Tea was first introduced to the beautiful island nation of Japan one thousand two hundred years ago from China. More than eight hundred years ago, in the twelfth century, powdered green tea called “matcha” was used as a medicine, and the custom of drinking tea gradually spread. In the fifteenth century, a way of not only drinking tea but at the same time cultivating the mind in the action of preparing tea was created, and this style of tea was perfected by Rikyu in the sixteenth century. For over four hundred years chanoyu has been a part of Japanese people’s daily life, giving it a spiritual richness.
Chanoyu is the entertaining of guests with powdered green tea and, in that act a way of deepening the spiritual exchange between host and guests. This obviously begins with tasty tea. Then there is the selection of utensils which represent the essence of Japan’s arts and crafts; the tea garden which makes one think of a mountain dwelling and the atmosphere of the tea room; the delicate beauty of flowers; tea cuisine and tea sweets; the theme of the tea gathering which reflects the seasons and the almanac; the beauty of the tea procedure and behavior of the host; and lastly, the conversation and the consideration shown towards each other by the guests. Each of these elements has its own part to play, and they all come together at a tea gathering to create a unique occasion that unites the spirits of host and guests.