Japanese tableware is an interesting traditional craft because it exhibits different characteristics based on not just the area it's made in or its creator, but also due to the seasons or the piece's function. In this article we will focus not on famous kilns or wares that you can only use on special occasions, but instead we will introduce 4 recommended shops where you can buy lovely pieces of Japanese tableware for everyday use.
1. Utsuwa Kaede
“Utsuwa Kaede” is a small store that sits in an alley just off of Aoyama-doori. This small store measures less than 150 square feet, and inside it is full of beautiful bowls that the store owner, Yoko Shimada, has chosen specially. It's an extremely comfortable space that was made with huge windows to have as much light as possible enter so you can naturally see and appreciate the bowls' glazes, sizes, and quality. Also, every month, 1 or 2 potters are featured and their work is exhibited and sold, so it's a store that allows you to discover new things every time you visit. While handmade work by craftsmen has a very strong image of being expensive, Miss Shimada has said that most are priced inexpensively enough for an "impulse purchase", so please visit the store for a glimpse or two without feeling hesitation.
2. Utsuwa Daifuku
Utsuwa Daifuku, in an alley in Minami-Aoyama, offers a selection of painted and stained porcelain, every day bowls and glass dishes, accessories, and more. Among their wares, an especially recommended brand are the pieces from “Kutani Seiyou”. This brand uses traditional Kutaniyaki techniques, and they combine it with modern, cute designs and paintings to create a rare combination. There are also many bowls and accessories that you can give as presents to your friends and family, so please visit the shop if you get the chance.
Toukyo, in Nishi-Azabu, focuses on selling porcelain and industrial art crafts created by skilled craftsmen. “It's something that you use every day, so I collected items that people would think are beautiful and they would want to use every day,” says the store owner. Because of that philosophy, they have collected a wide variety of pieces from potters of the orthodox school to young artists trying new things. The owner also looks for undiscovered talent in order to make them well-known, and thus actively holds exhibitions as well. If you visit this store, you will be able to experience a huge variety of pieces by people from all walks of life.
URIKIRI-YA is the retail store of the tableware wholesaler, Iwama Toukiten, that was originally opened in 1902. Since it originally was a wholesaler, the variety of pieces that they handle is rather abundant. Because of the belief that “bowls are fashion too,” they want people to properly use tableware depending on the season, materials, and purpose. In this 2-story building, they offer around 5000 different pieces. It's fun just to look around. Also, the name “urikiriya” comes from the desire to “bring good products at prices that will sell out” (“sell out” in Japanese is “urikiri”; “ya” means “store”), so it's also a rather reasonably priced store. If you take a peek at their wares you'll definitely find something perfect for you.
*Credit cards are not accepted. Please be noticed that all products are in Japanese Yen only.
The shops featured in this article all spend a lot of time carefully selecting tableware that can be used on a daily basis. Your tableware should be pieces that you can use every day without getting tired of them. Please look for the tableware that is perfect for you.