Discover the mysteries of the tea ceremony
In the late 1500s, a major craze swept the Japanese islands. Matcha tea was all the rage among samurai warriors, high level nobles, and lovers of a more refined existence. A new artform was coming into being in the form of the fabled Japanese tea ceremony. As the art of tea was codified and refined, it splintered into a number of schools that each offered their own version of the ceremony. There is no one "true" or "correct" ceremony that takes precedence over the others, but there is one special school of tea that KyoTours Japan wants to share with our guests...
The world Japanese tea is often misunderstood by foreign visitors. Why is the ceremony performed? Who is allowed to participate? What does it mean to be a guest invited by a host? How does one school of tea compare to others? KyoTours Japan is partnering with a special establishment of the warrior-style Enshu school to demystify the tea ceremony for you. Kyugetsu is a tea house run by a set of unique tea practitioners that will be your guides into the world of Japanese tea.
Tyas Sosen is the first Belgian practitioner of tea to reach the coveted position of fully accredited Japanese tea instructor. The fact that he chose to study the warrior-style ceremony makes his knowledge and expertise even that much more special. As a foreigner, Tyas is in a unique position to introduce overseas guests to the world of tea in fluent English and in a friendly, approachable style while maintaining an air of professionalism and tradition. In addition to being the founder of Kyugetsu tea house, Tyas also runs an online storefront selling only the finest organic leaf teas that he personally selects as he monitors the entire growing and cultivation process.
Working with Tyas for certain tea sessions is Stephen Soshun, another foreign resident who has chosen to devote his life to the practice of tea. Not only is Stephen a professor emeritus at Kansai University Osaka, he is the first non-Japanese citizen to reach the rank of Junior Assistant Grand Master of his school of tea. With Tyas and Stephen as your hosts, you'll be treated to a wealth of knowledge and experience that will leave you with the chance to say you've experienced something truly special during your stay in Kyoto.
KyoTours Japan and Kyugetsu Tea House have put together an exclusive package that you won't find anywhere else. We guarantee that this is the most authentic tea ceremony experience available to visitors that in Kyoto. Enjoy a full afternoon of lunch and tea with this all-inclusive experience that will pull back the veil of the mysterious tea ceremony and leave you both enlightened and delighted at the traditional refinement and personal passion that the ceremony celebrates.
This tea activity can be added on to our Kyoto Highlights Tour or Arashiyama Backroads Tour to give you a full day cultural experience. Simply choose your lunch and tea ceremony options as detailed below, and add the two prices for the total price. Below is a sample of the flow of this exciting tea experience:
Enter an Exclusive Tea House
You'll be enjoying lunch and tea inside an authentic geisha townhouse in the quiet back streets of the Miyagawacho neighborhood. Houses like this are rarely open to visitors, so this is a rare opportunity to get a glimpse into a world of refined elegance. Your host will take you on a brief tour of the building and tell the interesting tale of the woman for whom it was built as a gift.
A deluxe boxed lunch bento consisting of seasonal vegetables, rice, and meat and/or seafood, as well as other various local delicacies. Just the right size for a meal before the tea ceremony upstairs. All lunches are provided by well-known local specialty shops who pride themselves on their traditional culinary work.
Price: 3,500 yen per person
Selected Tea Tasting
Cleanse your palette at the end of lunch with a brief tasting of several organic full leaf teas hand selected by your tea master. Learn the proper way to brew these teas and how to fully appreciate their flavor. Think all tea tastes the same? You're in for a real surprise...
Choose Your Tea Ceremony
Basic Tea Workshop
Designed to give you an introduction to the world of matcha tea ceremony. Includes a discussion and Q&A on tea ceremony, followed by a demonstration of how to whisk a bowl of thin matcha tea. You'll also have a chance to prepare your own tea using traditional tools, and then enjoy it with a traditional wagashi Japanese sweet. Perfect for curious beginners, or anyone who loves tea. Learn more...
Price: 9,500 yen per person
Total duration with this option is approx 1 hr 45 min.
Thick Tea Initiation
A deeper look into the tea ceremony. You will be an invited guest at an authentic ceremony and initiated in the ways of the warrior-style Enshu school of tea. Learn why the guest is just as important as the host, witness the ceremony up close, and enjoy a bowl of authentic thick matcha and a delightful wagashi sweet. A rare chance to experience this refined meeting of master and guest. Learn more...
Price: 14,500 yen per person
Total duration with this option is approx 2 hr 30 min.
A Parting Gift From Your Host
As is the Japanese custom, you won't leave the tea house empty-handed. Enjoy a small gift from your host, and browse the selection of leaf teas available for purchase to bring the world of Japanese tea home with you when you return to your country.
- Tea workshops may only available on certain days.
- Reservations required.
- Workshop fees are payable in cash upon arrival at tea house.
- Not recommended for children under age 16.
- All tea is vegetarian friendly, but bento lunches may contain some non-vegetarian elements.
- Itinerary and availability subject to change due to seasonal changes in hours, special events, transportation delays, weather, or other factors. Guests will be kept informed of any itinerary changes as they occur on the day of the tour.
- Please read our terms and conditions for more information before booking.
For more info on tea ceremony or to ask about adding this experience to your tour, please use the contact form below.