Nihoncha Instructor Association Certification

Nihoncha Instructor Association CourseThe Nihoncha Instructor Association (日本茶インストラクター協会) is a non profit organization with the purpose of preserving and promoting Japanese tea.

They offer three levels of certification:

  1. Japanese Tea Advisor (日本茶アドバイザー)
  2. Japanese Tea Instructor(日本茶インストラクター)
  3. Japanese Tea Master (日本茶マスター)

A Japanese Tea Master is an instructor that has been a member for a long time. He receives this title as an acknowledgement to his experience and knowledge in general.

An instructor has all the required knowledge on Japanese tea, and can instruct both the general public and Japanese tea advisors.

The advisor posseses the basic knowledge and can serve as a guide for the general public and an assistant for a Japanese Tea Instructor.

Because I wasn’t living in Japan at the time, I chose the option of taking the Japanese Tea Instructor course (as opposed to the advisor course) so that I could receive the Japanese Tea Advisor certification without taking the practical taste in person.

To be an instructor, I have to travel to Japan and take the practical test. This test isn’t easy, because it involves evaluating teas after tasting them.

Nihoncha Instructor Association sample teasThe course includes 5 books, 2 DVDs, and many tea samples.

Let me give you a quick overview of what the three main books cover

  • Tea history
  • Cultivation
  • Processing
  • Tea chemistry
  • Brewing guidelines
  • Tea and health
  • Other uses for tea
  • Overview of the Japanese tea industry
  • World tea production
  • Applicable laws
  • Applicable governing bodies
  • Industry organizations
  • Tea appraisal
  • Teaching techniques for tea instructors

The other two books are a dictionary and a log of statistics. Finally, the DVDs cover some of the topics in more detail.

The tea samples are very interesting. It’s not just different types of teas, but also finished and unfinished teas of the same type that should be evaluated.

Three written reports should be sent. These will be scored and returned to you.


Unfortunately, as of now the course can only be taken in the Japanese language. I hope that in the future we can have at least an English version.

I had a hard time with the reports because they had to be handwritten in Japanese!

But I had a lot of fun and it was a great learning experience.


  1. Valeria
    August 10, 2016

    Dear Ricardo,

    Thanks a lot for this valuable information!
    Do I understand it right that one can take this course at home using the books/DVD/samples, and then, writing tree reports in Japanese, obtain a certificate of the Nihoncha Adviser? Without going to Japan?
    Well… hand-writing in Japanese seems really hard though, but not impossible! 🙂
    Can I also ask you how much this course costs?
    Thanks again for sharing!

    1. Ricardo Caicedo
      August 10, 2016

      Hi Valeria

      Yes, you can take the course at home and if you write the reports and get a passing grade you will get the nihoncha advisor certification. Without going to Japan.

      Note that it is a lot of reading. And very technical terms, especially the parts of machinery, chemistry and cultivation techniques. But it’s doable if your Japanese is good enough.

      I looked at their website and the course would be 71,280 yen. Plus the cost for shipping the material to you.

  2. Valeria
    August 11, 2016

    Thanks, Ricardo! Very helpful!

  3. Mayre
    September 26, 2016

    Is there a timeframe of when you must complete the course and send in the reports?

    1. Ricardo Caicedo
      September 28, 2016

      Hi Mayre

      Yes, for the instructor course the whole program is six months.

  4. Pauline Daïd-Poisot
    November 19, 2018

    Thanks for the article! Would you recommend to go straight to the instructor program or start with the advisor one? Also, do you think it’s doable for someone who has the level around N3/N2 ?

    Thank you very much!

    1. Ricardo Caicedo
      November 19, 2018

      Hi Pauline.

      You can start the instructor program, and if you pass the written material then you automatically receive the advisor certification, without the need to travel to Japan. For the instructor certification, you need to be in Japan and pass the tea tasting.

      Are you good at reading in Japanese? There are many technical terms in the texts. I think that with N2 you can achieve it, but it will take much more time because you have to continually look for words in the dictionary.

      1. Raffaella
        March 6, 2020

        Hi is there an option to do thuis course in English?
        I am looking for courses to become Japanese tea expert but I live in In the Netherlands and I don’t speak Japanese.

        1. Ricardo Caicedo
          March 6, 2020

          Hi Rafaella

          There is no option for another language besides Japanese yet. But according to my friend in Japan, they are working on it.
          Another thing you can do is take an internship at a tea farm, those programs can be in English.

  5. Bonnie
    February 24, 2019

    Hi Ricardo
    Do you know of any Japanese Tea certification programs in English?

    1. Ricardo Caicedo
      February 24, 2019

      Hi Bonnie

      There is one from NAJTIA, I reviewed it here:

      1. Erika
        July 30, 2020

        This book is no longer available on the website. Do you know of any other way to get it, either online or in print? Alternatively, do you suggest another text or course in English for someone who cannot read enough Japanese yet to take the exam but wants to prepare?

        1. Ricardo Caicedo
          July 30, 2020

          NAJTIA is no longer in business.
          You can buy the book in Amazon Japan:
          Supposedly, the Nihoncha Instructor Association are working on their course in English, they’ve been saying that for some years.

          1. Erika
            August 6, 2020

            Thanks for the information! Do you mean that it is available only in Japanese?

          2. Ricardo Caicedo
            August 6, 2020

            The book? Yes, it is only available in Japanese for now.

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