may be priceless, irreplaceable antiques.

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