About Chaji

Explaining about chaji and all the details of the procedure will require a lot of pages. This first page should be your starting point while reading about chaji. You should be able to find most of the information directly linked to chaji from this page (when I’m done remodelling it).

Chaji is a tea gathering during which the host serves food and sake in addition to Koicha and Usucha. A chaji takes several hours to complete. This page and the ones found in CategoryChaji detail the entire procedure.

The explanation on this page will only deal with Furo Shogo Chaji, for the other types please refer to the section below about types of chaji. Shogo is the "standard" form of chaji and it is therefore reasonable to use it as the basis for this discussion.

The guests arrive at the tea house and enter Machiai, where they are served hot water. Then they enter the garden and wait until the host comes and greets them. This is part of the Shoiri. Then the guests enter the tea room (First Seki where they are served food called Kaiseki. Then the host does Shozumi. Those two things takes between 1 and 2 hours. When this is done the guests go back out into the garden for Nakadachi. After about 15 minutes the guests come back into the tea room for the Second Seki. During this the host will serve Koicha and Usucha. In between these two tea servings teishu will replenish the charcoal in Gozumi temae.

There are seven standard types of chaji: Shogo, Yobanashi, Asacha, Hango, Rinji, Atomi and Akatsuki.

The links below show a chaji in chronological order, look at each of them for a more detailed explanation of chaji procedure.

  • Before the chaji

  • Arriving at the chaji

  • Machiai

  • Roji and Koshikake

  • Shoiri

  • Kaiseki

  • Shozumi

  • Okashi

  • Nakadachi

  • Usucha

  • Gozumi

  • Koicha

  • Leaving the chaji

  • After the chaji

Unsorted Chaji Notes

  • Guest(s) nakadachi.
  • Teishu prepares for koicha

    • Remove scroll
    • Place flowers
    • Cleans the tea-room.
  • Teishu rings the dora

    • Dai sho chu chu dai for less than 5 guests
  • Guests reenters the tea-room.
  • Haiken of tokonoma where flowers have been placed, and then temaeza with chaire and kama.
  • Koicha
  • Gozumi (Furochu no haiken in furo.)

  • Usucha
  • Aisatsu
  • When the guests have left the tea-room the teishu goes to the nijiriguchi and does a last bow.
  • Guests write thank-you letters

Types of Chaji

  • The Seven Types:
    • Shogo 正午- noon (12:00, mid-hour of the horse); ro /furo; THE standard chaji- full Kaiseki and Gozumi; see following Parts for details

    • Yobanashi 夜(夕)咄- sunset (4:30-5pm); Ro; Encha; Kaiseki uses no raw fish or yakimono; Tsuzukiusucha required; enjoy warm / cold, dark / light contrast

    • Asacha 朝茶- sunrise; furo; Tsuzukiusucha required.; to enjoy early morning cool in summer; open; flowing; lightness; Teishu up very early

    • Hango 飯後 a.k.a. Kashi-cha 菓子茶- just after another meal, breakfast, lunch best; both ro & furo; toko haiken > sumi > sweet; nakadachi; tea(s), food- just nimono / Hassun required for chaji; for busy Guest(s); if little proper Kaiseki Dogu owned; Tsuzukiusucha optional

    • Rinji 臨時 a.k.a. Buji 不時- spontaneous, not one of the three “timed” chaji. “Buji” can also mean simply a chaji held outside usual times; Tsuzukiusu optional; something special used.

    • Atomi 跡見 - Guest invite self(ves) to view previous chaji (Dogu or Shomo); mid-morn or mid-afternoon; only very close friends may invite themselves; never invite someone to Atomi; Tsuzukiusu optional.

    • Akatsuki 暁- pre-dawn (3:30-4 a.m.); Ro ; Guest(s) enjoy Teishu’s prep.; only most skilled Teishu; must have Roji, Koshikake and Tsukiage mado; lights in Roji gutter out “naturally”; Tsuzukiusu required

  • Some other types of chaji:
    • shin 真茶事: Most formal, “oldest” form of chaji using O-meibutsu dogu, Yojohan seki; split Kaiseki- in yojohan. moro-kazari of scroll and flowers: “informal” lowers (真の中の草) Shin sumi (first, without seasonal distinction) shojin ozen (all cinnabar) / rice, suimono, etc. but / no (Hassun or) sake so not drunk when handling omeibutsu sweet (many to provide stomach protection)nakadachi; Shin no gyo daisu temae after haiken, Host announces that Usucha in another room

    • yuki 雪: snow viewing; Ro, several choices- beginning to fall, well fallen, totally melted; but night, moonlight is best; remove windows if Guests are young or well-dressed; avoid whites; lots of warmth

    • tsuki 月: moon viewing; usually autumn but the moon is beautiful anytime; dawn moon; best seen in reflection of water; avoid whites, round (even 3/4 round) things in dogu or food; tsuzukiusu optional
    • hana 花: cherry viewing in April; lotus in August; overwhelm or not (just one thing used at all) or only references; often held outdoors (see nogake); Tsuzukiusuoptional

    • nogake 野掛: outside, anytime it’s pleasant outside; keep attention of Guests with strong temae and fabulous dogu; find purest place to hold it; mosquito netting, curtains to cut out distractions as much as possible; Tsuzukiusu required

    • Yuzari 夕去: furo evening; bring in lights, katori senko; can reverse scroll and flowers; Tsuzukiusu required.

    • Kuchikiri 口切: very formal Chajin’s New Year (Nov) opening of ha-Chatsubo new green garden bamboo, Tatami, Shoji, Rodan; grind tea within Guest’s hearing;

    • Ko 香: incense appreciation; esp. in ro not neriko but kyara in incense burner(s) passed around

    • uta 歌 a.k.a. haikai 徘徊: poetry writing
    • goshiki 五式: Guests involved with temae, eg. charcoal- Sumishomo, Mawarizumi; Ko; flowers- Hanashomo, Hana yose; Ichi, ni, san; Kagatsu or Kazucha, etc.; “anytime”; Tsuzukiusu optional

    • Ikkyaku ittei 一客一亭: anytime, may combine with Rinji chaji, request Shomo; done to keep single Guest company; very close friends; Teishu makes two people’s worth of Koicha- shares food and drink, make Usucha for each other; Tsuzukiusu optional

    • handai cha 飯台: Zen style kaiseki on low table; bring own yotsuwan
    • zanka no kai 残火の会: buried charcoal- omisoka 大晦日 (New Year’s eve); ro; usually lit charcoals (with extras) buried in ash overnight and excavated in morning to re-kindle first kettle of New Year. Sign of continuity.
    • chahangama 茶飯釜: usually Ro; Kusari (chain) in hiroma or Jizai (bamboo and wood kettle adjustor-more fuzei) in 41/2 mats or smaller

    • Meisui 名水: using water from a famous source- well; for food, osayu, kama, mizusashi- depending on amount even Tsukubai; morning only; Tsurubei mizusashi / Gohei-kazari; Ro or furo; can use other Mizusashi with Gohei; Tsuzukiusu optional taste water before or after Koicha; Okimizusashi but without replenishment

    • wedding 結婚 結婚: either season; morn. to noon; no “mizu-sasu”; everything congratulatory: red and white, gold and silver; cranes and turtles; Uba and Joo; suehiro, fans, pines, bamboo and plum; sunrise, “Wedded rocks of Ise”; tai and konbu; be careful
    • tsuizen 追善- funeral, memorial;morning, afternoon (never late, evening); white and yellow, or black; Budhist, Christian symbols depending on immortalized one’s beliefs; rosary, sacred jewel, hossu (fly whisk), nyoibo (sacred mushroom/cloud scepter), something beloved of the Memorialized one; photo or portrait.
    • seki-biraki 席開- no red flowers (thought to invite fire); dogu- all new ok, all old ok; somethings old, somethings new; not quite finished good; kariroku decoration; Rojistill unfinished good. unveiling of hengaku- name of seki carved on wooden plaque

Guests preparations & Functions

  • Shokyaku 正客– main (or primary) Guest

  • Jikyaku 次客– second Guest

  • 3G–third “”
  • Tsume / Ts 詰–last Guest

  • Teishu / T  亭主-Host

  • Hanto 半東 – Hosts’s assistant

  • Mizuya  水谷- Kitchen staff Each Guest Prepares self:

    • Kimono / Haori or coat, Tabi change in tabi’ire, Hakama / Jutoku, etc.

    • fan, new package of Kaishi, Fukusa, Kobukusa (>2), Shinobukuro / Ko(>3 varieties)

    • white handkerchef
    • damp Chakin in chakinbasami

    • Zansaibukuro (for leftovers, wiping paper)

    • Furoshiki to wrap everything in

Make arrangements to travel to Teishu’s seki.

  • DO NOT BE LATE: it is much better to be too early and walk around the neighborhood than to be late. Being late throws off all timimgs of rice, Sumi, waterings, etc. and throws the Teishu into a panic. Guests should not come together, unless they do not know where the seki is.

    In Emergency situations on the day, if possible, the Guest should go to the machiai and then apologize for not being able to stay. If the emergency is known in advance, a telephone call to both Teishu and Shokyaku will have to do.

Do not try to find a replacement.

  • Besides the physical requirements, the Guests must be ready to play their part as participant / observers. The best way to appreciate the Host’s efforts is to pay attention to every detail. Of course, a general knowledge of Chinese as well as Japanese poetry, history, artists’ and other names from history, theater like Noh and Kabuki, as well as Shinto, Buddhist and even Christian beliefs are basic for enjoying the interplay of references and associations that the Host will call upon to create his/her toriawase.

    Besides this, a familiarity with seasonal plants, foods and famous sweets, birds and animals and practices also helps. The Shokyaku is expected to be able spot the special qualities of and to praise each object. The Guests will carry on conversations amongst themselves while the Teishu is out. It is always a good idea to review the Saijiki of the month during which the chaji takes place. Non-Tea Guest(s) should have

  • ability to withstand its demands, esp sitting, quiet, its time frame
  • be checked for food and drink problems


  • Shokyaku should be someone who knows Tea best, because:
  • Shokyaku does all talking for Guests
  • asks questions and interacts /Teishu

  • can help other Guests; but does not teach
  • Writes reply to Teishu

  • Contacts other Guests, who may also write replies. This is the time and place to warn the Teishu if you ( or any of the Guests) have any allergies or if you do not drink sake. It is very distressing for the Teishu to come unprepared to a Guest who refuses sake, without having thought of something alternative to serve.

  • Actually goes to Teishu’s house the day before for zenrei, to be sure of route, that there is no change (fire/ disaster, funeral, etc)

    • Aisatsu in genkan, never comes in


  • Tsume should be a relative, student or good friend of Teishu because only Tsume can go into the back (mizuya) and confer with /Teishu

  • Tsume should be second most knowledgeable (after Teishu and Shokyaku)

  • Tsume also must do some work :
    1. Tsume does not have to be the last Guest to arrive nor does he need to close the outside gate; whoever is last in closes everything behind them
    2. Tsume should count shoes to see how many have arrived
    3. In Machiai (if not previously done / bangi) announces to the host that all Guests are assembled

    4. Volunteers to distribute osayu or pour it for others; be sure to keep tray
    5. Should be the last person to leave machiai- take Kumidashi & tray, tabako bon back to door

    6. Closes machiai door, and goes into roji making noise

    7. Returns Enza and tabako bon to original position on Koshikake

    8. Locks Chumon

    9. Closes Nijiriguchi / door with bang, locks

    10. When Tsume leaves toko (kama, depending), all the guests stand and go to teiza- assigned seats
    11. Aisatsu: Thank you ; if there is anything I can do…

    12. During Kaiseki-slides farthest forward to save Teishu steps

    13. Eats fast; cleans fast
    14. Takes Kaiseki dogu to Shokyaku for haiken; leaving hashi on own tray

    15. Takes all Azukatte-iru dogu back to sado / Kyujiguchi; Haidai to Shokyaku

    16. Pours twice for Teishu at Hassun

    17. If anyone needs anything, contacts Teishu

    18. Closes Nijiriguchi / bangs; locks Chumon

    19. Machiai same as before

    20. Koichawan, all haiken to Shokyaku; deai

    21. Aisatsu; returns Tabakobon, Higashiki

    22. on path out – miokuri: Shokyaku, Tsume , 4, 3, 2

Teishu & Hanto

Duties of Teishu and Hanto sometimes overlap. The most important thing is that all the preparations are done on time, so the Guests can enjoy the chaji. There are some things the Teishu SHOULD do (shitabi, hana) but if Teishu is suddenly indisposed, the Hanto is expected to be able to do everything, like an understudy, in effect becoming Teishu. Indeed, both the Teishu should be able to do the whole chaji, (minus the food, usually) BY THEMSELVES, ALONE.

In the mizuya, there will be opportunities for Teishu to do some things that might be considered the Hanto’s “job”. But ideally the Teishu should be able to do everything and keep the chaji on time. Working together strengthens team spirit and helps the chaji go smoothly.


  1. Junbi: FIRST- CLEAN: tataki from high places, wipe down wood with (damp) Zokin, sweep, Zokin tatami

    1. machiai

      1. Scroll,

      2. Tabako bon: hi’ire, etc.

      3. Shiki-mono, Zabuton

      4. Ro, furo or Binkake

        1. Tetsubin / Ginbin

        2. Kama

      5. Kumidashiwan

      6. Bon

      7. Kensui

      8. Futaoki,

      9. Hishaku,

      10. Kosen ire,

      11. Fukusa

      12. Hibachi, Teaburi

      13. andon
    2. koshikake:

      1. tabako bon with hi’ire and Haifuki

      2. Enza

      3. Hibachi

      4. Teaburi

    3. Chashitsu: all of the Dogu,

      • flowers,
      • sweets,
      • etc.
  2. Roji

    1. overall cleaning, checks during chaji
    2. cleans Tsukubai, fills with water, refills as needed

    3. prepares Setchin

    4. Roji andon, Ashimoto andon, Ishidoro

    5. Sekimori ishi (only for large roji/ multiple paths)- placed at entrances to paths /areas to be avoided

  3. Temae:
    1. Prepare Seki

      1. hang scroll
      2. prepare tana

      3. fill mizusashi, natsume for tana

      4. Ro or furo:. Shozumi, Gozumi

        1. hai; ro-chu, kama-awase or haigata
        2. sumi and fire
          1. Ganro / Mizya furo

          2. Shitabi

          3. Sumitori (Shozumi, Gozumi), Kogo, Haiki

          4. tabako bon: hi’ire 4 times

          5. Hibachi, Te-aburi

        3. Koicha- sifting, filling Chaire; softening new Chakin, Chasen (DO NOT WET); Kensui, cutting new green bamboo Futaoki & Haifuki; Hishaku, prepare koichabowl

        4. Usucha – sifting, filling Usuki; Usucha bowl.

        5. Haiken, boxes

    1. Aisatsu

      1. purify self at Tsukubai; refill

      2. greet Guests at Koshikake

      3. welcome to chaji, answer questions
      4. at end, send Guests off
    2. carrying in kaiseki, Dogu

    3. do Temae / Haiken: (tana/Hakobi) Shozumi, koicha, Gozumi, Usucha.

  4. Kaiseki

    1. menu (find out allergies, dislikes);
    2. Dogu Toriawase: ceramics, lacquer, metal

    3. sweet
    4. Carry everything in, serve Guests; explain all food
  5. Hanaire / flowers on Kadai

  6. Higashi

  7. ato katazuke- everything washed, dried, boxed

Teishu does Ro-chu, Kama awase, Shimeshibai prep. the day before in ro season; Haigata in furo is best the morning of the chaji day The Ro is heated with “junk” sumi (this might be done in furoseason”] aslo, cleaned out with Sokotori, Shimeshibai re-covers ro, In either case, the Shitabi are added just before Teishu goes out to invite Kyaku in. Kettle goes on as soon as Teishu returns, just before Guests arrive from Koshikake The Host should be able to do all the Hanto’s work as well as own


All this plus cook the Kaiseki, ready Dogu, Junbi – whatever needs to be done; in consultation with Teishu

  1. Hibachi and/or Teaburi

  2. lights: Andon, Tankei; candles

  3. whatever is needed
  1. Machiai – be sure doors are open Tegakari

    1. Shikimono; bring in hi’ire, tabako bon; Machiko

      1. Te-aburi, Hibachi, lights; take out Machiko

    2. scroll
    3. tabako bon

    4. Kumidashi wan and Bon

    5. say your line “O-yu o-meshiagare no ue ni, koshikake no hoo e dozo” (Please have som hot water, then go to the koshikake), open door to roji
    6. scroll removed after yori-atte
    7. replenish Hibachi before Guests return home.

  2. Koshikake

    1. set out first pair of Rojizori for Shokyaku

    2. places enza and tabako bon / hi’ire at end away from where Shokyaku will sit

    3. Katori senko; Hibachi, Te-aburi

    4. before Nakadachi, collects tabako bon for replacing hi’ire sumi

    5. collects tabako bon. and Enza after Go-iri

  3. Roji

    1. heavy cleaning; checks during chaji
    2. fills Teoke for Teishu

      1. refills Tsukubai after Sho-iri and Go-iri Nijiriguchi is closed

      2. takes away Tsukubaibishaku after last Seki-iri

      3. deals with toilet Tsukubai and Hishaku

    3. watering and zokining puddles
      1. before Guests enter tearoom
      2. before Guest leave at Nakadachi

      3. before Guests leave for home
    4. prepares both Rojizori and Rojigeta, plus Rojigasa ready for Guests, Host, self

    5. opens doors from Machiai to Roji; puts out first pair of Rojizori

    6. (Helps) roll up Sudare reed screens (if)

  4. Tearoom
    1. pass kaiseki to Host

    2. tabako bon before Usucha

    3. Rojizori before Guests leave

  5. Hakobi to Teishu, communicates timing, needs to kitchen

    1. kaiseki: brings everything to and takes everything away from Teishu

    2. makes sure tsuyu splashed on bowl and Fuchidaka lid

    3. at the end- opens everything (from Machiai on) for Guests to find their way out.

  6. Atokazuke, As things come back from seki, not to used again, Hanto can clean and return these to boxes: e.g.- Zabaki, Kogo (Ro); Chaire / Shifuku, Omo-chawan; Sumi dogu, Shimeshibai; Usu chawan, Haiken Dogu

    1. Rojizori; Rojigeta and -gasa; Sekimori-ishi: collect after Guest have gone

    2. empty kama – as soon as staff has had tea

    3. empty Mizuyagame

    4. everything else back into boxes, bote> cars

*. if it begins to rain or snow, replaces rojizori with geta and puts rojigasa conveniently; holds kasa for first Guest

Machiko 待香

The first and often most direct impression of a tea gathering is the fragrance which greets the Guests. The express purpose of this use of incense is to “wait for” the Guests in place of the Teishu and to allow the Guests to calm their minds before entering the deeper tea spaces. After cleaning the rooms before the Guests arrive, the incense purifies the space spiritually and helps separate it from secular space. Upon entering the waiting room, machiai, of a tea complex, the Guests are treated to the rich fragrance of Jinko.

Shikimono 敷物

Shikimono are things spread out on the Tatami floor of the machiai to: 1. give comfort to the Guests and to indicate where they, especially the Shokyaku, is supposed to sit.

They are warm in winter and should be cooling in summer.

Mousen 毛氈 - felted wool carpets, dyed red, blue, colors; Mousen, as the name implies are originally from Mongolia brought thru China, and imported by the tens of thousands in the Edo period. Neither wool nor felt was native to Japan. Earliest examples of felted wool came thru the Silk Road to Nara (7th century; Shoso’in collection) but felt of any kind was not made in Japan until Meiji.

Tou; especially for summer, extra long round reeds, such as those used for sudare may be made into up to 12 foot squares. Split reeds may be woven into large covers as well. All tatami lines disappear

Carpet, etc. Imagination is your only limit, as long as the shikimono does not get Kimono dirty, stain with unfast color, snag on projections or feel more uncomfortable than Tatami.

Zabuton cushions may also be used, one for each Guest, identical

Tabako bon

Next in importance to the waiting room’s scroll but perhaps even more important than it in terms of hospitality, is the tabako bon, a tray for the various implements used in smoking Kizami, the traditional shredded tobacco.


Lights in General

  1. Oil lamps
    1. tankei- partsÅF
      1. suzume-zara; uke-zara; abura-zara; kuromoji to lengthen wick
      2. toshin 灯心 – pith wick, wick weight- toshin oshi
      3. natane abura 菜種油 = canola, veg. oil
      4. yu tsugi- lacquer, long handled like small Rikyu-konomi sake pourer
    2. chikkei- only in small room; bamboo lamp “stand”
    3. andon 行灯 – Namporoku #13- ” Rikyu said, ‘You should place a lantern (andon) at the waiting bench for dawn and night gatherings…’ “

      1. andon- wood, without lid; used in machiai, for akatsuki, maybe yuzari
      2. koshikake andon- square, papered lantern with handle and rain cover; placed on or near koshikake
      3. ashimoto andon- tall, slender, lacquered lanterns with handles placed along roji, if light from koshikake andon does not reach seki
  2. Candles
    • wa rosoku 和蝋燭 – sumac wax with paper + toshin ( pith wick).
    • Te-shoku- Namporoku. #13-“Rikyu said, ‘ It is also good for the Teishu to go out as far as the gate [of the Roji] with a hand lantern (Tedoro), make his greetings there, and return. There are some who go out carrying a candleholder (Te-shoku), but on windy nights, candleholders are extremely difficult to manage. Neither are they especially handsome, and the brightness of their light makes them unfit. ‘ “

  3. Toro 灯籠 – Namporoku- #15- ” For night gatherings when snow has fallen, you should generally not light the stone lanterns (toro) in the Roji. Overwhelmed by the brightness of the snow, they afford nothing worth noticing, their light wan. There may be exceptions, however, depending upon the conditions or the presence of trees; it is impossible to speak absolutely.


  • Aisatsu Dialog

  • Shozumi Dialog

  • Kaiseki Procedure

  • Koicha Dialog