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Japanese Teaware: The Yunomi Teacup

Posted by Angelina Kurganska on

One of the things that surprises many Westerners when they first get acquainted with Eastern tea ceremonies is the style of the teaware.

From tiny gong fu cups which are only good for one sip to large Japanese style cups without handles! For someone who is used to the western teacups with elegant handles this style may come as a shock. How do I even hold it without getting burned!?, many ask.




What is a Yunomi Teacup?

Yunomi teacups are medium sized tea cups ranging anywhere from 90 to 160 ml. They are the most common used teacups in Japan and can be found in almost every eatery and home. Unlike the chawan which is used for more formal Japanese tea ceremonies, Yunomi cups are used for casual everyday tea drinking.

There are many styles of Yunomi teacups ranging from stoneware, porcelain, glazed, and unglazed teacups.

For example, Yunomi teacups in the Hagi style — glazed stoneware — are known to have a similar effect as Yixing clay teaware, where the teacup will start to gradually develop its own taste the more you drink tea from it. (You can read more about this here)

What are Meoto Yunomi Teacups?

Yunomi teacups have always been a popular gift both amongst Japanese people and tourists visiting Japan. Around the world, you can find many Yunomi teacup collectors thanks to the vast variety of styles they are created in.

Meoto Yunomi teacups are “couple teacups”. They come in pairs and are generally executed in the same style except one (the “husband” teacup) is slightly bigger than the other (“wife” teacup). They are a very popular wedding gift present in Japan.

How Does One Drink From A Yunomi Teacup?


The comfortable way to drink from a Yunomi teacup is to use both hands. With one hand hold the teacup and with the other support the teacup from the bottom. Drink slowly savoring the flavor and aroma of each sip.

Japanese teas are usually served at a much lower temperature than teas in the west. For example, Japanese green teas are usually served at a temperature between 135 and 175 ℉ (55-80℃).

Since the temperature is low enough the cup will not burn us. In turn, cupping the warm cup with both hands provides warmth and comfort during the colder months.

What Teas Does One Drink From A Yunomi Teacup?

In Japan pretty much any tea except for matcha is drunk from Yunomi teacups. Whereas for matcha chawan are used.

Some of the most popular teas in Japan include sencha, genmaicha, and the high-grade gyokuro.