Tea has a rich history in Japan, dating back to the Nara and Heian periods. During this time, Japanese envoys to Tang-dynasty China, accompanied by esteemed Buddhist scholars like Saicho, Kukai, and Eichu, brought back tea seeds from China. These seeds are believed to be the origin of tea in Japan.

Emperor Saga in the early Heian Period encouraged tea drinking and cultivation in Japan. The first documented mention of tea in Japanese literature was in 815, noting that Eichu served tea to Emperor Saga. Initially, tea was a precious commodity reserved for the imperial court and Buddhist monks.

Saicho (September 15, 767 – June 26, 822) Japanese Buddhist monk.


As tea production grew, it became accessible to the upper classes and Samurai. "Kissa Yojoki" contributed to the spread of tea culture, and "Tocha," or tea competitions, became popular among the Samurai class.

In the late 15th to late 16th centuries, tea masters like Murata Shuko, Takeno Joo, and Sen no Rikyu developed Wabicha, a new tea ceremony style, which laid the foundation for the modern tea ceremony.

Myōan Eisai, Japanese Buddhist pries who brought green tea from China to Japan.Myōan Eisai, Japanese Buddhist pries who brought green tea from China to Japan.


In 1738, Soen Nagatani developed Japanese sencha, the unfermented green tea that is widely popular in Japan today. His innovation revolutionised tea production.

Tokoname ware, renowned for its Kyusu (Japanese teapot), has a long history. It is made from red mud, known for its iron oxide content, giving the teapots a reddish-brown colour. Tokoname ware's unglazed pottery, crafted with high firing temperatures, is highly regarded for daily use and Kyusu.

Tea utensils, centred on Kyusu, were produced in Tokoname during the Edo period. However, it wasn't until the Meiji era that Tokoname's Kyusu became famous nationwide. Kyusu production increased, and its soil's iron content enhanced the tea's taste, mellowing its bitterness.


Sen no Rikyū (1522 – April 21, 1591)Sen no Rikyū (1522 – April 21, 1591) was the first to emphasize several key aspects of the tea ceremony.


Mino ware, a general term for ceramics from the Tono region of Gifu prefecture, accounts for half of Japan's ceramics production. It includes various types like Oribe, Setoguro, Shino, and Kizeto ware.

Tea culture became a significant market during the Edo period. Special tea products like Takada tokkuri (sake bottle) and Dachi dobbin (teapot) gained popularity, and porcelain production began.

This deep-rooted tradition continues to be a prominent aspect of Japanese culture, cherished for its history and significance.

Nagatani Soen, The Inventor of SenchaNagatani Soen invented the Uji-cha production method known as aosei sencha seiho. 


About Tokoname Ware

Tokoname ware is one of the traditional Japanese crafts, and it is a very profound one that is carefully crafted one by one by craftsmen using traditional methods that have been handed down from ancient times.

It is made mainly in Tokoname City, which faces Ise Bay in the central part of the Chita Peninsula in Aichi Prefecture, and is a pottery designated as a traditional craft by the Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry.

Tokoname ware has been around since the end of the Heian period (12th century) and has a very old history and is one of the six sites where the production of ceramic ware began in ancient Japan. It was also designated as a Japan Heritage in 2017.

 It is characterized by using soil called red mud, which contains a large amount of iron oxide, and when it is baked, it has a reddish-brown color with a unique texture. Therefore, until a long time ago, Tokoname ware was distributed as Akamono (Red Thing).

Tokoname ware is basically made as unglazed pottery without glaze. Since the firing temperature is high, it is tight and has sufficient strength even for unglazed tableware used in daily life.

Among pottery lovers, Tokoname ware is famous for the high quality of Kyusu (Japanese Teapot).


Front of Aoki Mokubei's Kyusu (Japanese Teapot)Aoki Mokubei (1767-1833), Teapot decorated in relief, celadon glaze, Edo period (1615–1868), 18th century.


When green tea became popular among the common people during the Edo period, tea utensils centred on Kyusu began to be produced in Tokoname, which used to produce daily necessities. 

In the first year of Ansei, Jumon Sugie succeeded in producing a teapot using red mud near Yixing, which is famous as a teapot producing area in China. However, it was not until the Meiji era that Tokoname’s Kyusu became famous all over the country.

In the early Meiji era, Tokoname ware quickly got on the wave of modernization and increased its nationwide share in the production of clay pipes for water and sewage. Hoju Koie, a potter who played a key role in this, politely invited Chinese artist Kinshiko to teach Tokoname craftsmen to make the same Kyusu as Yixing in China. In this way, high-quality kyusu was produced in Tokoname, and the nationwide share of kyusu increased.

Tokoname's soil has a high iron content that reacts with the bitterness of tea when brewed and has the effect of mellowing the taste, so Tokoname's Kyusu has gradually become popular with people.


In addition, unglazed pottery is soaked in tea astringency and remains on the pot as a surface pattern to create a unique landscape, and the taste increases with each use, which has spurred popularity.


About Mino Ware

About half of the ceramics produced in Japan are Mino ware which is a general term for ceramics produced in the Tono region of Gifu prefecture (formerly Mino province). It includes Tajimi, Toki, Kani, Mizunami, and Kasahara. It has maintained its long history and tradition but adapted for modern times.

Mino ware is characterised by a large variety of pottery, in fact, it has over 15 types of pottery registered as traditional handicrafts.


Types of Mino Ware

Oribe Ware was based on the aesthetics of Oribe Furuta, disciple of Sen no Rikyu (influential master of the tea ceremony, 1522-1591). The ceramics were often asymmetrical, an unique form and geometrical design patterns. 

Setoguro Ware and ceramics were produced in and around the city of Seto in Aichi Prefecture. It was an all black glazed item that was mainly produced during the Tensho period (1573-1593). With the iron glaze, it becomes black in colour when taken out of the fired kiln.

Shino Ware has design patterns underneath its glazed was created during the Azuchi-Momoyama period (1573-1600). It was a beautiful light crimson color and bubbly texture produced by feldspar glaze. Production of Shino ware disappeared during the Edo period (1603-1868) but Toyozo Arakawa (1894-1985), who was a well-known Japanese ceramic potter, made tremendous efforts to revive it and was able to bring it back.

Kizeto Ware, which has lately received renewed attention, means yellow ceramics which came from Seto. It is another popular kind of Mino Ware with a soft, calm yellow tone, and it is mostly designed by carving or stamping on the surface.  

In the Edo period, the production of the pottery started to take form and its market becomes increasingly significant. Special products were made such as Takada tokkuri, sake bottle or Dachi dobbin, teapot. Porcelain production also started.


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