Contact Us

General inquiries

t 217.244.9934
f 217.333.9574

Office hours

Monday-Thursday: 9am–4pm
Friday: 9am–12pm

Please note that office hours are not open hours for visitors. Please see the FAQ below regarding visits to Japan House. Thank you.

Getting to Japan House

Frequently Asked Questions

When is Japan House open to the public?

There are public tea ceremonies, community classes, and other special public events, where the public is welcome to come inside. Otherwise, Japan House is generally closed to the public. Japan House is a unique teaching facility in the Fine and Applied Arts department at the University of Illinois. Because of this, Japan House is not open to the public during the week because university classes, specially scheduled events, and administrative work are happening inside.

Please see our calendar of upcoming events for details and to RSVP/purchase tickets as needed.

When are tea ceremonies held?

Public tea ceremonies are typically held on Wednesday evenings at 5:30pm during the academic year except for holidays.

Please see our calendar for additional special dates such as our Fall and Spring Open House. Online reservations are highly recommended as they are sometimes sold out and we may be unable to accommodate walk-ins.

How much does a tea ceremony cost?

Tea ceremonies are $15 per person and $12 for University of Illinois students and Tomonokai members.

Please note that a purchased ticket is required for all attendees, including children, regardless of whether they partake in the tea and sweet. Please do not bring additional guests for ‘observation’ as it is disruptive to the tea ceremony.

How do I make a reservation for the tea ceremony?

Please purchase tickets at our Eventbrite page.

If you have a large group (10+) or would like to schedule a private tea ceremony please call us at (217) 244-9934 or email us at

What happens during a tea ceremony?

You will have a brief tour of Japan House before the tea ceremony. The ceremony itself is a highly ritualized serving of tea and a sweet held as you kneel or sit in the tea room. The people that conduct the tea ceremony wear kimono and follow traditions that they have studied for many years. The tour and ceremony will last about an hour.

What should I wear to a tea ceremony?

You will need to wear white socks in order to walk on the tatami mats in the tea rooms (we have some you can borrow if needed) because the white signifies purity. You will also want to wear something comfortable kneeling or sitting in while on the tatami mats. We also ask that, as you would in Japan, you wear something so your legs are covered (no shorts/short skirts).

What if I can’t kneel on the tatami mats or have physical limitations?

Visitors are welcome to sit in a chair or wheelchair pulled up to the edge of the tea room. No matter what your mobility level is you can still take part in the tea ceremony.

Can I schedule a tea ceremony at some other time, or bring a group?

If you want to schedule a tea ceremony at another time it may be possible pending on the availability of our tea hosts, but there will be additional fees. Please contact us for more information.

Can children take part in the tea ceremony?

Children are welcome to take part in the tea ceremony, but they must be able to sit quietly for about 45 minutes. Parents/guardians are responsible for their behavior. If you are bringing children, you must purchase a ticket for them.

When are the gardens open?

They are open dawn to dusk spring through fall. You are always welcome to walk through the gardens on your own. For safety reasons, the tea garden with its rocky path is closed during the winter. Guided tours of the gardens are offered occasionally during the summer as well as during our spring and fall open houses. Guided tours for groups can be arranged—please contact us for cost and availability.

When do the cherry trees bloom?

Depending on the weather, the cherry trees bloom usually bloom sometime in the first two weeks of April but can bloom as late as the end of April to the beginning of May. We were honored to be given 50 cherry trees in 2008 by Dr. Sen of the Urasenke Tea School.