Japanese Teas

Written by Seth Cotterell
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Tea has been an important part of Japanese culture for a long, long time. Japanese teas are renowned the world over for their bold taste and soothing medicinal properties. Some teas are even used as aphrodisiacs. Tea is so much a part of Japanese culture that the tea ceremony itself is one of the most recognizably Japanese social events.

Japanese Tea and the Tea Ceremony

And what an event it is! The tea ceremony in Japan is one of the most ritualistic and stylized social customs in the culture. So much knowledge is required to perform the tea ceremony perfectly that it takes a lifetime of study by devoted students to master the event. It takes discipline, patience, and practice to become proficient in the tea ceremony. The Japanese do not take their tea lightly.

Influenced by the Zen sect of the Buddhist religion, the tea ceremony features a delicious green tea that must be prepared in a ritual fashion. It takes an expert to prepare the tea according to the custom and the environment must be just right. The tea ceremony is not a raucous or light hearted event. It is, in fact, extremely formal and is meant to foster a sense of tranquility and serenity.

There are several disciplines, or schools, of the Japanese tea ceremony, so there are slight variations of the event throughout the country. There might be differences in flower arrangement or the type of incense burned at the ceremony. Kimono styles might vary from place to place and ritual words and gestures might also be different. The use of green tea, though, is universal to all Japanese tea ceremonies.

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