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Last updated: 30 July, 2023
Expert travel writer: Rob Goss

A classical expression of Japanese hospitality that can last for hours in its most elaborate form, the tea ceremony has been practised for centuries. Every aspect, from where the most important guest is seated to how the host wipes the utensils, has significance. Every movement is choreographed, and for kimono-dressed practitioners, the nuances take years to perfect.

Full versions (around 4 hours) are only for die-hards; shorter versions are available down to a mere 30 minutes, but the shorter it is, the less traditional. There are usually special options for children, and some will include sweet-making.

Even the shortest versions, though, are a great way to experience traditional Japanese culture and formality.

Maikoya Tea House Kyoto

Kyoto, Kansai, Japan

Man and woman sit down to tea

This teahouse runs a variety of ceremonies, from a simple 40-minute version to a 90-minute version with a geisha performance. There’s a 2-hour one that includes making traditional sweets, and a special one for kids under 9.

Adult price: £25

Best for ages 6+

Duration: 45 or 75 minutes

When: On request

Frequency: daily

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Price from: £20
Minimum age: Any
Age suitable: 13+
Frequency: daily
When: On request
Duration: Up to 4 hours

Getting there & doing it

As a traveller, don’t stress, teahouses will lead first-timers through everything. You won’t be expected to follow each intricate rule – if cramp sets in from kneeling in the seiza position, nobody will be offended if you wriggle on the tatami.

Dress fairly conservatively, avoid strong perfume and remove jewellery that could damage the tea bowls, then follow the instructions as best you can.

Our selection of the best Viator tours of this attraction or activity

Authentic Kyoto Tea Ceremony: Camellia Flower Teahouse


Authentic Kyoto Tea Ceremony: Camellia Flower Teahouse
We want your time with us to be a rich and enjoyable one, and to that end we encourage guests to not only participate but actively ask any questions they might have about Japan and tea ceremony. Our small team, fluent in English, are here to help make your time a memorable and authentic one. Tea ceremony is the perfect way to enjoy Japanese culture and experience a taste of Kyoto. Inclusivity is very important to us, and all are welcome. Chairs and tables are available for those that have difficulty sitting on the floor. All our sweets are vegan, nut free and gluten dress. Although we offer kimono rental, you do not need to wear kimono and please dress as you feel comfortable. Children are more than welcome. Feel free to take photos throughout the experience (please be mindful of other guests and please turn off the flash).

Price: ¥3,300

Min age: 0

Rating 4.80 / 5 [36 ratings]

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Traditional Tea Ceremony wearing a Kimono in Kyoto MAIKOYA


Traditional Tea Ceremony wearing a Kimono in Kyoto MAIKOYA
Only Tea Ceremony venue to win the Tripadvisor Travelers Choice Award four years in a row. KYOTO MAIKOYA relocated to an old machiya house registered Tangible Cultural Property by the local government. It is a historic townhouse where you can feel the real Japanese culture and enjoy the tea ceremony by gazing at two picturesque Japanese tea gardens. You will make Green tea (Matcha) in an ancient style tea ceremony room wearing Kimono. Kimono is prepared for both males and females. Learning about a country through cultural workshops and activities will give you a better understanding of our intricate history, valued social principals and holistic way of life.

Price: ¥8,500

Min age: 7

Rating 4.75 / 5 [378 ratings]

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Destination guides including or relevant to this experience


Kansai, Japan

Geisha woman with white face paint

Ancient temples and shrines, sublime cuisine, manicured gardens, colourful geishas and living history in spades – Kyoto is traditional Japan at its best.