ZEN(膳) means Japanese reception table and manner.

It was said to "NAORAI"(直会) in SHINTOH(神道), that originated Japanese reception.
and that was caused from one of table ceremonies for "God".
And it was a table and manner to have foods of offerings in front of an altar, together, after
the ceremony to be finished and such a talbe and manner enforced people to be in strong
unity among them.
The table and manner has been routing into "SADOH"(茶道)and "KAISEKI-ZEN"(懐石膳).

ZEN obtains 3 of courses.

      It is a formal table and manner of Japanese receptions for important ceremonies
      in Japanese society.
      ex: Wedding, funeral, etc. 
      The "KAISEKI" is caused from "SADOH"(茶道), tea ceremony and means to have
      some of cookings in order to satisfy a slight hangry feeling at "CHASEKI"(茶席)
      (Tea ceremony stage).
      It is the same pronunciation as above, but is quite different.
      This "KAISEKI" is called informal party "ZEN"(table), and is said to be
      originated in EDO(IEYASU) age.


HON-ZEN(本膳)= Formal table
"HONZEN", it is called the root of Japanese reception and manner, that the basic manner was established in HEIAN(平安)
KAMAKURA(鎌倉)age and the manner reach the peak in
MUROMACHI (室町)age.

HONZEN requires high formalities to not only the master, but, to guests,for cooking,
Also, table positions are in the formation.

In current days, we are able to see such HONZEN in very few chance,
ex. at Wedding reception by a rich and noble society in country side,or, ex. SHOJIN cooking (精進料理)at temple.

HONZEN obtains various table as followed. and use small table(stand) with high legs.

a. "HONZEN", or "ICHI-NO-ZEN -The first table(本膳・一の膳)
  It is a standard table that loads
  and 3 kind of cookings,as followed.
  - NAMASU( Fish, Meat, etc in vinegar tast.)
  - HIRA-WAN(Boiled vegetablein small bowl w/lid, etc.)     - KOH-NO-MONO(Steeped vegetable in salt.) 
  - Rice
  - SUIMONO(A cup of soup.)

b. "NI-NO-ZEN"-The sub(2nd) table(二の膳)
  The table concludes 3 cookings.
  - SUIMONO(Another cup of soup.)
  - NIMONO(Another boiled in bowl w/lid)
  - OHITASHI(Boiled vegetable in small cup)

c. "SAN-NO-ZEN"-The sub(3rd) table.(三の膳)
  - YAKIMONO(Grilled sea bream)
  - AEMONO(Dressed vegetable.)

These three tables consist the standard of HONZEN.
The master, further, sahll be able to present additional tablesfor guests.
These are called YO-NO-ZEN and GO-NO-ZEN.which are usually taken out by guests, ecept SUIMONO(soup).
and it is a rule that the guest does not take such cookings
at the stage.

d. "YO-NO-ZEN"(与の膳) with
  - KO-SUIMONO(soup in small cup)
  - AGEMONO(Tenpura, etc)

e. "GO-NO-ZEN", or "NAKASHI-ZEN"(五の膳・中酒膳)
  - UODEN.(Cooked fish)
  - SUNOMONO(cooking in vinegar tast.)
  - NAMASU( Fish, Meat, etc in vinegar tast.)
  - HIRA-WAN(Boiled vegetablein small bowl w/lid, etc.)
  - KOH-NO-MONO(Steeped vegetable in salt.) 
  - GOHAN(Rice)
  - SUIMONO(Another cup of soup.)



                "KAISEKI-ZEN" is caused among bonze in temples and had beenestablished by RIKYU(利休),who name is famous in SADOH historyand KAISEKI-ZEN seems to come to the popular standard ofcooking styles among poeple in Japan.
The main performace of SADOH is "SAJI"(茶事), tea ceremony, indeed, and KAISEKI-ZEN performs the full course of cooking to bring guest into the best stage of SAJI, tea ceremony.

KAISEKI-ZEN has own formalities among concerns for the master, guests, cook., etc. and tables are served orderly at a good timing with table conveniences.The master serves SAKE to guest in while of the course entertaining.

The cooking formation is.-

a. The first table.
  - GOHAN(a little Rice around with 3 pitches.)
  - MISO-SHIRU(Miso soup.)
  - MUKO-TSUKE(Sashimi, grilled fish and boiled vegetable.)

b. Secound table.
  - GOHAN(Rice)
  - CHOSHI(Sake)
  - SAKANA((Side dish)
  - TAKIMONO(Boild cooking)

c. Third table.
  - HASSUN(Another side table)
  - SUIMONO(A cup of soup)
  - CHOSHI(Sake)

d. Fourth table.
  - YUZUKE(Rice within Hot water)
  - KOH-NO-MONO(Steeped vegetable in salt.) 

This"" is called a party table in Japanese
style.  And it does not require such formalities in hard as HONZEN
or KAISEKI-ZEN, but in free,frank and relax mood.

is caused up for banquet among people who enjoy SAKE frankly with tasty cookings.
The standard table has arranged table with 1 soup and 3 kinds of cooking, but has changed the table conveniently to be cookings for SAKE party mainly, So, the first table obtains SAKI-TSUKE(Relish), ZEN-SAI(Hor d'orvre),etc., 2nd table rides Sashimi, Soup, and Boild, on 3rd table, we may find Steamed, Dressed, Grilled cookings., and finally Rice and steeped would be presented.

In current days, we could see various type of ,
and in free style.
All of types and styles are just for enjoying SAKE party and for many and unspecified participant.