How to Create the Perfect Table Setting with Traditional Japanese Tableware

Japanese tableware embraces the culture of Japanese people and how they dine. Just as they approach everything they do with fine attention to detail, so their eating utensils and tableware are made to compliment their intricate ways.

In Japanese culture the arrangement of the food on a table is just as important as the food itself. It is also believed that the shape, colour and feel of the dishes used help to further enhance the overall eating experience by making their food more visually appealing.

Every object is placed on the table with a purpose, with different utensils used for serving each type of food. And although their traditional table settings have varied over centuries, there are a few items that are considered to truly represent the epitome of Japanese fine dining.

Japanese Chopsticks and Chopstick Rests

Yu Sushi Plate Set

More traditionally known as ‘hashi’ and ‘hasioki’, these two items form an essential part of any traditional Japanese table setting. They are also probably two of the most recognised eating utensils used in Asian dining. When resting on a chopstick rest, the chopsticks should be placed parallel to the table with their points facing towards the left.

Sushi Sets

Traditional sushi setsusually comprise of two sets of chopsticks, a sushi plate for the sushi itself, and 2 dishes for which one is used to hold the wasabi and the other the soy sauce.

Japanese Tea and Sake Sets

Japanese tea sets are smaller than modern Western versions. Most teacups don’t have handles and the teapots are often flattened at the top with a Bamboo handle.

Sake pots or carafes however are more cylindrical in shape, with a full sake setusually made up of a single pot and four cups.

Japanese Bowls and Dishes, Crackleglaze and Plates

Japanese bowls and dishes tend to be smooth and round in shape. They are small in size so that they can easily be picked up by the diner to eat or drink from.

Crackleglazeconsists of decorative dishes made of colourful cracked glazed glass. They can also be used to serve food in and are especially ideal for dipping sauces.

Japanese plates are usually rectangular in shape and are mainly used for serving.

Japanese Vases

Japanese vases are more than often patterned with intricate details and make perfect gifts. Smaller mini ones can hold a single flower or can simply be used on their own as an ornament.

Dress up your table with a range of beautiful Japanese tableware available online from The Japanese Shop. Our fine porcelain and ceramic dinnerware is designed especially for the Japanese diet and includes a unique collection of serving and decorative pieces in simple, authentic designs.

“When I lived in Osaka I never ceased to be amazed at the number and the beauty of the little dishes and pots that were used when dining out, particularly in a ‘Ryokkan’ or traditional Japanese hotel. I enjoyed a number of Japanese meals, frequently with 5 or 6 different courses and it was sometimes actually quite confusing knowing which food was supposed to be dipped in which sauce! But invariably the taste was always the same … exquisite! My particular favourite was ‘tempura’ which is a selection of fresh and seasonal fish and vegetables which have been very lightly battered and quickly deep fried. The last time I enjoyed tempura in Japan was in Tokyo looking out over the river to the neon lit city skyline with the Tokyo tower in the background which for one night had been lit up in blue to celebrate Japan’s success in winning the football Asia Cup!”  Jez

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