In this article, we’ll be introducing popular glassware that is both beautiful and stylish and will bring joy to your teatime or evening drinks. A variety of glasses, ranging from traditional items made by experienced craftspeople, to ones with more contemporary designs, were carefully selected from among products available at BECOS, an online store which specializes in premium Japanese crafts. Just one of these superbly-designed glasses will bring a touch of elegance and luxury to your table. Every item on the list has been chosen based on such criteria as its material and design, so you can use this guide to find Japanese glassware that’s perfect for you.
1. Mino Ware, Shun Japan, Reikan Cherry Blossoms & Mt. Fuji, Hoei Glass, Clear
The decorations on this glass will magically change color when its temperature drops. It’s made by Marumo Takagi, a glass manufacturer established more than 130 years ago, and is decorated with cherry blossoms that are white at room temperature but turn pink when cooled to 17°C or lower. The glass’ unique shape makes it perfect for serving beer as the resulting head will bring to mind the snow-capped peak of Mt. Fuji.
This product is made using the techniques of Mino ware, a popular type of ceramic made in Gifu Prefecture, with a history stretching back 1,300 years. Mino ware has been an integral part of Japanese lives for centuries, and today accounts for approximately half of all ceramics produced in Japan. The Shun Japan glasses are not just examples of superb craftsmanship, but a great way to enjoy the traditional craft of Mino ware anew.
2. Kiriko, Rinzen Ienomi Glass -kiku shippo-, Red
This is a stunning glass made using kiriko techniques, which is the craft of cutting designs onto glassware. Tokyo Glass Studio Rinzen, the creator of this product, endeavors to manufacture products that bring the beauty of kiriko to as many people as possible by making something new day after day. That philosophy is expressed through their motto of “Founded in the year 0. No history. Only quality.”
While the cutting technique is an important element of kiriko, its mesmerizing shine is the result of the subsequent polishing process. There are two methods of polishing: acid-polishing and hand-polishing. Acid-polishing is a good method for mass production because it can process a large number of products at once, but the cut edges can get melted by the chemicals. Therefore, Rinzen is committed to hand-polishing its products and takes its time to maximize the brilliance and shine of its kiriko glassware.
3. Edo Kiriko, Mt. Fuji Rock Glass in a Wooden Box
This is a glass by Kimoto Glassware, which has been making glassware using traditional Edo Kiriko techniques since being founded in 1931. Edo Kiriko is distinguished by its delicate, uniquely-Japanese cut patterns.
An image of Mt. Fuji has been incorporated into the bottom of this glass so that when a drink is poured into it, the mountain comes into view, reflecting the colors of its contents. You can have fun with it by testing how differently-colored drinks change the appearance of this Mt. Fuji, making the glass a one-of-a-kind product and the perfect gift.
4. Tsugaru Vidro, Hokuyo Glass, Tsugaru Scene Free Glass Set
This is a set of versatile glasses made using traditional techniques from a type of glass craft called Tsugaru Vidro from Aomori, the northernmost prefecture on the main Japanese island of Honshu. Tsugaru Vidro produces delicate, colorful glassware and is recognized for its beauty as a Traditional Craft of Aomori Prefecture.
These products brilliantly capture Japan’s seasons and the rich nature of Aomori’s Tsugaru in glass with images of cherry blossoms carried away by spring winds, verdant fresh leaves, clear blue skies and the ocean, and fields of rapeseed flowers on the mountain foothills.
Also recommended is a mug that artfully captures the energy and splendor of the Aomori Nebuta Matsuri, a famous festival that features dazzling, massive lantern floats.
5. Yakumo Lacquerware, Yamamoto Yakumo Vidro Tumbler, Cherry Blossoms & Autumn Leaves
This is a glass by Yamamoto, a producer of Yakumo lacquerware with a history going back more than 130 years. Yakumo lacquerware refers to lacquerware made in Matsue City, Shimano Prefecture. It’s said that Sakata Heiichi developed this craft during the Meiji Period (1868 – 1912) by taking inspiration from Chinese lacquerware.
Yakumo lacquerware is produced by layering multiple coats of lacquer, which is then polished using traditional techniques. As a result, the transparency of the lacquer actually increases with time and the colors of the patterns become more vivid. Unlike other types of lacquerware, the charm and appeal of the Yakumo variety is enhanced the more you use it.
The spirit of Japan’s seasons is captured in this glass in the form of the cherry blossoms and autumn leaf decorations.
6. Edo Kiriko, KUROCO Tamaichimatsu Shot Glass
This glass is made using the decorative cutting techniques of Edo Kiriko, which were developed during the late Edo Period (around 1781 – 1867). It is the work of Kimoto Glassware, a glass wholesaler that has been instrumental to the development of Japan’s glassworks industry since its establishment in 1931. Kimoto Glassware has been specializing in Edo Kiriko glass since its inception and has endeavored to help it evolve to reflect changes in people’s lifestyles while also keeping Tokyo’s traditional craft alive.
This product is the world’s first black Edo Kiriko, a fusion of traditional Edo Kiriko techniques and innovative design ideas. It is decorated with the traditional Japanese ichimatsu pattern of alternating dark and light squares.
7. Satsuma Kiriko, satuma Double-Covered Ochoko (Gold-Red & Lapis Lazuli) in a Paulownia Box
This glass is made using the decorative cutting techniques of Satsuma Kiriko, which similarly to Edo Kiriko were developed during the late Edo Period (around 1781 – 1867). Satsuma Kiriko was made in the domain of Satsuma (present-day Kagoshima) but ceased to be produced after only 30 years. However, in 1985, a group of craftspeople decided to resurrect this traditional Japanese craft, and it has been in regular production ever since, winning itself a new generation of fans.
Satsuma Kiriko is distinguished by a unique type of gradation called “bokashi.” It can be seen in this glass as well, where transparent crystal glass is covered by a layer of gold-red and lapis lazuli, creating the signature Satsuma Kiriko gradation.
8. Soejima Glassware, Blown Glass, Beer Glass, Made in Japan
This is a glass made using the techniques of Hizen Vidro, a traditional glass craft of Saga Prefecture. It is produced by Soejima Glassware, a glassworks company founded more than 100 years ago.
Hizen Vidro has a long history going back to 1852 when Nabeshima Naomasa, the lord of Saga at the time, established a science research institute in his domain. Hizen Vidro is created by glassblowing, without the use of any molds, and therefore has a very smooth texture. It is also characterized by bright colors and gradations.
9. Rock Glass, Ryukyu Glass, Hotaru Coral Glass, Blue
This is a glass made using the techniques of the traditional Okinawan craft known as Ryukyu Glass. It’s offered by Kubagasaya, a Ryukyu Glass retailer that sells a variety of products ranging from drinking glasses to accessories. A distinguishing feature of this Okinawan craft is the air bubbles captured inside the glass, which add a particular charm to this unique glassware.
With a multitude of bubbles captured in a bright blue glass, this product brings to mind the beautiful waters of Okinawa. A luminous mineral called “Hotaru-ishi” (lit. “firefly stone,” meaning “fluorite”) is embedded in the material, so the glass gives off a mystic glow in the dark.
10. Aderia Japanese Sake Glass, Comes with Wooden Masu Box, Marumon 100ml Premium Nippon Taste Series, Made in Japan
This is a product by the glass tableware brand Aderia, which boasts a 200-year-long history. The glass comes with a “masu” wooden sake box. In Japan, the connoisseur’s way to drink sake is to put a glass in a masu and pour the sake so that it overflows a little into the masu. This is a must-have set for fervent sake lovers.
Both the glass and masu are decorated with multiple circles, which in Japan are considered good luck symbols. The glass is also adorned with gold leaf, which adds a touch of elegance and refinement to it.
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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.