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The Japanese culture has many lovely and fascinating traditions, but most tea lovers feel that the tea ceremony is the most interesting custom of Japan. If you admire the deceptively simple beauty of a tea ceremony, you may be surprised to learn that it is a relatively new practice for this ancient culture. While Japan has been enjoying tea since it was imported from China in the 1100's, tea ceremonies didn't actually become widely popular until the 1400's.
As you research Japanese tea ceremony history, you will find that the tea ceremony was practiced by Zen Buddhist monks, who eventually decided to share the experience of tea with the military. Tea ceremonies and Zen were so closely linked that a tea ceremony actually became a religious experience.
As the ceremonies become more and more popular, people began to build teahouses. To beautify the area around the teahouses, they created tea gardens. The ceremonies became more involved with each new addition, but retained a spirit of simplicity and humbleness.
Today, the tea ceremony is still very important to many people who study Zen Buddhism. In addition, people who just enjoy the beauty of simple things or have a passion for tea frequently hold tea ceremonies.