Concluding the Tea Ceremony: Step-by-Step Guide

In this guide, we will take you through the step-by-step process of concluding a tea ceremony. From announcing the end of the ceremony to cleaning the utensils and respectfully parting with your guests, each stage is carefully outlined to ensure a graceful and harmonious conclusion. Join us as we explore the intricate rituals and traditions involved in bringing the tea ceremony to its heartfelt conclusion.

Announce the Conclusion of the Tea Ceremony

If the Shokyaku (main guest) requests to conclude the tea ceremony, the Teishu (host) responds by placing the Chawan (tea bowl) in their left hand and placing their right hand on the Tatami (floor). This gesture signifies acknowledgement of the Shokyaku’s wish. The Chawan is then placed in front of the knees, and the Teishu proceeds to make a proper bow and announce the conclusion of the tea ceremony.

Clean the Chasen (tea whisk)

To prepare for the conclusion, the Teishu ladles cold water into the Chawan from the Mizusashi using the Hishaku (bamboo ladle). With the right hand, the Teishu picks up the Chasen while holding the Chawan with the left hand. Gently stirring the water in the Chawan from the right side to the left and back, the Teishu ensures cleanliness. The Chasen is then placed facing to the right and slowly brought towards the face while turning it, inspecting its cleanliness. This inspection is repeated twice. Next, the water is whisked gently with the Chasen to further clean it. The Chasen is placed back next to the Natsume (tea caddy), and the water is discarded into the Kensui (waste water container). The Fukin (linen cloth) is placed in the Chawan, which is then set down using the right hand. Finally, the Chasen is placed in the Chawan.

Clean the Chashaku (tea scoop)

The Fukusa is taken out from the Obi (kimono sash) and folded to wipe the Chashaku (tea scoop). With the right hand, the Teishu takes the Chashaku from the Natsume. Holding the Fukusa in the palm of the left hand, the Teishu places the Chashaku on top of the Fukusa and wipes the top and bottom of the scoop. Then, the Fukusa is slid back, allowing the sides of the Chashaku to be wiped. This wiping process is repeated for the top and bottom once more. The Chashaku is placed on the Chawan facing downward. If there are any Macha green tea powder stains on the Fukusa, the Teishu gently wipes them twice with the right hand above the Kensui. Once the Fukusa is clean, it can be folded and reattached to the Obi. The Chawan is lifted with the right hand from the top rim, briefly held with the left hand to switch to a side grip, and placed in front of the Mizusashi.

Refill the Kama with Fresh Water

The Teishu determines the amount of water needed in the Kama (tea kettle) based on the number of guests served tea. Assuming three guests were served tea, approximately the same amount of water is ladled back into the Kama from the Mizusashi. Using the Hishaku (bamboo ladle), two scoops of fresh water are usually ladled from the Mizusashi to the Kama. Once done, the Hishaku is placed back on the Kama. Since the Mizusashi will no longer be used, the lit can be put back. The Teishu takes the lit with the right hand, brings it close to the chest, grasps it with the left hand above the right, and turns it horizontally before placing it on the Mizusashi.

Close the Kama

The Hishaku is picked up again, held at chest height, allowing a view into the cup of the bamboo-ladle (Kamaeru). With the right hand, the Teishu picks up the Futa (lid) of the Kama and places it back on the Kama, ensuring it is securely closed.

Return the Kensui to the Mizuya (water room)

After placing the Futa on the Kama, the Hishaku is still held in the left hand. The Teishu grabs it from above with the right hand and picks up the Futa-oki (lid rest) with the left hand. Using the thumb, index, and middle fingers of the right hand, the Futa-oki is held under the Hishaku. The Hishaku is held horizontally in front of the chest. With the left hand, the Teishu lifts up the Kensui (waste water container) and stands up, holding it at hip height beside the body. To keep the Kensui out of the guests’ sight as much as possible, the Teishu turns anticlockwise, ensuring it is not visible. When in front of the door, the Teishu sits down diagonally and places the Kensui in front of the knees. The Futa-oki is placed next to the Kensui, and the Hishaku is laid on top of the Kensui with the cup of the ladle facing downward. The sliding door is opened in two stages, first two-thirds and then one-third. While opening the door, the Teishu holds the Kensui, Hishaku, and Futa-oki in the same manner as before and walks back to the Mizuya.

Return the Chawan (tea bowl) and Natsume (tea caddy) to the Mizuya

Just as the Chawan and Natsume were brought into the room, they are now carried back to the Mizuya. Hold the Chawan in your left hand and the Natsume in your right hand. Remember, these are high-ranking utensils, so as you walk to the Mizuya, turn clockwise.

Take the Mizusashi to the Mizuya

The final item to be returned is the Mizusashi (water container). Kneel down in front of the Mizusashi and pick it up with both hands, keeping them as low as possible. Once outside the sliding door, turn around and kneel and sit down, placing the Mizusashi in front of your knees. Now it’s time to officially bid farewell to your guests. Place both hands onto the Tatami and bow, expressing gratitude for their presence. Finally, close the door.

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