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The Japanese Tea Ceremony ("chanoyu" or "chado") developed during the Momoyama period (1570 - 1600 AD). The upper (and, later, upper-middle) class enjoyed formal tea parties held in small rooms ("chashitsu") specially designed for the occasion. There are many schools of tea art ("ryuuha") current in Japan: for example, Omotesenke, Urasenke, and Mushanokoujisenke.
The special tea ("matcha") used in the tea ceremony is made from tea leaves that have been ground into a green powder. The matcha is put into the cup first. Hot water is then added and the tea is mixed with a special utensil. The host serves the tea to the guests one at a time. Each guest tastes and appreciates the tea before the next guest is served.