In Japan, while bowls are traditionally used to serve rice and soupy dishes such as stewed foods, their versatility means that over time, they have seen many other uses—as coffee or cereal bowls if they are deep, and as charming containers to serve appetizers and snacks in if they are small. Here are some stylish Japan-made bowls that will surely brighten up your dining table.
Not Just for Japanese Food! Ways Bowls Are Used in Japan
Many Japanese bowls have simple designs and muted colors, so they can go well with a variety of food. Of course, you can get a rice bowl for each member of your family and enjoy Japanese home cooking, but bowls can have many more unique uses. Here are some examples:
Small, deep bowls can also be convenient to serve breakfast cereal in. If you get one with a simple design, it’s easy to wash even in the morning when everyone is busy.
Serve small portions of several different appetizers in large, shallow bowls or place just one appetizer in the middle for a dramatic effect! Smaller bowls are recommended for sauces and marinades, as well as for olives and nuts.
・For Pasta Dishes
Larger, shallow bowls are also great for serving pasta in. Colorful pasta dishes, such as tomato pasta, look especially gorgeous served in these kinds of bowls.
Japanese Bowl Production Regions and Their Characteristics
Depending on the production region, the crafting techniques used to make a single piece of Japanese tableware as well as the resulting texture and color can really differ. Following is a brief introduction to major Japanese bowl production regions and how they differ.
・Mino Ware (Gifu Prefecture)
Gifu Prefecture, which has clay that is ideal for pottery, is Japan’s foremost producer of ceramics. There are 15 types of Mino ware that are registered as traditional Japanese crafts. They are distinguished by their styles and the geographical areas they are produced in. Mino ware are generally known for their light colors, soft texture, and unique glazing. A wide range of Mino ware—from notable works of art to affordable everyday items—is produced in Japan, with approximately half of the ceramics made in the country today being Mino ware.
・Imari-Arita Ware (Saga Prefecture)
The Arita area of Saga Prefecture was the first place in Japan where porcelain clay was discovered and where porcelain was made. Imari-Arita ware are known for their durability and colorful paintings against the white porcelain clay.
・Edo-Kiriko (Tokyo Prefecture)
Edo-Kiriko glass, which originated during the first half of the 19th century, is still produced today mainly in Tokyo by approximately 100 skilled craftspeople. This craft is distinguished by the vivid contrast between the colored and clear glass, shown off through grooves in each piece.
*The [Bowl] Funew Bowl L Green introduced below is not Edo-Kiriko glass, but is produced by a manufacturer of Edo-Kiriko glass.
1. Oribe Shinogi 5.8 Medium Bowl | Mino Wares
A stunning bowl shaped like a flower in bloom with a beautiful deep green center. Each bowl is lovingly formed and painted by hand, giving it the warmth of a handcrafted item. The decorative lines are drawn as if they’re meeting in the middle, so why not place a small amount of food at the center? It’ll surely stand out!
・Size: φ6.88″ * H1.96″ (φ17.5 cm * H5.0 cm)
・Brand: Utsuwa roan (Mino ware)
2. Hanahana4 (Ss) | Mino Wares
An adorable small plate in the shape of a flower petal. It has little legs that make it have a presence beyond its size. Serve up an appetizer or small dessert on this plate to brighten up any party table. Marumo Kato Pottery, the studio that made this bowl, does far more than just traditional Mino ware. You’ll find all sorts of inexpensive and durable ceramics sold by them with lovely modern designs.
・Size: 3.93″ * 3.93″ * 2.00″ (10.0 cm * 10.0 cm * 5.1 cm)
・Brand: Marumo Kato Pottery (Mino ware)
3. 2016/ Christian Haas Deep Plate 150 (Pink) | Imari-Arita Wares
An Imari-Arita piece with a simple yet captivating design by German designer Christian Haas. The shimmering, soft pink glaze inside the bowl reminds one of cherry blossom petals. The outside of the bowl is left unglazed so that you can enjoy the natural texture of the clay. Its unique shape that is round at the top and triangular at the bottom gives it a modern look. Wonderful not just for meals, but also to serve sweets during a coffee break.
・Size: φ5.91″ H1.18″ (φ15.0 cm * H3.0 cm)
・Brand: 2016/ Christian Haas’ (Imari-Arita ware)
4. Funew Bowl L Green | Edo Cut Glass
“Funew” is a line by the Edo-Kiriko glass manufacturer Kimoto Glassware that addresses the issue of re-using imported wine bottles which are difficult to recycle. This item has an indentation in the middle so that it can be used as a bowl. Its appeal is its one-of-a-kind shape that will make you look twice. A wonderful item to add a little spice to an intimate dinner.
・Size: 3.66″ * 11.81″ * H1.18″ (720 ml bottle)
・Brand: KIMOTO GLASSWARE (Edo Cut Glass)
5. Tea Bowl | Mino Wares
Although this is called a tea bowl, it is used in Japan to serve steamed rice in. It would also be perfect for cereal or coffee. Its texture, color, and thickness combine to give it warmth. Not only is it easy to use, but it stacks easily, so you won’t have any trouble trying to store it either.
・Size: φ4.52″ * H2.55″ (φ11.5 cm * H6.5 cm)
・Brand: Utsuwa roan (Mino ware)
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*These products may not be able to be shipped to certain countries. Please see the retailer’s website for more information.
The information in this article is accurate at the time of publication.