Before the name Sen no Rikyu became synonymous with the art of the tea ceremony (formerly chanoyu, now called sado), he was born into a wealthy merchant family. At the time, Sakai City flourished as a hub of international trade, and many types of culture flourished. He met a merchant in Sakai, Takeno Joo (1502-1555), and began to study tea ceremony under him. Rikyu eventually refined the style of the tea ceremony developed by Takeno and his predecessors called wabi-cha, focusing on purity and spirituality while avoiding all extravagance; the style of tea ceremonies currently practiced today.
Other fundamentals of tea ceremony include hospitality toward guests, and establishing an emotional bond between guest and host. There are places where this type of tea ceremony can still be enjoyed in town. There are also many shops that purvey traditional sweets called wagashi, as well as family-owned tea shops that have operated for centuries and are beloved by townsfolk. One such shop originally opened in 1850 as Tea House Tsuboichi, and now operates a café in a renovated townhouse that is over 300 years old.