How to Experience the Sensation of the Tea Bowl

Elements of the Tea Ceremony
July 9, 2022
How to Experience the Sensation of the Tea Bowl
What is Chanoyu?

Chanoyu(Japanese tea ceremony) is a Japanese art form that seeks a deep emotional connection between the host and the guest through the ritualistic preparation and drinking of matcha. The culture of matcha was introduced from China along with Zen Buddhism in the late 12th century, and later Ashikaga Yoshimasa (15th century), Sen no Rikyu (16th century), Furuta Oribe (Late 16th century), and others established a unique Japanese form of chanoyu that has continued to the present day.


Chawan (tea bowl) is a vessel used in the tea ceremony for drinking matcha. Tea utensils, of which there are many, can be broadly classified into two categories: "tools for decoration" and "tools for use". Among "tools for use," chawan in particular are utensils used by both the host and the guests. It is also the only utensil that guests can touch directly with their hand and mouth, making it an essential tool for connecting the master and their guests, and matcha and its people.

How to Select Tea Bowls as "Tools for Use"

In the world of chanoyu, various types of chawan are selected and used according to the situation. There is a certain basic concept of how to select a chawan, which is similar to the concept of Fashion. However, it is most important to choose what  you like without getting too caught up in formalities.

Three Steps to Choosing a Chawan
(1) Who uses it?

(2) Situation

Formal [Symmetrical, Artificial/Simulated, Soothing Colors]

Noriyuki Furutani Nogime Tenmoku Tea Bowl  (C22784)

Semi-formal[Symmetrical, Glazed finish, Some color and expression]

Kohei Nakamura 
Ido Tea Bowl - 井戸茶碗(喜左衛門写)(C24299)

Casual [Free form, Natural, Unglazed finish]
Kodai Ujiie Celadon and Lacquer Tea Bowl - 漆貫入彩白磁茶盌(亜)(C24239)

(3) Season
Summer [ Flat shape, thin thickness (matcha gets cold easily), bright and cold colors]

Yui Tsujimura Ido Tea Bowl - 青井戸茶盌 (C24216NP)

Winter [ Cylindrical, thick (heat retention), dark, warm colors]

Morimitsu Hosokawa  Black Raku Tea Bowl - 黒楽茶碗 (C24227NP)

Additional Steps

Design: Theme of the tea ceremony, color/pattern, compatibility with the color of matcha
Sense: Ease of making, ease of holding, feel, mouth feel

*The importance of design and sensation changes depending on the light conditions]

Enjoy the change of Chawan

  • Porcelain, dark color tea bowls have little change
  • Ceramic, unglazed, and light color tea bowls would have variability

Naming Chawan

About the author

Churou Wang

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