Noon Tea Ceremony: The Role of Ozume

The basic tea ceremony is the noon tea ceremony held in the afternoon. There are also morning tea ceremonies in the early morning and evening tea ceremonies in the evening. The noon tea ceremony often begins between 11:30 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. and lasts about four hours. The flow is as follows.

  1. Hatsu-za (zen-za): Hatsu-tan-te, kaiseki, and main confectionery (in furo, kaiseki is followed by hatsu-tan-te).
  2. break between the light meal and the actual serving of tea (during a formal tea ceremony)
  3. Goza = Go-seki: Koicha, Gokotan-mae, Usucha *Gokotan-mae may be omitted and the tea ceremony continued with Usucha.

The role of tsume is underlined in yellow, the behavior of all guests is underlined in blue, and the key points of the tea ceremony are underlined in red.

Furnace Tea Ceremony

before the day of

Advance ryo…reply to the invitation letter from the pavilion master to be received at least 2 to 3 days before the day of the tea ceremony.
Clothing: Visiting gowns, tsukebake, or kimono with a kimono crest are preferable for women.
Things to bring… a fan, Kaishi paper, Hakuza (Japanese wrapping paper), old Hakuza, a handkerchief (to wipe your hands when you wash your hands in a kenbu), a small paper tea towel, a container for leftover vegetables (also called Sodeotoshi, a small ziplock bag that does not make noise is useful. (A small, soundless Ziploc or similar container is convenient.)

Since this is only a tea ceremony to which the proprietor invites the guests, a fee is often not offered. The amount of money to be wrapped as a thank-you gift ranges from 5,000 yen to 10,000 yen for a casual affair. If it is a formal affair for a small number of people, the amount is about 10,000 to 30,000 yen. Prepare and insert new bills, and write “Goshu ∞ your name” on the festive noshi-bukuro (gift bag).

If the husband is known, the timing for handing it over is after everything is finished. In some cases, it may be given by the mizuya, but this is on a case-by-case basis.

What is Ozume?

The Yasu-guest (ozume) has the job of playing a behind-the-scenes role in order to ensure that the tea ceremony proceeds smoothly. Together with the main guest, they return the utensils for worship, or if it is a tea ceremony, they return empty bowls and rice bowls to the tea ceremony entrance. The ozume must know what to return, when, how and where to return it.

Front Seat Before entering the seat

If the gate is watered and the entrance is open for a clue, you can enter without asking for directions.
Arrange clothing by donation. Change tabi (socks) and check your belongings such as kaishi (paper money). Browse through the hanging scrolls in the waiting area. If there is a tea ceremony journal or a box with a description of the day’s set of utensils, see it as well. There is no fixed place for the guests to sit in the waiting area. When all the guests are present, the tsume taps on the wooden planks to inform the master of the number of guests.

After the formal greeting of “Gozaimasu,” all the guests drink either shiroyu (white water) or kosen (incense) together. After the guests have finished drinking, the bowls are put away and the tobacco tray is returned to its original position.

The first guest bows first, and then proceeds to the open-air area, where he or she is welcomed by the master of the restaurant. The owner of the restaurant welcomes the guests to the middle gate, and the guests bow silently to the owner.

Seat entry (first entry)

The first person to bow is the Sho-guest, followed by the second person to cleanse their hands and mouth at the stone wash basin before entering the tea room.

How to use crouching
Take the ladle from the top, draw a cup of water, wash the left hand, then the right hand, then draw water again, catch the water in the left hand, and rinse the mouth (or just imitate). Next, with the upper part of the ladle facing you, use the remaining water to wash the handle of the ladle. After washing, turn the handle to the left and pull the handle at an angle, just as it was first placed.

When entering the seat, sit in front of the sliding door and place a fan in front of your knees. When entering the tatami room, the participants stack their zori with the front side facing outward, and place them on the door in order. Proceed to the front of the floor to see the kakemono. Proceed to the tatami room to see the kettle and furnace. After entering the tatami room, the tsume (waitress) makes a light sound and closes the door.

The master enters the room when the guests have taken their seats and greets each one of them. The master inquires about the waiting area, the outdoor space, and the main table’s hanging scrolls.

early in the game of mahjong consisting of an east and south round

Sumite-mae is a series of gestures to start a fire in front of the guests by lighting charcoal in a wind furnace or a furnace. In the season of the furnace, the first charcoal ceremony is performed before kaiseki in order to warm up the entire room.

When the first sweep begins, the first guest, in turn, makes the next bow and proceeds around the furnace to view the inside of the furnace with his or her hands. The guests look at the inside of the furnace with their hands in front of them.

The owner of the house presents the incense container to the guests for their inspection. After the guests have finished viewing the incense, the master and the guests return the incense to each other.

simple meal eaten before tea is served

simple meal eaten before tea is served
The basic concept is "ippiru sansai" (one soup, three dishes), which consists of miso soup, mukozuke (a side dish of miso soup), simmered dishes, and grilled dishes. In addition, azukebachi (a dish cooked in a pot) is sometimes served.

have a bowl of rice and a bowl of soup on the table

First, a set of dishes (a slightly larger rice bowl on the left in the foreground, a soup bowl on the right in the foreground, and mukozuke over there) is served. The hostess receives the bowl on one knee and bows in the same manner as before. The host also drops to one knee and bows. The table is placed halfway to the edge of the tatami mat (except for Tsume, who bows to the next guest). The head guest says, “Itadakimasho” (Let’s have it), and all the guests bow in greeting.

Take the lid of the soup bowl with your right hand and the lid of the rice bowl with your left hand, stack them on top of each other with the right (soup bowl lid on top) and the left (rice bowl lid upside down), and place them on the right side of the table.

Pick up the chopsticks, pick up the soup bowl, and take a sip. Take the rice bowl and take a sip, then the soup bowl and take a sip of the soup. When all the soup has been served, hang the chopstick tips over the left edge of the bowl (to avoid staining the ori-shiki) and put the lids of the rice and soup bowls back on as in the beginning.

Sake and mukozuke

The host brings out a kan-nabe (heating pot) and a cup stand, and offers a glass of sake. Tsume keeps the empty cup stand to the left of the table. After taking a sip of sake, the mukozuke is placed to the left and the cup is placed to the right of it. At this point, the chopsticks are placed on the mukozuke for the first time.

serve a meal

The master of the house serves a bowl of rice, takes the guest’s bowl of soup, and serves the second bowl of soup. The lid of the rice bowl is handed to Tsume with the back of the lid facing up. The rice bowl is held on the left knee, and the rice is scooped into the bowl with a rice scoop while the bowl is on the oriziki. Tsume removes all the rice from the rice bowl so that there is no rice left in the bowl, puts the ladle inside, puts on the lid, and places the rice bowl on the left side of the table.

We will have a bowl of simmered dishes, two servings of sake, and grilled dishes.

A large bowl of simmered dishes (many bowls are large and decorated with maki-e) is served. The lid of the bowl is taken off and placed on the other side of the right corner of the table.

The host brings out a kan-nabe (heated pot) and offers the second serving of sake. The guest closes the lid of the nimono bowl, places the bowl on the far right corner of the table, and accepts a cup of sake.

Yakimono is served. It is served in a bowl or on a plate for the number of people. The yakimono is taken from the empty mukozuke dish. Tsume puts the empty plate to the left side of the table.

There goes the second rice bowl.

A second rice bowl is served. Sometimes, a strong side dish or a bowl of something (cooked food, delicacies, etc.) is served (sometimes after the first eight dishes).
After the proprietor’s greeting, the guests are free to enjoy their meal and view the tableware. Tsume takes the bowls to the guests for inspection, and may also offer a drink to the guests in addition to the bowls.

Leave only one bite of rice, and cover the rice bowl, soup bowl, and stew bowl. Tsume should bring the cup stand to the front of the regular guest and carry the empty bowls (rice bowls and yakimono bowls) to the serving entrance. The bowls should be placed in a position where the owner can easily pick them up while sitting at the tea service entrance.

have a dish of eight small dishes served on the table (e.g. sashimi, salad, vinegared dish)

Chopstick washing = a small soup is served. The owner of the house brings out eight dishes (sea food in the front left and mountain food on the other side of the room) and a heated pot for the main dish, which is served with sake.

Receive a yuto and pickled vegetables

A yuto (also called yuji) and an incense bowl are served. The incense is served in a mukozuke bowl. The lid of the yuto is sent by hand to the tsume.

Open the lids of the rice and soup bowls at the same time, stack them as before, and place them on the right side of the table. Holding the handle of the yuto with the left hand, pour the yunoko into the rice bowl with the yunoko scoop and fill the soup bowl with hot water and put the lid on the bowl. After eating the rice and pickles left in the rice bowl, wash the chopsticks with the hot water from the soup bowl and drink the hot water.

Wipe the chopsticks with kaishi paper and place them on the right side of the table. Wipe the cup, rice bowl, soup bowl, and mukozuke bowl with kaishi paper, and place the mukozuke bowl in the center of the table. The lid of the rice bowl is placed on top of the bowl, and the cup is placed on top of the rice bowl (if the cup is ceramic, place a piece of kaishi between the bowl and the mukozuke bowl). Tsume should leave the yuto and pickle bowls out at the kitchen door.

All guests drop their chopsticks onto the table and make a noise (i.e., a sign that they have finished eating).

When everyone has finished eating, the master opens the door to the tea ceremony and the guests bow in unison. The returned bowls are pulled out, the oriziki is lowered, and the door to the tea ceremony is closed.
The method of handing over the table is the opposite of the first. The guest hands over the table, then drops to one knee and bows.
Only Tsume should leave his own table out at the tea ceremony entrance.

enjoy the principal article of confectionery

The main confectionery is served. The master of the tea ceremony informs the guests that he/she wishes to change the seating arrangement at the entrance to the tea ceremony, and all the guests accept the confectionery. Tsume returns the confectionery container to the tea ceremony entrance.

Starting with the first guest, the floor and the furnace are viewed before leaving the table. If there is a hand-aburi or zabuton, tsume must return it to the entrance of the tea ceremony before leaving the table.

break between the light meal and the actual serving of tea (during a formal tea ceremony)

The guests proceed to the koshikake-waiting area in order of precedence. The master changes the floor decorations from hanging scrolls to flowers, prepares koicha (thick tea), and strikes a gong (=a signal that the back seats are ready). The guests listen to the sound of the gongs in the open air. When there are only three or four guests, the gongs are played in “large, small, medium, and large.

Rear Seat Entry (Rear Entry)

The guests leave the koshikake-waiting area and, in order of precedence, wash their hands and mouths in the washbasin before entering their seats. Tsume puts away the round seats by placing them on top of each other. After viewing the flowers on the floor and the tools of the tea ceremony set before them, the guests take their seats.

exceptionally dark, opaque matcha

After the tea is served, the guest inquires about the name of the tea, tsume, and confectionery. When the tea is finished, the guest asks to see the tea bowl. (If the guest does not ask to see the tea bowl, the master asks, “Shall I return the tea bowl?) The tea bowl is looked at, and if there is an old woven cloth, it is looked at as well. After viewing the tea bowls, the Shokugan and Tsume return the tea bowls to the Shokugan.

A regular guest asks to see the tea caddy, chashaku (tea scoop), and cover.

Things to keep in mind when viewing tools
Tea not touch the clay surface at the bottom.
jujube...hold it high and don't look into the bottom
Do not touch the fabric.

When the object is returned, the regular guest asks and answers questions about the utensils. After the questions and answers, the master of the tea ceremony steps down to the entrance of the tea ceremony with the utensils, a general bow to the principal guest. The main guest and the guest together bow to each other.


The owner opens the sliding door, a general salute to the host and guests The master opens the sliding door. After the charcoal is passed on, the guests look at the inside of the furnace, the kettle, and the charcoal funnel one after another. When the guests have finished, the master takes the charcoal funnel and steps back to the entrance to the tea ceremony, Bow to the host and guest The master and the guests are then seated in a circle.

weak matcha

The master brings out a tray of tobacco, dried sweets, etc. in front of the guests (sometimes a cushion is served). The master places a pitcher of water at the entrance to the tea ceremony, The master and guests bow in unison. The tea ceremony is then performed.

When the master offers confectionery, the first guest bows, accepts the confectionery, and goes out to get thin tea. The second guest then returns the bowl to the master, and so on in the same manner, from the second guest to the last.

The guest asks to see the tea caddy and tea scoop. After the inspection of the utensils, the master of the tea ceremony steps to the entrance of the tea ceremony with the utensils. Bow to the host and the guest The master enters the tea ceremony and the guests take their seats. The master enters and greets each guest one by one (the guest places his or her fan in front of his or her knees). The master steps back to the entrance of the tea ceremony and bows to each guest.

leaving one’s seat

Guests greet each other. The regular guests first view the floor and kettle, and then leave the room. Tsume returns the dried confectionery, cushions, tobacco tray, etc., to the tea ceremony entrance, looks at them, and closes the door with a light sound. The master, upon hearing the sound, opens the door again, Silent bow by the host and guest The tea ceremony is then closed with a light sound.

The tea ceremony ends here. The next day, it is good to do the post-ceremony ritual.

Goreirei: A letter of thanks to the host immediately following the tea ceremony. The letter should not mention the utensils or anything else, but should include words of gratitude for the invitation and words of thanks.

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