The Way of Tea, with Context Travel

by Dr. Jessie Voigts /
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Aug 14, 2013 / 0 comments

Context, organizer of critically acclaimed walking tours, expands its program in Kyoto with The Way of Tea, a new history and cultural experience that offers travellers insight into the pivotal role traditional Japanese tea ceremonies continue to play in contemporary society.
Japanese tea ceremony, often referred to as the Way of Tea, is a central part of Japanese culture in which matcha (powdered green tea) is presented in a series of carefully choreographed steps. Served alongside the matcha are wagashi, traditional Japanese sweets meant to enhance the flavor of the tea.



    Context Travel - the Way of Tea    



Under the guidance of Randy Channell, a tea scholar who has been in Japan 30 years, guests learn the Way of Tea. Channell takes his disciples for the day through a basic introduction to the Way of Tea, showcasing the differences between formal and informal Japanese tea ceremonies and highlighting the essential aspects through interactive lessons.  


“Chado, or The Way of Tea, elevates the heart of hospitality to a complete art form with a special focus [on the relationship] between host and guest,” says Channell. “I am very honoured to be a part of this special world and excited to be able to give Context travelers the opportunity to experience first hand this quintessential Japanese cultural art.”    


Context Travel - the Way of Tea

Context Travel - the Way of Tea, Kyoto    


Channell has been studying chanoyu (the way of tea) since 1985 and graduated from the Urasenke Gakuen Professional College of Chado. He has since been involved in thousands of tea gatherings, conferences, demonstrations, lectures, and galleries. He presently teaches the Way of Tea in Kyoto at a shrine on the east side of the Imperial Palace and owns Hotei, a small Japanese café/gallery near the Nijo Castle. Besides teaching at Kyoto's Doshisha University, he also lectures at many other Japanese universities and colleges and has done so for visiting groups from abroad including those from Yale, Harvard, and, Georgia University.    


Context Travel - the Way of Tea


The Way of Tea lasts two and a half hours and is available daily. Group walks cost JPY6,500 per person. Private tours cost JPY30,000 per party. As with all Context walking seminars, groups are led by a credentialed expert and limited to six (6) people maximum.    


Founded by National Geographic writer Paul Bennett and designer Lani Bevacqua, Context Travel is a network of English-speaking scholars and professionals, including art historians, writers, architects and gastronomes, who organize and lead “walking seminars” in twenty-one world cities, including: Florence, Rome, Venice, Naples, Paris, London, Edinburgh, Madrid, Barcelona, Berlin, New York, Philadelphia, Boston, Washington, D.C., Istanbul, Athens, Prague, Vienna, Budapest, Shanghai, Beijing, Tokyo and Kyoto.

A certified B Corporation, Context was named one of the fastest growing American companies in 2011 and 2012 by Inc Magazine. Travel + Leisure has called Context one of the top European tour companies for its innovative approach to travel and the depth of its programs. To learn more about Context, visit: