Collection: Japanese Tea Table

Price: $0$2,985
Sort by
Filter and sort Filter
Filter and sort

14 products


14 products

Japanese Tea Table

If you walk into the home of any Japanese family, chances are you will see a small, low-lying table atop a straw mat accompanied by small legless chairs or cushions around it. This is known as a Japanese tea table, and it is a staple part of any Japanese household.

However, tea tables are not just pieces of furniture. They are also an essential component of the traditional Japanese tea ceremony, where powdered green tea, or matcha, as it is commonly known, is meticulously brewed and served. What makes tea tables so alluring is that they are both visually stunning yet fully functional at the same time.

Buying a Japanese tea table can be a daunting experience, especially if it is your first time. To help you out, we've compiled an article on all there is to know about Japanese tea tables so you can make your decision with confidence.

Read on to find out more.

Japanese tea table

What is a Japanese Tea Table?

As is evident by its name, a Japanese tea table is a piece of furniture specifically designed to be used during traditional tea ceremonies. They are characterized by their short, low-lying heights measuring up to 30 centimeters tall. Sometimes, the height of tea tables is even shorter, measuring just 15 cm from floor to table surface. Thin, rectangular tea tables can typically accommodate up to two people sitting across from each other on either side. However, round, circular tea tables may be able to situate an entire family.

Apart from being used in traditional tea rituals, Japanese tea tables also serve as standard furniture pieces in the home, doubling as a coffee, dining, or reading table. They can be used for studying, eating, or spending quality time with friends and family.

Japanese tea table

Significance of Japanese Tea Tables

Unlike the West, having meals while sitting on the floor is a trademark characteristic of East Asian dining and tea time. Chanoyu, the traditional Japanese tea ceremony, requires the serving of matcha green tea to be on a tea table in a designated tea room. This ritual of hospitality dates back centuries, and is a major reason why tea tables are such an integral part of Japanese culture.

Some sources trace the tradition of floor sitting for meals to kami, or the Japanese belief of spirits. According to legend, the Japanese believed that spirits inhabited their tatami mats. If they dined while sitting on these mats, the spirits inside would be happy with them, which would bring them more bounties. In this way, sitting on the floor to eat meals became a Japanese traditional custom.

Key Japanese Tea Table Accessories

You will often find certain key components accompanying Japanese tea tables. These components are there to complement the tea table by making the dining experience for the user much more comfortable. The following are some accessories that you can often find existing in conjunction with tea tables.

Tatami Mat

Tatami mats are a key component often found in Japanese tea table and chairs sets. Tatami is a traditional Japanese material used primarily for flooring purposes. Originally made out of tightly woven and compressed rice straw, modern tatami mats are now made out of either flattened wood chipboard or polystyrene foam. They are durable, sustainable, and long-lasting.

Tatami mats serve as a comfortable and soft surface for guests to sit on. There are also special tea tables designed to be used exclusively with tatami flooring, known as tatami tea tables. These tables are often multi-functional as well, shifting easily into a bench, making them all the more purposeful.

Zabuton (Floor Cushions)

Floor cushions, or zabuton, as they are known locally, are another common accessory of the Japanese floor table. Often described as miniature futons due to their unique individual-accommodating shape, zabuton make sitting on the floor a much less distressing experience. These rectangular cushions are neatly arranged on the floor with a tea table placed meticulously in the center.

Made by stuffing folded layers of cotton in fabric, zabuton often has a defining rounded top to allow for better body weight support. The cushion is also recognized by its characteristic dip in the center as well as tassels at each corner. These cushions amazingly also have the property of retaining body heat which makes them ideal for the winter season.

Zaisu (Floor Chairs)

Similar to zabuton, zaisu also provide floor-sitting support to guests seated at a tea table. However, while the former is a floor cushion similar to a pillow, the latter with its backrest resembles a chair more closely.

Think of it as a chair with no legs placed directly on the floor. Those seated can enjoy a comfortable backrest while they dine, read, or meditate. Zaisu are often paired with tatami mats under kotatsu tables.

Japanese tea table

Materials of Japanese Tea Tables

Japanese tea tables can be made out of a variety of different materials. The type of material used affects the longevity, beauty, and functionality of the table. The following are some common materials used to construct Japanese tea tables.

Wooden: Wood is the most common material for tea tables, due to its carvable nature allowing for greater diversity in designs. It is also strong and durable, so it doesn't wear too easily. Common wood forms for tea tables include cedar, oak, and cherry.

Bamboo: Bamboo with its flexible and sustainable qualities makes it a great choice for any furniture creation, and it is a top material used in East Asia. It is also cooling and airy and has a certain attractive aesthetic appeal.

Rattan: Also known as wicker, rattan is a woven material that is often used in home furniture for its lightweight quality. Tea tables made of rattan are common in many households as they are airy and give a boho feel to the home.

Chabudai vs Kotatsu- What's the Difference?

There are two main types of Japanese low tea tables: Chabudai and Kotatsu. Both are mainstream tea tables found in households all over Japan, but when it comes to purpose, functionality, and aesthetics, the two are very different.


First up, Chabudai tables. Short-legged and typically made of wood, a Chabudai is the standard Japanese tea table, found in millions of homes worldwide. It is one of the first names that comes to mind when the word Japanese tea ceremony table is mentioned. It can be either round or rectangular in shape, it originally has also been circular with the purpose of bringing families together.

Zabuton or Zaisu are often placed carefully around the Chabudai, and intricate tea sets sit atop it. A Chabudai table can be used for all types of leisure activities both indoors and outdoors, making it all the more versatile. Its compact and foldable nature also makes it easy to store and allows for greater room space when it is not needed. Chabudai tea tables come at all price points, with the more intricately carved and beautiful ones more expensive.


Kotatsu is another type of tea table that is more seasonal in its usage. Even the word kotatsu reflects its purpose, with the first part of the word ko meaning fire or torch, and the latter part tatsu meaning foot heater. As you can probably tell, Kotatsu is a type of tea table that is used during winter months to keep a family warm and cozy. Unlike the simple Chabudai, the Kotatsu has several parts to it.

At its core, the table consists of a wooden frame. This frame is covered by a futon or heavy warm blanket underneath a table top which ties it in place. Underneath this table is one more additional component: a heat source. This can be either an electric heater or a charcoal brazier as it was originally. Although this used to be a separate component that needed to be set up, the heat source is now often built as part of the table, so there is no additional setting required.

The kotatsu lies a bit higher than the Chabudai, at about 36 cm off the ground. This comes to about knee length and allows management of the heavy futon. Compared to the Chabudai, the Kotatsu is also a bit more expensive to buy, and can only be used half the year during the winter months. In homes where central heating is installed, you may not even need a Kotatsu. However, it is a common type of tea table that is even found in many Japanese restaurants all over the country.

Japanese tea table

The Characteristics of Japanese Tea Tables

Low Height: Japanese-style tea tables are typically very low, with heights ranging from 15 to 30 centimeters. This design allows people to sit on the floor, cross-legged, on tea cushions or sitting pads, creating a relaxed and comfortable atmosphere.

Square or Rectangular Shape: Japanese-style tea tables are often square or rectangular in shape, with relatively small dimensions to accommodate the needs of tea ceremonies. Tea utensils, flower arrangements, and snacks are usually placed on the tea table during the ceremony.

Natural Material: Traditional Japanese-style tea tables are commonly made from solid wood, such as oak, cherry wood, or paulownia. These wood materials showcase natural textures and beautiful colors, emphasizing the beauty of simplicity and naturalness.

Minimalist Aesthetics: Japanese culture values simplicity and the beauty of the natural world. The design of Japanese-style tea tables usually avoids excessive decoration and intricate patterns, focusing on simplicity and elegance.

Slightly Indented Surface: Some Japanese-style tea tables have a slightly indented surface at the center, known as "chabudai" (tea table) or "sunoko" (seat groove). This design is intended to accommodate the legs and provide a more comfortable sitting position for those gathered around the tea table.

Japanese-style tea tables are not merely pieces of furniture; they also symbolize a part of Japan's traditional culture. During tea ceremonies, tea tables play essential roles, serving as platforms to display tea utensils and embody the spirit and ritualistic aspects of the tea ceremony. Although modern lifestyles and furniture design have evolved, many people still choose Japanese-style tea tables as a means of preserving and carrying forward the traditions and culture of Japan.

Japanese tea table

Why So Many People Prefer Japanese Tea Table?

1. Create a Peaceful Atmosphere.

The low and tranquil design of a Japanese tea table, along with the sitting posture of cross-legged or kneeling, helps create a serene and relaxing ambiance. This posture allows people to be closer to the ground, experiencing the natural harmony and aiding in stress relief and reducing anxiety.

2. Promote Communication and Togetherness.

Sitting around a Japanese tea table encourages communication and bonding among individuals. The seating arrangement brings people closer together, allowing for more natural conversations, sharing, and interaction.

3. Emphasize Etiquette and Respect.

Japanese tea tables are often used in tea ceremonies, a traditional cultural practice that emphasizes etiquette and respect. During a tea ceremony, the host follows specific rules to serve guests, and the tea table serves as a place to display tea utensils and snacks, showcasing the host's respect and hospitality to the guests.

4. Provide Aesthetic Enjoyment.

Japanese tea tables are designed with a focus on simplicity and natural beauty. They are often crafted from solid wood, showcasing the natural grain and colors of the wood. Using a Japanese tea table provides an aesthetic experience, allowing people to appreciate the unique charm of Japanese traditional culture.

5. Promote Physical Flexibility.

Sitting cross-legged on the floor requires a certain level of physical flexibility. Regular use of a Japanese tea table can help enhance flexibility in the legs and hips and promote better blood circulation.

6. Space-Saving.

Japanese tea tables are typically minimalist and compact in size, making them suitable for limited spaces. Unlike some high tables and chairs, Japanese tea tables do not take up much space, making them ideal for small apartments or spaces with a minimalist design.

7. Enhance Understanding of Traditional Culture.

Using a Japanese tea table and participating in tea ceremonies can deepen one's understanding and experience of Japanese traditional culture and values. Tea ceremony, or "chanoyu," is considered one of Japan's cultural treasures, and by participating in it, people can appreciate the charm and profound heritage of ancient Japanese culture.

Where to Buy the Best Japanese Tea Table

Are you on the lookout for a high-quality Japanese tea table that will make your home shine? At Umi Tea Sets, we have just the solution for you, with our incredible range of beautiful small japanese tea tables available for purchase. Our products come straight from Japan, so you can be assured that you are getting an authentic piece.

We have some wonderful designs ready to be taken home by their rightful owner. Check out our collection of traditional Japanese tea tables here!