More than one thousand years of tea

(710) The beginning of the Nara period in Japan, capital is transferred to Nara. During the Nara period tea is grown at some temples around Japan. Tea at this time was consumed by priests and noblemen as a medicinal beverage.

(729) Emperor Shoumu holds a religious ceremony called Incha. During this ceremony tea is served to the monks who are participating in the religious service.

(760) The first (known) work on tea called Cha Ching is written by a Chinese Buddhist priest by the name of Lu Wu. His book outlined all the rules for the correct method of making tea. It describes the proper use of tea vessels and the temperature of hot water. Some people speculate that through the influence of this classic, the form and style of the tea ceremony evolved in Japan.

(794) The beginning of the Heian period in Japan, capital is transferred to Kyoto.

(1053) A book called Cha Lu is written by the Chinese calligrapher Cai Xiang/ Tsan Hsiang who worked under the Sung emperor Jen Tsung. In his book he referred to the manufacture of powdered green tea, the forerunner of the green tea that was incorporated into the tea ceremony in Japan.

(1107) Chinese emperor Hui Tsung writes a book called Ta Kuan Cha Lun, or A General View of Tea. His book contains the first ever mention of the tea whisk (Chasen). He referred to a bamboo whisk to whisk the powdered green tea after hot water poured over it.

(1191) Myoan Eisai bring back tea seeds from China. Myoan Eisai went to China to study Buddhism and brought back with him, knowledge and seeds, which were planted in Hizen district of northern Kyushu.

(1206) Myoe plants tea seeds he received from Myoan Eisai in Toganoo, kyoto. Myoe was the founder of Kouzanji (Toganoo-san Kouzanji) temple in Kyoto. Myoe has left us with numerous national treasures and important cultural properties.

(1211) Eisai writes a book called; Kissa Youjouki, which means "Tea-drinking is good for our health." This book describes many aspects of growing and consuming tea. After Kissa Yojoki was presented to a Shogun (Samurai General), the popularity of tea spread and became widely consumed.

(1324) Emperor Go-daigo holds a tea gathering for noblemen and Shoguns at his palace.

(1336) Tea gatherings are forbidden by the founder of Ashikaga shogunate, Ashikaga Takauji with the passing of a new law, Kenmu Shikimoku. Takauji was a general of the Kamakura shogunate and founder of the Ashikaga dynasty. Out of fear for rebelling Samurai clans he forbid tea gatherings which were frequently held by Samurai warrior clans to discuss politics.

(1343) Tea gatherings called Tocha regain popularity after the ban on tea gatherings is lifted. (see: Tea History)

(1416) Retainers of prince Fushimi hold a tea gathering.

(1467) Daitokuji temple is burned down during the Japanese civil war (Onin no Ran). Daitokuji temple has various smaller temples on the same ground, some of which have special Chashitsu or tea rooms for holding tea gatherings.

(1469) A Rinkan tea ceremony is held by Sumitane Furuichi. Rinkan literally means "in the forest". Sumitane Furuichi studied the art of beauty and was secretly taught by Murato shuko.

(1476) A great book, Kundaikan Socho-ki is written by Noami. Kundaikan Sochoki contains descriptions and drawings of tea utensils and ink paintings. Noami was an adviser to the Ashikaga Shogunate and collected Chinese paintings as well as other art objects for the Shogunate. Besides being an adviser, he was a renowned Japanese painter, a renga poet, and an advisor in the ways of the Japanese tea ceremony.

(1502) Death of Murata Shuko, co-founder of the Japanese tea ceremony/ "the way of tea."

(1533) Matsuya Hisamasa starts to keep a record called; "Record of tea gatherings." Matsuya Hisamasa often visited Kyoto,Sakai, and other cities to attend tea ceremonies for inspection.

(1548) Tsuda Sotatsu begins to write a Diary of tea gatherings The Tennōjiya kaiki (天王寺屋会記). Record of chanoyu gatherings compiled by three generations of the Tennōjiya mercantile house. Running one of the most prosperous business houses in Sakai was made possible by having won the favor of Oda Nobunaga. Around the year 1574, he became one of the three merchant-class tea masters of Sakai to be in charge of chanoyu (Japanese tea ceremony) for Oda Nobunaga.

(1555) Death of Takeno Joo, master of the japanese tea ceremony and Sen Rikyu's teacher.

(1585) Toyotomi Hideyoshi is promoted to chief advisor to the emperor Emperor Ōgimachi, the fore last emperor of the Muromachi period. Toyotomi Hideyoshi holds a tea ceremony gathering at a small palace inside the Imperial Palace.

(1585) Sen Rikyu receives the title "Koji", a Buddhist lay name, from Emperor Ōgimachi.

(1586) Toyotomi Hideyoshi performs a tea ceremony at the Imperial palace using his portable gold tea pavillion.

(1587) Toyotomi Hideyoshi finishes building his palatial home, the Jurakadai in Kyoto. The Great Tea Ceremony of Kitano is held. At this Tea gathering, Sen Rikyu Koji, Tsuda Sogyu, and Tsuda Sokyu act as Sado (supervisors).

(1588) Yamanoue Soji begins to write The Record of Yamanoue Soji (completed in 1590)

(1591) Sen no Rikyu Koji is forced to commit suicide by Toyotomi Hideyoshi. Sen Rikyu's last words written down in this poem:

Welcome to thee,
O sword of eternity!
Through Buddha
And through Daruma alike
Thou hast cleft thy way.

(1612) Koho-an is constructed in the Daitokuji Temple by Kobori Enshu. Built in Enshu's later, more matured age, it is an independent tea hut, in the shoin style.

(1618) Jo-an is constructed in the Kenninji temple by Oda Uraku.

(1625) Construction of Katsura Imperial villa is completed. Magnificently designed palace and landscape garden. Katsura-no-Miya is made up of a Shoin villa, a tea hut, and a brilliant landscape garden.

(1659) Construction of the Shugaku-in Imperial villa begins.

(1665) Katagiri Sekishu becomes the teacher of Tea to the Tokugawas.

(1680) Sado Benmo Sho is written by Yamada Sohen.

(1700) Chawa Shigetsu Shu is written by Kusumi Soan.

(1787) Kokon Meibutsu Ruiju is written by Matsudaira Fumai. In this book all the famed tea ceremony utensils in existence are recorded in eighteen volumes.

(1811) Seto-toki Ransho is written by Matsudaira Fumai. In this book he writes about the origins of Seto-ware.

(1898) Dai Nihon Chado Gakkai is founded by Tanaka Sensho.

(1906) Tanaka Sensho publishes the book Chazen Ichimi

(1906) The Book Of Tea is published by Okakura Kakuzo in New York.

japanese green tea


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