I didn’t realize until I started to live in the United States, that Japanese tableware was so special. Without knowing, Japanese customarily mix and match different pieces of unique plates, cups, bowls, chopsticks, etc. every day.
Japanese tableware never comes as a complete dinner set; actually, the idea of a complete set of tableware doesn’t really exist. For instance, cups and plates are often sold as a set of 5, but people match the plates with other smaller plates or bowls.
Unique big and small bowls made by craftsmen are sold by themselves. Rice bowls and chopsticks, which are so essential to Japanese food, are usually personal items and not to be shared, like coffee mugs in the U.S.
People regularly mix/match/change different pieces of tableware every meal depending on the food served, and learn that certain food looks better on a certain plate or bowl to enhance the presentation. This type of pleasure of food presentation is not exclusive to prominent restaurants. It is arranged for every home cooked meal in Japan.
Quality of Japanese tableware is high, even though good number of them are mass manufactured. A tableware wholesaler once explained to me that it is not easy for untrained eyes to detect which are really handmade. But still there are many studios all over Japan that produce hand made, hand painted tableware.
Tableware for everyday use is very affordable in Japan, but rarely exported, probably due to the cost of packing and transportation. Japanese tableware I can find in the United States are expensive and poor quality. If you have a chance to visit Japan, walk into one of the insignificant tableware store in a small town, I bet you feel like to to buy a whole store.
We offer limited number of hand made Japanese tableware.