Entertaining guests in chanoyu covers a very wide field, from the simplest 'bowl of thin tea and sweets', to the entertainment called a chaji (or sometimes a chakai), which includes thick tea and thin tea accompanied by chanoyu cuisine (kaiseki). The following are the main kinds of tea gathering being held today.
Large scale tea gathering
This is the simplest kind of tea gathering with only thin tea served. It is open to all members , or else it is opened to the public in the hope that large numbers will attend. Or it is held all over the country in shrines and temples and attended by large numbers of people. These are called 'oyose no chakai'.
Small scale tea gathering
Very private gatherings take place everywhere, enjoyed according to circumstances by small numbers of like-minded lovers of chanoyu. It may be members of the same school of tea who get together, or people from the same area, or the disciples of a certain tea master. These 'chakai' tea gatherings take place all over the country in the form of gatherings of fellow devotees.
These 'chaji' form the core of the chakai attended by small numbers of people. In due time, for those who act as hosts, there is the pleasure of offering thick tea and thin tea as well as kaiseki cuisine to guests at tea event or tea gathering. There is no greater pleasure than that of having a pleasant chat at such a gathering with close friends over food and drink. 'Chaji' have been known as 'chakai' for over 400 years, but these days there are many gatherings known as chakai, so to avoid confusion we like to call a formal tea event at which kaiseki cuisine is served a 'chaji'.