While each month has its special characteristics, November is regarded as most important month of the chanoyu 茶の湯 calendar. The “New Year” of the Japanese way of matcha tea is celebrated with the Kuchikiri 口切り ritual.
In Japan, tea leaves are harvested every May, dried, packed into the chatsubo 茶壷 (tea jar), and stored in a cool, dark place for six months to mature. The umami of the tea leaves deepens, just like aging wine or whiskey. During Kuchikiri, the tea master cuts the seal of the chatsubo with a sword in front of the guests and removes the tea leaves. The leaves are ground into matcha and served as koicha (thick matcha/ formal matcha) so everyone tastes the new tea of the year together.
Kuchikiri has been handed down since ancient times as a very important ritual, though nowadays it is rarely performed. Yoshitsugu Nagano, a master of the samurai tea style Ueda Soko Ryu, introduced this custom to the New York City public when he arrived in 2019, and he continues to host the annual gathering.
Please join Chanoyu Week NYC 2023 in marking the occasion and enjoy the finest aged matcha!
Detail of Kuchikiri ritual 口切の儀
- Kuchikiri 口切
- Sumitemae(charcoal laying) 炭手前
- Congratulatory sweets 祝いの善哉
- Koicha (thick matcha) 濃茶
- Usucha (thin matcha) 薄茶
- Discussion time
Explanation of the Kuchikiri Ritual
- the history of Japanese tea ceremony
- the relationships of samurai and tea ceremony
- the spirituality of tea ceremony
- introduction of the tools that we use
- question and answer
*The contents are subject to change.
*If you have allergies, vegetarianism, or other dietary requirements, please contact us at least three days prior to the tea ceremony.