How to hold a tea cup? The rules of behavior for Japanese tea cups

by Bunka Japan August 21, 2021 3 min read

Tea drinking is a Japanese tradition that has been around for many years. It has also provided Japanese people with a healthy and calming pastime. As such, it is important to know the customs of this Japanese institution in order to be polite and respectful when drinking tea, especially during Japanese tea ceremony. For example, there are specific rules on how to hold the cup, drink from it, pour out its contents or even which hand should be used for holding the cup!

 

Here Is The Short And Direct Answer On How To Hold A Japanese Tea Cup:

Hold the yunomi with your right hand while supporting it from below with your left. Men can have their index finger raised over the rim of the pot, but women should keep all fingers in her right hand underneath.

Drink the tea (while still holding it with both hands), without making any noise. If the tea is too hot, you shouldn’t blow on it. Wait until it cools downs a bit, but don’t wait too much because it could be considered rude!

If you leave lipstick on the yunomi, use the index and thumb of your right hand to gently wipe it off. Now place the yunomi back in the saucer. When you are done drinking say “gochisousama deshita” meaning that you had a delicious treat.

Japanese woman holding a Yunomi tea cup

 

 

Other Answer From Japanese Tea Ceremony Experts:

"You should hold your Japanese tea cup by clutching it tightly with two hands from underneath so that your palms face upwards and the thumbs support both handles (Do not place your thumbs under the handle)."

Japanese woman holding a Yunomi tea cup

 

The Ultimate Guide For Japanese Tea Ceremony's Rules Of Behavior:

The Japanese Tea ceremony is a highly ritualized tradition in Japan that can consist of just three actions: boiling water, making tea and serving it. But the process itself has many different schools with their own ideas about how to make the best cup for you. These differences will be made clear after we introduce you to some general practices at this special event.

Step One:

Please sit upright and carry your head high while taking up the tea bowl served in front of you with your right hand. The long-held tradition is to put on a finger cushion before receiving that heavenly beverage, so please use left one for this purpose!

Step Two:

The tea bowl is the perfect vessel for a pot of delicious, warm liquid. The side you see from your perspective is called "Kao" and this face holds its own story to tell through coloration or images that adorn it. It's no wonder then why hosts select these bowls because they will have resonance with each individual guest as well!

Step Three:

Hold the tea bowl in your left hand, turning it clockwise with your right. This will face the front of the bowl towards their direction as a sign of respect and gratitude for being served this delightful beverage.

Holding up a teacup is an art form that has been practiced since antiquity and you can't get any better than holding one while respecting someone who offered to serve you delicious hot liquid!

Step Four:

The slurping sound is an authorized manner for drinking-up. You drink the tea up in three and a half sips, making sure to make that final slurp at the end of your last sip as you finish it off with confidence!

Step Five:

You, as a guest of the tea ceremony, are now ready to enjoy your drink. After drinking up all that is in your bowl (or cup), swipe the rim with either thumb and forefinger - right handed folks should use their right hand while lefties can do whatever they please! This next step keeps you from getting sticky fingers by using paper called "Kaishi". The thin washi-paper often used at ceremonies such as this one.

Step Six:

Turn the tea bowl counter-clockwise and put it in front of you with your right hand. After placing the tea bowl, admire its artistic design again from all angles!

Step Seven:

At last, please make a bow to the host who made tea for you and say thank you with words about how much they mean.


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