Chado / Chanoyu

Chanoju or chado (also sado) or ocha is the name of a tea ceremony, also tea ceremony. Indeed, the term chanoju itself could be translated as “hot water for tea”. It is a procedure of a ritual character, which has fixed rules.

Both Chinese and Japanese tea ceremonies can be referred to by this term, but the Japanese one is more widely known.

History of tea worship

The history of the tea ritual is very long in Japan. There is also a strong tradition of tea drinking as such. Today’s sources suggest that this may have happened as early as the reign of Prince Shotoku, who ruled between 572 and 622.

Younger origins

The chanoju ritual itself is somewhat younger. According to current sources, it was brought to Japan from China by Buddhist monks in the 12th century. Four centuries later, the tradition was developed.

The ritual must have a dedicated space, the tea house where it takes place is called a sukiya. Although the ceremony has a fairly strict order, it is also very elegant.

It is Japanese artists, scholars and samurai who have perfected it.
The basic utensils that should be part of this ceremony are a tea bowl (chawan), a ceramic or glazed tea box (chaire), a bamboo whisk for whisking tea (chasen) and a strangely shaped bamboo spoon (chashaku). Appropriate decorations and clothing are also an obvious part of the tea ritual.

During the chanoyu, matcha tea is served with traditional biscuits. These act as a flavour balance to the original bitter tea.

How long does the ceremony take

Due to the sophistication of the ancient tradition, ours must expect an unusual length.

On average, the entire ceremony takes about 4 hours. During these hours, thick green koicha tea is prepared. In Japan, if a thin usucha tea is prepared, the chado is shorter, lasting about an hour and a half. Every movement and every object in it has a precise role.

Although the tea ritual was originally intended mainly for wealthy samurai and lords, it has become noticeably democratised over time.

Nowadays, it is also open to women and children.

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