Ways of Art and Etiquette


Ways of Art and Etiquette

There are many forms of traditional culture in Japan. Sado (tea ceremonies), kado (flower arrangement), shodo (calligraphy), and bonsai are particularly popular among foreign tourists, and a survey shows that many people wish to experience or view them. These arts, called “geido,” which means “the way of art” in Japanese, give attention to time and space. Each of them requires certain movements and has a spirit that is also called a “micro-cosmos.” This article introduces outlines of these arts and the etiquette they require, as well as the places where you can experience or appreciate them.


Tea ceremonies

The Japanese tea ceremony is a comprehensive art with a Zen influence. The cups and utensils for the tea and the tea room are beautiful and have a sublime atmosphere, reflecting the intention of welcoming and offering hospitality to guests. Etiquette is required on the part of both the host and the guests, and they are intended to enjoy communicating with each other according to such etiquette.

Although the above description makes Japanese tea ceremonies sound very formal, there are places where you can experience a Japanese tea ceremony with an instructor who will introduce you to the basics of tea ceremonies. Please relax and enjoy such an experience.


Explanation of tea ceremonies
*Basic etiquette of Japanese tea ceremonies
During the development of the Japanese tea ceremony, several major schools of the Japanese tea ceremonies were formed. Although manners differ in each school, the following website explains basic Japanese tea ceremony etiquette.


Flower arrangement

Japanese flower arrangement is a traditional Japanese art, in which a space combining flowers and plants, a vase, and various other materials is presented as a work of art. It is also called “kado” or “ikebana.” It has now spread around the world, and many people visit Japan with the purpose of experiencing a Japanese flower arrangement. There are currently more than 2000 schools of kado or ikebana that center on the three major schools of Ikenobo, Ohara, and Sogetsu are passing on the art and aesthetic to the modern world.
[JNTO] Traditional Culture
Ikebana (flower arrangement) schools
Japanese Flower Arrangement Experience


In Japan, some engage in calligraphy as a form of art, while others practice it from a young age as a part of their education. Why not experience drawing Chinese characters using traditional tools, taking advantage of the precious opportunity to visit Japan? You can find calligraphy classes in large cities, where English-speaking instructors are available.

If you wish to appreciate calligraphic works of art rather than experiencing it yourself, please visit art museums, other museums, shrines, or temples near you. The following are an art museum and a museum that specializes in calligraphy.


Calligraphy experience
Art museum and museum specialized in calligraphy

Bontei / Bonsai

Bonsai is an art form in which trees are grown in small containers in order to appreciate the beauty of their appearance. A great deal of time and much effort is required to contain trees that originally range from several meters to ten meters in height in spaces that measure only tens of centimeters.

Although the popularity of bonsai declined for a time, it began gathering attention in Western countries around 1990. Since then, it has once again been receiving attention as an art form.

Although growing bonsai basically takes at least several years once it is started, you can receive a one-day experience class at SHUNKAEN in Tokyo. If you would like to appreciate bontei (tray landscape) or bonsai works rather than experiencing them yourself, the Omiya Bonsai Art Museum in Saitama, which is very close to Tokyo, is recommended.


[JNTO] Traditional Culture


Bonsai experience
Museum specializing in bonsai