Tea party

Lady Satomi serving tea with daimyo Benju Matsutomo in the tea house in the formal garden behind his donjon in Aru.

A tea house, also written as teahouse, or tearoom, was a building dedicated to making and drinking of tea in Kara-Tur.[1][2][3][4] In Wa, there were whole tea gardens, or rojo,[4] and tea houses were known as soan (literally "grass cottage").[5]


Tea houses were common in Shou Lung, such as in Pingchow,[1] and in Kozakura, such as in Tamanokuni, Hiwasa,[6] and Kudoku,[7] and even wealthy Kozakuran temples maintained their own tea houses.[2] In Wa, there were fine teahouses in Iiso[3] and tea gardens in Rukimbaru[4] and Aru.[8] Smaller tea stalls and tea shops could be found in Nakamaru.[9]

In Faerûn, a tea room was a more conventional eatery, such as Rose's Tea Room in Ravens Bluff, which was operating around 1370 DR and sold, among many other things, tea.[10] Shou-style teahouses eventually appeared in Faerûn, such as Zhang's Teahouse in Xiousing area of Marsember, Cormyr, by 1479 DR. However, Zhang's Teahouse was frequented only by Shou.[11]

Wa-an StylesEdit

In the city of Iiso in Wa, the teahouses had a common and peculiar design related to the tea ceremony. First, patrons must crawl through a low doorway, called a nijiriguchi; this was to remind them of their servility. Inside, the interior had both angled ceilings and sloping floors to give patrons a feeling of being confined. The rooms were divided by byobu screens. In the main room, the tea was boiled in a ro placed in the corner, while the room called the chashitsu was for guests and an adjacent room called the katte was where the tea ceremony was prepared.[3]

In the city of Rukimbaru, tea gardens were large compounds set in specially reserved areas, which were quiet, isolated, and far from the hectic commercial districts. A normal tea garden was entered via a garden gate, called a rojiguchi, inside which was a rack for samurai to leave their weapons, as these were undesired in a place of peace. Within the compound, one corner was given over to the main garden, where cherry trees, plum trees, and rose bushes grew. There was also a meditation bench, a low stone basin called a tsukubsai, and a decorative area of polished pebbles and ocean sand called a sunazetchin. There were two tearooms: a small one for parties of up to four, and a large one in which parties of up to ten could sit comfortably.[4]

The homes of samurai, such as in Nakamaru, had personal tea houses and tea gardens within their compounds. This style of tea house was known as a soan, meaning "grass cottage", for its simple and rustic nature, but they were in fact carefully designed for artistic effect. One must first take a relaxing walk along the garden paths to reach the soan, which was ideally hidden just out of view within the garden. The soan was very small, typically holding only two or three people, but the walls could be shifted for more space. The walls had latticed paper windows protected by the elements by wood frames. People crawled through a low door to enter and sat on mats on the floor; again, this reminded them of their humility. A small hearth was placed in one corner and only the tea-making equipment and utensils were kept inside. The upper classes took pride in a well-designed soan and tea garden, or else envied those of others, while master architects specializing in them were in demand and paid highly.[5]

Smaller tea rooms were found within the houses of nobles, such as Benju Matsutomo, daimyo of Aru, but these were reserved for personal use by family and close friends.[8]


In Wa Year 1769 (1351 DR), the shogunate of Wa ordered daimyos to lift moral standards across the country. This even included banning waitresses from teahouses.[12][13]

Known Tea HousesEdit

Main: Category:Tea houses



  1. 1.0 1.1 Mike Pondsmith, Jay Batista, Rick Swan, John Nephew, Deborah Christian (1988). Kara-Tur: The Eastern Realms (Volume I). (TSR, Inc), p. 3. ISBN 0-88038-608-8.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Mike Pondsmith, Jay Batista, Rick Swan, John Nephew, Deborah Christian (1988). Kara-Tur: The Eastern Realms (Volume II). (TSR, Inc), p. 148. ISBN 0-88038-608-8.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Mike Pondsmith, Jay Batista, Rick Swan, John Nephew, Deborah Christian (1988). Kara-Tur: The Eastern Realms (Volume II). (TSR, Inc), p. 162. ISBN 0-88038-608-8.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Mike Pondsmith, Jay Batista, Rick Swan, John Nephew, Deborah Christian (1988). Kara-Tur: The Eastern Realms (Volume II). (TSR, Inc), p. 164. ISBN 0-88038-608-8.
  5. 5.0 5.1 David "Zeb" Cook (1987). Blood of the Yakuza. (TSR, Inc), pp. 14, 48. ISBN 0-88038-401-8.
  6. David Cook (1986). Swords of the Daimyo (Province Book of Miyama). (TSR, Inc), pp. 14, 18, 19. ISBN 0-88038-273-2.
  7. Teos Abadia (October 2011). “The Five Deadly Shadows”. In Chris Winters ed. Dungeon #195 (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 3–5. Archived from the original on 2013-05-09.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Nigel Findley (1990). Ninja Wars. (TSR, Inc), p. 6. ISBN 0-8803-8895-1.
  9. David "Zeb" Cook (1987). Blood of the Yakuza. (TSR, Inc), pp. 11, 20, 41. ISBN 0-88038-401-8.
  10. Ed Greenwood (November 1998). The City of Ravens Bluff. (TSR, Inc), p. 129. ISBN 0-7869-1195-6.
  11. Dan Anderson (October 2011). “Backdrop: Xiousing”. In Steve Winter ed. Dungeon #195 (Wizards of the Coast), p. 5.
  12. Rick Swan (1989). Test of the Samurai. (TSR, Inc), p. 5. ISBN 0-88038-775-0.
  13. Brian R. James and Ed Greenwood (September, 2007). The Grand History of the Realms. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 140. ISBN 978-0-7869-4731-7.
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