For regular people taking tea is just heating water and putting some tea into a cup. But for Japanese people, this simply isn’t enough.
A higher reason is needed and the simple process of tea in a cup is made rather more complicated by adding ceremony, rules, and a whole procedure to the otherwise simple process.
This is what a Japanese tea ceremony is all about.
How Much Do You Really Know About Japanese Tea Ceremonies?
The first people drinking tea in Japan were Buddhist monks who had brought the tea plant in the form of seeds from China. Drinking tea at that time was a very ceremonial affair but didn’t have much to do with what you imagine a traditional Japanese tea ceremony to be like.
The custom of tea ceremonies as they are often performed today comes from the Japanese court of the 16th century. But there are many variations of tea ceremonies popularized during different times in Japanese history, so there isn’t just one way to have a tea ceremony, and there is an almost infinite number of tea ceremony schools.
There are two main different types of gatherings related to the tea ceremony, one informal, the Chakai (茶会), and one formal, the Chaji (茶事). They vary in complexity, protocol, and duration. The tea ceremonies introduced below are all Chakai type tea ceremonies.
You are lucky to live in a time where everyone can participate in a tea ceremony because it used to be a pleasure reserved only for the elites. Of course, we are not suggesting that you aren’t the elite!
In Nagoya, there are few places where you can experience a traditional tea ceremony. And it is especially difficult to find one that caters to foreigners who don’t understand Japanese. But we have combined our extensive knowledge collected over the years to present to you the best options.
A great alternative to a traditional tea ceremony is a visit to one of the many tea houses where you will be served a tea set that you can enjoy while admiring the often beautiful Japanese garden or traditional architecture. These kinds of tea sets also have the added advantage that they are very cheap and you don’t require a reservation. This makes it a great option for people who don’t want to plan too much in advance. And those who don’t fancy kneeling for an extended period of time. We can tell you from personal experience it can get painful quite quickly.
You Want to Experience an Authentic Tea Ceremony in Nagoya? Check out Your Options!
For the people who want to experience a real tea ceremony in Nagoya we recommend one of three places.
There are currently no experiences you can book privately, you can only join seasonal tea ceremony events at a couple of select locations in Nagoya.
Because we want you to have the best experience in Nagoya, we are working with a number of tea ceremony teachers on creating a tea ceremony experience in English bookable via Nagoya is not boring. Check back regularly for updates!
English Language Tea Ceremonies at a Great Price! Visit the Magical Shirotori Garden.
Shirotori Garden is a beautiful landscape garden in the south of Nagoya. It features ponds, hills, walking paths with bridges, and a wide variety of plants and flowers, a cozy café, as well as a traditional tea house.
At this tea house regular seasonal tea ceremonies are held, sometimes even in English. These events are open to anyone and reservation is not required but recommended as it can get crowded. Participation including a tea set with a Japanese sweet usually costs around 500 – 1000 yen (excluding the entry fee to the garden).
Unfortunately, information about these tea ceremonies is available on the Shirotori Garden website in Japanese only. If you would like more information about upcoming tea ceremony events at Shriotori Garden, and help to book one, please don’t hesitate to contact us via email, phone or our contact form.
Because of the coronavirus COVID-19, all current tea ceremony events at Shirotori Garden have been canceled. We will update this post with upcoming dates once things are back to normal.
Shirotori Garden (白鳥公園)
Entry Fee: 300 yen for adults; free for 14 years and under; 100 yen for seniors
Opening Hours: 9:00 – 17:00 (admission until 16:30); closed Mondays unless Monday is a national holiday
Address: 2-2-5 Atsuta Nishimachi, Atsuta Ward, Nagoya, Aichi 456-0036
Website (Japanese only) | Google Maps
A Tea Ceremony at a Shinto Shrine? Yes, at Tobe Shrine in Nagoya!
Tobe Shrine is located in the south of Nagoya. It is a beautiful neighborhood shrine.
On the 3rd Sunday each month (except January and August) the shrine is offering a tea ceremony service open to everyone. No reservation is required. Just show up and watch the tea ceremony master serve tea as only the Japanese can.
The ceremony is in Japanese only.
Because of the coronavirus COVID-19, the tea ceremony service in April has been canceled. The ceremony for May is currently under consideration.
Tea at One of the Richest Temples in Nagoya: Koshoji Temple
You can see how rich Koshoji Temple in Yagoto is as soon as you visit. The grounds are spacious and there is an outdoor escalator that leads to the graveyard!
The temple has two tea houses next to each other, and once or twice a month a tea ceremony takes place there. Some of these events require a reservation, while others don’t.
The information about these seasonal tea ceremony events can be found on the tea houses Facebook page (in Japanese only). If you would like information about upcoming events please don’t hesitate to send us an email or call us and we will be happy to find a tea ceremony for you.
Because of the coronavirus COVID-19 all upcoming tea ceremony events at Koshoji Temple are currently canceled. We will update this page as soon as they are available again.
By the way, even on the days where no tea ceremony event is held Koshoji is worth a visit. The impressive grounds invite to have a stroll and once your feet are tired drop by one of the two tea houses and have a matcha tea and confection set for just 500 yen while admiring the beautiful garden.
Beautiful Japanese Tea Houses Where You Can Enjoy Tea Sets in and Around Nagoya.
Rather than joining a tea ceremony, you might enjoy having a tea set with delicious frothy Matcha green tea and a traditional Japanese confection at one of the amazing tea houses in and around Nagoya.
Try Matcha at the Source in Nishio at the Former Konoe House.
What many people don’t know is that a large proportion of Matcha green tea is produced not far from Nagoya in Nishio city. For this reason, the city is the best place to experience some delicious Matcha green tea, straight off the plant, so to speak.
While there are countless cute cafes and shops where you can enjoy Matcha sweets and drinks, the most beautiful setting to enjoy a traditional Matcha tea set in Nishio is the Former Konoe Residence on the grounds of the former Nishio Castle.
The building features a beautiful garden and for only 400 yen you can enjoy a Matcha green tea set served with a Japanese confection.
Marvel at the Beauty of Shurakuen Park While Enjoying Tea at the Oumeian Tea House in Tokai City.
Shurakuen Park, in Tokai city, is especially popular in autumn because of its impressive display of autumn colors, but the park is worth the 15-minute train ride from Nagoya at any time of the year.
At tea house Oumeian you will also get one of the cheapest sets of green tea and sweets, at only 300 yen it’s a real bargain. The tea house is beautiful, traditional Japanese Tatami mat flooring and paper sliding doors, exactly how you would imagine an old Japanese house to look like.
Matcha Like the Rulers of Nagoya Used to Enjoy It at Tokugawa Garden.
Tokugawa Garden used to be the private garden of the ruling Tokugawa Owari clan. It is located right next to the Tokugawa Art Museum, a very educational museum showcasing the treasures of the Owari clan including swords and armor, tea ceremony utensils, Noh theater masks, and an impressive library.
The Garden is the perfect place to enjoy a stroll after a visit to the museum and if your feet grow tired to enjoy a Matcha set with seasonal Japanese sweets at the old-style cafe Sozansou next to the entrance.
A Matcha set costs 1000 yen and you definitely pay extra for the atmosphere as this cafe is just stunning.
Tea at the Yokiso Garden Is Like a Trip Back in Time.
The Yokiso Villa and garden are the former residence of a rich Nagoya family, the owners of the Matsuzakaya Department Store. You can visit both the villa and the garden (English tour guides are available).
There used to be multiple tea houses on the grounds where family friends would gather to have tea parties. Unfortunately, most were destroyed and now only one remains.
At this tea house, regular tea events are held every Sunday. Because of the style of the tea house instead of Matcha, they serve normal brewed green tea. It is an interesting experience in a beautiful setting.
Entry Fee: 300 yen for adults; 100 yen for seniors; free for junior high school students; garden is free
Opening Hours: 9:30 – 16:30; closed Mondays
Address: 2-5-17 Hoocho, Chikusa Ward, Nagoya, Aichi 464-0057
Website (Japanese only) | Google Maps
Can’t Get Enough of Matcha? Here Are Some Other Experiences Related to Green Tea.
If you really love Matcha there are some experiences we recommend that aren’t tea ceremonies, but might just be even better.
As mentioned before, Nishio is the home of Matcha and offers a multitude of experiences and cafes, shops and restaurants where you can try Matcha in all of its forms.
From Plant to Drink. Learn About the Matcha Production Process at the Aoiseicha Matcha Factory in Nishio.
To learn about the process of producing Matcha head to Nishio, where you can spend a couple of hours immersing yourself in the green powder.
Visit the green tea fields (during a visit in April and May you can even help with the harvest), tour the factory where the leaves are ground into a fine powder, and finally try the delicious Matcha in the form of tea with a Japanese confection at the stylish café.
This tour is still in development in English. Check the Nishio Tourism Website for current details or contact us.
Grind Your Own Matcha Powder at Saijoen Cafe Next to Legoland.
Saijoen is one of the producers of Matcha in Nishio. If a trip to Nishio is too far for you you can experience the production of Matcha green tea powder in Nagoya at the Maker’s Peer next to Legoland Japan.
At this café, that is all about Matcha, you can not only buy delicious Matcha sweets and drinks, you can also grind your own green tea powder by hand and whisk it into a frothy drink or compare different kinds of Matcha (because it’s not all the same).
The Matcha Making Experience costs only 500 yen, the Comparing Matcha Experience is 600 yen, and a combination ticket for both experiences is 1000 yen.
Did we make you curious about Matcha and tea ceremonies in Nagoya? Hopefully, we did.
As we always say, Nagoya is not boring. You just have to know where to go looking!
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