Chanoyu has been referred to as the "Japanese Tea Ceremony" for many years but the word literally means hot water for tea. The simple art of Chanoyu is really a synthesis of many Japanese arts with the focus of preparing and serving a bowl of tea with a pure heart.

Tea was first introduced to Japan from China with Buddhism in the sixth century. It wasn't until 1191 that tea really took hold in Japan with the return from China of the Zen priest Eisai (1141-1215). Eisai, the founder of the Rinzai sect of Zen Buddhism in Japan, introduced powdered tea and tea seeds that he brought back with him from China. The tea seeds were planted by his friend the priest Myoe (1173-1232) at the Kozanji temple in the hills northwest of Kyoto.

The tea master Sen Rikyu (1522-1591) developed wabicha or the style of tea that reflects a simple and quiet taste. It is this simple style of tea that is practiced and taught in Japan and throughout the world today.

The principles of Wa Kei Sei Jaku (harmony, respect, purity and tranquility) are the principles that practitioners of Chanoyu integrate into their study of tea and into their daily lives.

Among the many styles of Chanoyu that are practice today, the Urasenke School of Tea, under the leadership of Sen Soshitsu XVI, the sixteenth descendent of Sen Rikyu, is one of the most popular. For the past forty years Sen Genshitsu, his father and past head tea master, has traveled around the world introducing Chanoyu to many people for the first time. He believes that when people come together and share a bowl of tea, peace can be realized.

Sen Rikyu said that tea is nothing more than boiling water, making tea and drinking it. It is this simplicity that makes the study of Chanoyu a lifelong pursuit.