The “Way of Tea” is one of Japan’s best-known traditional cultural practices, and something everyone can and should experience while in Kyoto. Yes, Kyoto is where the tea ceremony was born, and remains its spiritual heart.
Whether it’s just relaxing with a bowl of matcha (powdered green tea) and a Japanese sweet, as you can easily do in numerous temples while admiring their garden, watching a tea ceremony by gorgeous Maiko and Geiko (the way the geisha are called in Kyoto), or taking part in a traditional tea ceremony, Kyoto has it all.
Chado or sado, as the ceremony is known, was ritualized around the 16th century. At the time, the practice was an opportunity to show incredible utensils and wares featured in luxurious and sophisticated tea ceremonies. But under the influence of the tea master Sen no Rikyu (1522-1591), it became a more simple and plain affair, and is one of the starting element of the Japanese aesthetic commonly known as “wabi-sabi”.
A tea ceremony is a kind of relaxing spiritual experience. While the rules, details, and forms are precise (according to one of the three main schools), the spirit and the enjoyment are what we really look for when trying it. Language can be an issue as explanation and description will help the understanding and appreciation of the ceremony. We enjoyed our experience at Camellia, and highly recommend the place.
Camellia is conveniently located right off of Ninen-zaka, one of Kyoto’s most important tourist street (between the Kiyomizu-dera Temple and the Maruyama Park/Yasaka Shrine). The ceremony is taken care of by a fully bilingual lady, in a quiet room. You’ll find more information on their website: Camellia
- Opening hours: 10:00-18:00 (open daily)
- Tea ceremony sessions: from 10:00 to 17:00, and takes 45 minutes
- Price: Adults – 2,000 yen. Children – 1,000 yen
- Telephone: 075-525-3238
- Website: Camellia
- Address: Camellia, 349 Masuya-cho, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto City