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Japanese Tea Ceremony Tools
Article | September 15th, 2017 | Roro

The tea ceremony is usually held with a number of basic tools and utensils, below is a list of names for some tea ceremony tools required by the tea host and the guests.

The chawan, the tea bowl. (ちゃわん・茶碗)

The hishaku, which is the wooden bamboo ladle. (ひしゃく・柄杓)

The chanoyugama, or the iron pot. (ちゃのゆがま・茶の湯釜)

The kensui, a bowl used for waste water from rinsing tea bowls. (けんすい・建水)

The kensui, a bowl used for waste water from rinsing tea bowls. (けんすい・建水)

The chashaku, a bamboo spoon used to measure the amount of green tea used. (ちゃしゃく・茶杓)

The natsume is the small green tea powder container. (なつめ・棗)

Some of the tools in the tea ceremony also include the type of cloths or hemps used by the host or guests during the ceremony. They are sometimes used to hold the utensils so that the guests and host can admire the fine craftsmanship that goes into creating these tools.

This cloth is called generally called a “fukin” (ふきん・ 布巾), but can also be called “fukusa” (ふくさ, 帛紗), or “kobukusa” (こぶくさ, 古帛紗) depending on their purpose, material, etc. For example, during the tea ceremony both the fukusa and the fukin are used to clean the small utensils after they were used for the tea preparation and are generally of basic material with little to no design. They are also used to carry and move the hot iron pots by the rings that are fastened to on the sides of the pot. The kobukusa, on the other hand, is thicker in material and more elegant in design. As such, they are usually used to hold and admire the utensils like the chashaku during the tea ceremony.

The chashaku (ちゃしゃく, 茶杓) is a wooden bamboo spoon used to measure the amount of green tea powder placed into the chawan (ちゃわん, 茶碗), tea bowl. Some tea schools use a higher level of aesthetics for their ceremony practice and will have a darker bamboo colored chashaku instead. As for the measurements, depending on the spoon size, there can be up to 8 ounces per spoon scoop. The host also takes into consideration the thickness or quality of the tea, so a half spoon may be enough to provide the desired flavor to the drinker.

The natsume (なつめ・棗) is another important tool for the tea ceremony. In fact, the chashaku and the natsume are quite often seen together, it is the green tea container where the spoon (chashaku・ちゃしゃく・茶杓) scoops the powder from before pouring it into the chawan. The chawan, like other tools in the tea ceremony, can have a design or be very simple and plain. It can also be made out of wood or plastic, for example. The shape for most chawan is generally smooth and round in a cylindrical case. It usually has a top lid that hugs the bottom container nicely enough to maintain the flavor of the powder like most teas require.

As for the tools used for heating the water itself, the hosts use different pots depending on the season. For instance, there are two types of pots, the Ro and the Furo. During fall and winter seasons, the Ro is used and is stored in the floor of the tea ceremony room. The Furo, however, is portable and is used during the spring and summer seasons. The type of pots used in the seasons make a difference, especially when you’re trying to maintain a preferred temperature for the tea during the cold seasons.

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