Chado (茶道) is written with the characters for tea and way and is most often translated as "The Way of Tea". Chanoyu (茶の湯) (Hot Water for Tea) is a related Japanese word. Chado and Chanoyu are also often translated as "Tea Ceremony" when "Tea Gathering" or just "Tea" might be a better translation.
Some people think that Chado is a religion; it is no more a religion than Kyudo (the way of the bow). But it is true for both that some Buddhists find that they can be means to achieve spiritual advancement, like meditation. Some of the most common ways to appreciate Chanoyu is as meditation, for its beauty and for its social aspect. In Japan both today and in the past it has also been a means to status and a way to display ones wealth.
In Japanese it was the tradition to pronounce 'chado' more like 'sado'. This is still the case in most schools of Tea. In 1964 Urasenke decided that there was a bad association with the word 'sado' in English and therefore decided to start using the pronunciation 'chado' instead. Cha and Sa are both valid pronunciations of the character for tea (茶).
It is a peculiar fact that Chado is known by a inaccurate English translation "Tea Ceremony" while many other Japanese art forms are known in the West by their original Japanese names:
- Shodo 書道 - Calligraphy
- Kyudo 弓道 - The way of the bow
- Aikido 合気道 - Martial Art form
- Karate 空手 - Martial Art form
- Ikebana 生け花 - Flower arangement
- Origami 折り紙 - Paper folding