Tuesday, August 6, 2013

How to fold chakin (video)

A special linen cloth is used to wipe the tea bowl in a tea ceremony. It is called chakin which is about 30*15cm (12*6in) large. Before the ceremony begins in the preparation room, you nicely fold a damped chakin. Then it is ready to be taken into the tea room with other utensils.

I have introduced how to prepare matcha in the past entry. One of the readers told me that he wants to know how to wipe the tea bowl properly. The manner depends on school traditions. On this video, I’ll introduce the way that I learned at my tea school. I’ll show you how to fold chakin today, and how to wipe the bowl in the next entry.

Chakin linen cloth is available on our shop. Click this picture to jump to the shop.


  1. Hello, Kohei-san

    I am a complete novice to the art of japanese tea ceremony and your blog has been truly wonderful. Your tips and advice about tea, teaware, utensils, etc. are very helpful especially for a beginner like me.

    I have a question about the chakin. Is there a proper way to wash, stretch and maintain it?

    Also, is there a way to keep the fukusa in great condition. I know it is not supposed to be washed, so how do you keep it clean?

    I have tried so hard to look for answers on the web regarding these and sadly I could not find any. I hope you would be able to share your expertise.

    Keep those amazing posts coming and thank you in advance.


    1. glad to receive a comment from someone like you who is interested in Japanese tea ceremony.

      I don’t think there is a proper way of maintaining chakin. Personally, I usually wash it by hand with water, no soap. Once in a while, I machine-wash it with detergent, especially when the chakin gets some daubs of matcha. When it gets yellowish with long term use, you may bleach. However, bleaching makes the materialweak. Frequent bleaching is not recommended. By the way, at my tea school, my teacher washes the chakins with the washing machine after every class.
      There is a certain way of wringing a wet chakin and stretching it. It is difficult to explain the procedure with text, but I’ll try. I’ll post a picture of the procedure on my Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/everyonestea).
      After rinsing chakin in a tab
      1. Pick it up from the tab by holding the two corner tips in diagonal position. Then hold them in right hand.
      2. Fold it half
      3. Wring it
      -You can see the following procedures in my video.-
      4. Hold the two tips that you held in the beginning
      5. Unfold it by stretching sideway
      6. With your either hand, switch the corner that you are holding. Hold the rectangle horizontally long. Then stretch the long side by twisting your wrist a bit.
      7. With right hand, hold the corner where left hand is holding. Let the corner go from your left hand. Hold the next corner with left hand. Now, you have the rectangle vertically long. Then, stretch the short side.
      8. With the same procedure, rotate the chakin once again. Then stretch the other long side. Now you have stretched the three sides of chakin. It’s done with stretching and now begin holding.

      You are right. Fukusa is not supposed to be washed. Some people try to clean it with damped cloth but I think that it still has a risk of damaging the material or crating stains. Only what you can do is slapping it lightly. I know that you can’t completely clean it by slapping. I guess that you need to get a new one when it gets really dirty.

      Sorry for my English. If you have any question, feel free to let me know.

    2. Hello again, Kohei-San

      I am terribly sorry for the very late response. I have been really busy with making preparations for moving into a new place. I plan to hold a simple "at home" tea ceremony for my husband to celebrate our wedding anniversary on our new home this July :-)

      Thank you very, very much for the helpful Facebook post. The step-by-step photo for wringing and stretching the chakin is a big help. I just want to make sure that I do things right and traditionally.

      As for the fukusa, I try to "tap" or "shake off" the matcha powder that clings on the fabric. I guess you are right. There will come a time when I will just have to get a new fukusa.

      Your blog has made me appreciate chado - I am now enjoying matcha tea every morning and all your tips and posts have been immensely helpful.

      All I have to worry now is to how find an appropriate plant / flower for my hanaire. I am having a hard time on this since I live in the U.S. and the recommended Japanese flowers /plants for every month cannot be found here :-( Any suggestions? Your advise is will be greatly appeciated ;-)

      Please keep your posts coming --- Have a wonderful day ahead.


    3. Hi, Rin-san, I hope you enjoy your new place.

      How nice holding a tea ceremony for your wedding anniversary is! I’m sure that your husband will enjoy it very much. An excellent aspect of tea ceremony is not only that the guests get happy but also the host will receive a great pleasure by sharing the moment.

      I understand the issue about the flower. I also have difficulty on getting the flowers. In the past time, you might have been able to find them in neighborhood fields, but nowadays it is difficult. You have to grow them on your own. My tea teacher does it. She sometimes give me a nursery plant from her garden. I assume it will be much difficult to get seeding of Japanese plants in the US. You seem to know a lot about Chanoyu and you might already know what kind of flower we appreciate and how we arrange it. So, I think that it will be fine using some substitution from your native flowers. It is safe to choose the plants without spines or strong smell.

      I wish you a good luck on your ceremony!

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