Japanese Tea Set

by Neal
(Anchorage, AK)

Question: We have a Japanese Tea Set that I purchased when I was over-seas 10 years ago. It is an 11 piece set. 1 teapot 5 cups, and 5 bowls (or what appear to be bowls). What are the bowls for, and what would a proper place setting look like?

Thanks so much,


Answer: Hello Neal,

Thanks for your inquiry. I am not an expert in Japanese tea ceremonies, but I do know that the bowls would be for rice or a traditional bean soup (or another type) the bowl would go in the center, like a plate, cup to the top right I believe, but again, I am not an expert.

I did find an interesting explanation of the 5 cups in a Japanese Tea Set, because here in America, it is normal for tea sets to come in sets of 4 or more, but almost always an even number. (Sets sold here in the US usually have four cups. Ones sold in Japan will have an odd number.) Even numbers are considered unlucky in Japan! You will find more interesting and thorough details here: http://tokiusa.com/bl/2009/01/16/why-5/

I hope this helps some!

Your Tea Party Guide

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