Equipment for Chanoyu


Tea equipage are divided into ‘mizuya equipage’ and ‘temae equipage’. Temae equipage are for use in the tearoom before guests. Mizuya equipage are used in the mizuya preparation room. The equipage in the first picture are but one example of equipage used for a temae (tea preparation ceremony).



Here is a breakdown of each of the items used for a temae. There are many different styles of each piece of equipage shown.




1. Tea scoop (chashaku 茶杓) - used to scoop matcha from a thin or thick tea caddy and transfer into a tea bowl




2. Tea whisk (chasen 茶筅) - used to whisk matcha together with boiled water to make matcha tea. Made from bamboo. A thin, delicate bristled chasen called ‘kazu-ho’ (meaning an unspecified number of bristles) is used for thin tea. A strong, thick bristled chasen with around half the bristles of a thin tea chasen called an ‘ara-ho’ (course bristles) is for thick tea. The Ueda Tradition prefers 'ō-ara-ho' chasen for koicha with extra thick bristles





3. Tea bowl (chawan 茶盌) - vessel for drinking tea. Bowls made in Japan are referred to as ‘Wamono’ and bowls from other parts of the Asian continent are referred to as ‘Karamono’




4. Fresh water container (mizusashi 水指) - the water from which is used during the temae to replenish water in the iron kettle, control the temperature of the the iron kettle, and also to clean the tea whisk




5. Used water vessel (kensui 建水 or koboshi) - vessel used to contain used water from cleaning the tea bowl etc. during the temae



6. Bamboo ladle (hishaku 柄杓) - ladle used for scooping fresh water and hot water during the temae






7. Lid rest (futaoki 蓋置) - used to rest the lid from the iron kettle and bamboo ladle during the temae








8. Small board for brazier (koita 小板) - one of the types of boards on which a brazier is placed






9. Brazier (furo 風炉) - holds the smouldering charcoal over which the iron kettle is placed. Originally only braziers were used, but now generally braziers are used from the start of May to the start of November (from the first day of Summer to the first day of Winter according to the lunar calendar). Braziers are also used during winter if a hearth is not available for use



10. Iron kettle (kama 釜) - used to boil water for tea





 11. Fresh water kettle (mizutsugi 水次) - used to replenish fresh water into the fresh water container and iron kettle









12. Thick tea caddy (chaire 茶入) - tea caddy for holding thick tea-grade matcha. Traditionally made with an ivory lid, and placed in a pouch and displayed in the tearoom before the start of a ceremony. Instead of ivory, ceramic, wood and other materials should be used for the lid. The bottom example of a chaire is completely ceramic, including the lid 




 13. Thin tea caddy (usuchaki 薄茶器) - also referred to as an ‘usuki’ which is an abbreviation for a vessel (ki) for containing thin (usu) tea-grade matcha






14. Linen cloth (chakin 茶巾) - used for wiping the tea bowl. The Ueda Sōko Ryū uses 'Hoda Chakin 保田茶巾', 'hoda' being a thick, rough woven gauze made from hemp





15. Purifying cloth (fukusa 帛紗) - silk cloth used for purifying objects such as the tea caddy and tea scoop 





  16. Flowers (chabana 茶花) - From the old manuscripts of the Ueda Tradition, we can see that Sōko had a special appreciation for tea flowers: "Love flowers: their colours in spring and summer, their vivacity in autumn and winter. Flowers are to be adored and for this they reward our souls."






17. Flower vase (hana-ire 花入) - there are numerous types from bamboo to brass. Vases keep flowers watered and strong throughout a tea gathering and interact with the blooms, enhancing their beauty 





 18. Ash (hai 灰) - in the brazier dry, white ashes made from oyster shells (called 'kaki-bai') are used. In the hearth moist, deep purple/brown ashes made from wood are used. For tea people, the colour and arrangement of ashes are often the stand-out point of beauty in the tea room





19. Charcoal (sumi 炭) - chanoyu means 'hot water for tea'. Boiling water is a characteristically human activity which requires fire. Charcoal for tea emits little or no smoke and no scent. It is cut into specific sizes that change for the brazier and hearth. Finding a source of locally made, natural charcoal is of great importance for tea people outside Japan 





20. Water (mizu 水) - delicious spring water or artesian well water makes the tea all the more divine. When preparing tea for others, delight them with water you yourself have harvested. Find a local source of water free of chlorine, fluoride and other impurities






21. Matcha (抹茶) - the physical makeup of this tea, rich in theanine, caffeine and chlorophyll, both invites and supports the spiritual paths built around this plant. For more information read 'Matcha - the Tea of Chanoyu'

Acquiring Equipage through 'Mitate'

'Mitate 見立' is to see an alternative use for an object other than its intended use. Mitate can be translated as 'cultural borrowing'. A classic example of mitate is the early tea masters seeing 'tea bowls' exemplifying the wabi aesthetic is everyday Korean bowls made for eating rice and noodles. Mitate is at the heart of chanoyu and the wabi aesthetic. 


Nowadays, the early mitate equipage used by renowned tea masters such as Shukō, Jōō and Rikyū are being copied and have lost their mitate spirit. The cost of tea equipage can be quite daunting, but this need not be if the original spirit of mitate is embraced when selecting utensils for tea. 

In the image, a medicine pot is being used for a mizusashi and a recycled and modified oil drum is being used as a brazier. Both were found at a market (Makola Market in Accra). Denim fabric has been stitched into tatami-shaped mats. In the second image are more examples of mitate utensils appropriated for use in chanoyu. The mizuya is a French service trolley and the incense censer is a confiture jar. There are also many handmade utensils, such as the tea scoops, the tea bowl pouch inspired by an Icelandic sheepskin pouch, lid rest made from a didjeridoo off-cut, and a feather sweep made from found feathers and wood.


Through mitate and using techniques already existing in local cultures, fitting utensils for tea can be accumulated to express the spirit of chanoyu authentically, with great depth of spirit. 

Mizuya equipage

1. Cleaning cloth - The first item you need for the mizuya preparation area is a cloth to clean. Every tea gathering, every practice session, without exception, starts with cleaning your space and your utensils


The other items required for the mizuya are detailed and discussed among practicing students. For the purpose of providing information on this website, please refer to the mizuya placement diagram below.

For more on the mizuya, see this article.