Tea ceremonies have evolved a great deal since they first got their start in the ninth century, and as the ceremonies have grown and shifted in purpose, so have the tea houses that hold them.
Initially tea was seen as a medicine used to cultivate the mind, body and spirit; tea was seen as good for monks because it helped them to stay awake for long periods of meditation. For this reason, the military class sponsored the construction of large zen temples for monks to drink tea in. As tea began to grow in popularity beyond the temple, tea ceremonies became a source of entertainment for members of the upper class who could afford to gamble, read poetry and attend tea parties in extravagant pavilions. More information after the break.