yunomi japanese tea cup

What Are Yunomi? All Things to Know About Japanese Tea Cups

What is Yunomi?

A yunomi is a traditional Japanese tea cup used for drinking tea. The "yu" in yu-nomi means hot water, and the "nomi" means to drink. Therefore, it is basically a tea container used for drinking hot beverages (of course, cold tea can also be poured into it). The characteristic of a yunomi is that it is not too large and feels comfortable in the hand. Hot tea or coffee may be poured, and by holding the bottom of the teacup and the top of the teacup, you can enjoy the hot beverage without burning yourself. There are various forms and styles of teacups, and they are made of various materials such as ceramics and porcelain. It can be said that teacups maximize the appeal of Japanese tea and other hot beverages.

Brief History of Yunomi

The history of yunomi is said to have begun around 1,000 years ago during the Heian period (794-1192). It is said that yunomi, tea utensils, were introduced to Japan along with tea from China, and gradually began to be used in Japan. In the Edo period (1603-1867), about 400 years ago, tea utensils for sencha (green tea) and teacups for drinking hot water began to be used along with the popularity of sencha. As time went by, the names of tea utensils changed, such as "tea bowls" and "teacups.

Difference between Tea Bowl (Chawan) and Yunomi

Originally, tea utensils used for making tea were called "tea bowls. As time went by, the term "tea bowl" became established to refer to the ceramics themselves, and the names of tea bowls changed according to their uses. In Japan, the following are typical tea bowls.

This one is called "Matcha Tea Bowl”.

Match Chawan

This is a tea bowl used for serving matcha green tea as you all know. It is characterized by its depth and wide mouth. It has a structure that makes it easy to make froth with a Chasen and is used for enjoying Matcha tea. The wide mouth makes it easy to smell the aroma of the tea and to feel the appeal of matcha.

The next type is called "Sencha-Chawan" or "Kumidashi Chawan”.

Sencha Chawan

This type of teacup is mainly used for entertaining guests and is often used to hold sencha tea. A kyusu (teapot) is also provided as a set, and is used to pour the tea leaves after they have been soaked in hot water and extracted. It is also used when inviting guests to one's home, and tea is often served in this sencha bowl when visiting clients in the business scene.

This last one we will introduce here is a "Yunomi”.


Unlike other teacups, you can clearly see that this teacup is tall and has a deep bottom. Basically, this teacup is often used for drinking hot drinks such as tea by yourself. Even if you pour a hot drink, you can drink it while avoiding the heat by holding the bottom and the top of the teacup with both hands.

What is Meoto Yunomi?

The word "Meoto" in the word "Meoto Yunomi" means "Married Couple" in Japanese. In other words, meoto yunomi is a teacup for use together. These teacups symbolize marriage and the bond between husband and wife, and are often given as gifts. A set of teacups obtained at a special time can be a very nice gift that leads to confirming their love for each other and remembering their memories of each other as they use them in their daily lives. In fact, many couples in Japan give them as wedding gifts or at the timing of their wedding anniversary.

How to Use a Yunomi?

There are no clear rules for how to use a yunomi like there are for making matcha tea. Therefore, basically, you can pour warmed tea into a yunomi and enjoy it in your own way. On the other hand, if you want to bring out the best flavor of the tea, it is recommended to brew tea with tea leaves and hot water in a kyusu. Although it depends on the material of the teacup, pouring tea brewed in a kyusu into a teacup made of ceramic or porcelain will give you a very wonderful aroma and a very relaxing experience. Taking time to brew and savor a cup of tea is definitely an important part of your busy daily life.

The 5 best Yunomi Tea Cups

When enjoying a cup of tea, the time you spend with it becomes even more wonderful if you pay attention to the teacups you use. However, there are so many teacups to choose from that it is sometimes difficult to know which one is the best. In this issue, we will introduce five teacups carefully selected, and we believe that you will not regret your choice. So, let’s check it out!

Sangiri Bizen Ware Yunomi Teacup

Japan Objects STORE

This is a set of two teacups made of Bizen ware, a famous ceramic ware. The unglazed surface of the teacups is rough and evokes the feeling of clay. The greatest characteristic of this Bizen ware is its simplicity. This teacup is perfect for those who want to create their own original teacups over a long period of time.

Flower Crystal (Green Tea) Yunomi (2-Piece Set)


This set of teacups is Kiyomizu-yaki made in Kyoto, Japan. The surface of this piece has a floral pattern on it, as if it were coated with crystal, giving it a unique beauty. This surface coating is created during the process of cooling the piece during the firing process, and no two pieces are alike. We recommend this piece to those who are looking for their own original teacups.

Crane Kyoto Ware Yunomi Teacup Set

Japan Objects STORE

This teacup features a design of a crane and plum blossoms, which are symbols of longevity and good fortune in Japan. The tea served in these teacups, which are made by Kyoto craftsmen, brings a warmth and spiritual relaxation that ordinary teacups cannot provide. The raw material used is porous clay, which brings out the aroma and flavor of the tea to the fullest.