The Japanese tea ceremony is called chanoyu (茶の湯, lit. “tea hot-water”) or also chadō or sadō (茶道, “the way of tea”) in Japanese. It is a multifaceted traditional activity strongly influenced by Zen Buddhism, in which powdered green tea, or matcha (抹茶), is ceremonially prepared and served to others.

The get-togethers for chanoyu are called chakai (literally “tea meeting”) or chaji (literally “tea function”). Usually the term chakai is used to refer to a relatively simple course of hospitality that includes the service of confections, usucha (thin tea), and perhaps tenshin (a light snack), while the term chaji refers to a more formal course of hospitality usually including a special kind of full-course meal called kaiseki (懐石) or more specifically cha-kaiseki (茶懐石), followed by confections, koicha (thick tea), and usucha (thin tea). A chaji may last up to four hours.