Japanese tea ceremony Rooms and Tearooms

A few things all tearooms have in common is that the floor is covered with Tatami mats. Usually there is an alcove or Tokonoma in the room, but its size may vary.

There are different sizes of rooms which have names according to the number of Tatami mats in the room or the layout of the Tatami mats. For example, a four-and-a-half Tatami mat room is called a Koma (small room)

There is no fixed layout, as to where the door has to be in relation to the host’s mat but the guests should be seated next to or near the Tokonoma so the host’s mat cannot be in the same corner.

tearoom structure chashitsu

1 Sadouguchi ( Host's entrance )

The Sadouguchi is a full-sized door the host uses to enter and exit the tea room carrying utensils. Commonly, a Taikobusuma sliding door is used. The Taikobusuma is comprised of a lattice frame with white paper affixed to both sides. There is no knob or handle, and the door is simply pushed open by hand.

2 Tokobashira ( Supporting pilar )

Much care is put into crafting the Tokobashira supporting pilar, for it is almost like the face of the Tokonoma. High grade wood or that which conveys an air of sober refinement (Wabi) is used. Red pine is sometimes used as Tokobashira and the bark could be left on. The pilar located on the opposite side from the Tokobashira is called an Aitebashira or partner pilar.

3 Otoshigake ( Tokonoma Lintel )

The Otoshigake is the lintel that supports the partial short wall in front of the Tokonoma alcove. It is commonly made of red ceddar, red pine, or Paulownia wood. A nail is hammered on the from surface of the center of the wood, and sometimes the back, and a small boat-shaped hanging vase of flowers can be hung from it.

4 Kakejiku ( Hanging scroll )

In these scrolls, calligraphy or painting are usually mounted. Calligraphy includes such as Waka poetry, letters and Zen phrases written by monks, while paintings are about landscape scenery, flowers, birds and so on. Vintage brocades used for the frame shouldn't be missed. Guests can see the point of the day's tea ceremony. On this hanging scroll is a prase describing the summer season.

5 Tokogamachi ( Tokonoma bottom beam )

6 Temaeza ( Tea master's tea mat )

Having witnessed or taken part in the Japanese Tea Ceremony only once, one will come to understand that in Japan, serving tea is an art and a spiritual discipline. As an art, The Tea Ceremony is an occasion to appreciate the simplicity of the tea room’s design, the feel of the Chawan in the hand, the company of friends, and simply a moment of purity.

As a discipline, aesthetic contemplation of flower arranging, ceramics, calligraphy, and the roots of the Tea Ceremony which go all the way back to the twelfth century is required. The ritual preparation requires the person hosting a tea party to know how to cook a special meal (Kaiseki), how to arrange the flowers which will be placed in the alcove (Tokonoma). When choosing utensils and other vessels, the host (Teishu) has to consider the rank and type to make sure that they will stand out.