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Where to Buy Japanese Dinnerware (10 Top Ranked Companies) for the Ones Who Enjoy the Little Details in Life

Every day I enjoy my meals, so I love the small things in life, such as the plates or the utensils to ohashi (chopsticks) I use to enhance the enjoyment of my meals.

Life is short, and I do not need a million and one things, and a few pieces that are eclectic or distinctive will do because “I live to eat” vs. “eat to live.” So any meal can be enjoyable, and if you are the same way, I hope to highlight a few businesses that will contribute to your enjoyment of your daily/meals (it’s good to appreciate things on the daily).

Word of mouth, the storefront, to an advertisement is how we used to decide where we shopped. Now that we are shopping online more than ever, I am now that little bird on your shoulder helping you to find and determine the online seller that best suits you and what you are looking for (or a site with cool pictures or a cute-looking thingy).

Are you a Target vs. Walmart, Room & Board over Crate & Barrel, or Roche and Bobois over Ligne Roset type? Well, we will soon find out if you are a Miya or a Musubi Kiln type.
Photo Description: an image of Miya tableware/dinnerware set. Utensils, forks, spoons, dishes, side dishes, cup, etc.
If the above picture mimics the picture in your head (what you are looking for), then you are in the right spot, congratulations. The image is courtesy of Miya.

Disclosure: I only recommend products I would use myself, and all opinions expressed here are my own. This post may contain affiliate links that, at no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission. So a big fat thank you to everybody who does purchase through my affiliate links because it is very much appreciated. Also, there are several (majority of the) brands where I get absolutely nothing, but I want to support them, and I hope you will do the same (at least you get that cute thingy).

Photo Description:a plate by Jewel Japan of a cat plate. The black cats eyes can be seen (Japanese anime style and reminiscent of that iconic clock).
The cute thingy by Miya for only $16+ (or the set for $50+) and it is made in Japan.

The TL;DR (the Summary or “Too Long, Didn’t Read)

I wonder how some businesses get their ranking on Google, so I enjoy tearing these businesses apart to see if those rankings are warranted and here is the gist of my results:

  • Engagement and a top-notch global company and products goes to MusubiKiln.com.
  • If you are an American looking for some basic dinnerware, I have to recommend Miya.com.

For the rest, or the details, keep reading.

The Basics of Japanese Pottery and Porcelain

I had to learn these basics because I only had a vague idea that there are “hundreds of different wares and styles that have existed throughout Japans history” – via Wikipedia.org (of course Wikipedia has a full listing of all the types, and you will have to click the link to learn more). 

If it were not for the Chinese and Koreans, we would not be able to enjoy all of these uniquely Japanese creations 2,400 years later.

It’s also cool to see how the Portuguese have influenced Japan (I enjoyed Martin Scorsese’s movie Silence, but I mean with food, like tempura aka peixinhos da horta).
🇨🇳🇰🇷

My small contribution to understanding the hundreds of different wares is the naming convention:

  • Japan is made up of 47 prefectures (jurisdiction and administrative divisions). Just like wagyu and Kobe beef, they represent their prefecture, somewhat like Roquefort(village)/Occitania cheese or Champagne (was a province), France.
  • The first part of the name is typically the region (the regional brand): Kyo (Kyoto/Kyoto prefecture), Mino (Mino Province/Gifu prefecture), Iga (Iga/Mie prefecture), Kutani (Kutani/Kaga, Ishikawa prefecture), or Aritaware (Arita/Saga prefecture).
  • The second part usually consists of “ware”: yakimono (earthenware; pottery; porcelain; china), tōjiki (ceramics), or tōgei (ceramics/porcelain).

First Things First, I Want to Know What the Top Options Are

When I Google “where to buy Japanese tableware,” this is what comes up in the top 5 ranking – there is a 6th-10th listing I added because the 3rd ranking site is a “flea market” of Japanese themed products and the focus of this content is on Japanese producers (made in Japan):

If you ever wanted to know who is behind the companies when you Google something, that is what I do.

Who owns them, their integrity, what products they carry, are they dog or cat people, etc.
GOOGLE
RANK
BRAND/WEBSITE(S)/
BUSINESS OVERVIEW
WEB/
BRICK’N’MORTAR
1Akazuki Japanese Store
www.akazuki.com and a
shaved ice/kakigori and a Totoro (official products only) online store.
Web
2Miya Japanese Tableware & Gifts
www.miyacompany.com
Family-owned retail and wholesale business since 1947.
Web/B-n-M
(upwards of 40
dealers)
3My Japanese Home
www.myjapanesehome.com
Japanese themed products from China.
(not Japanese or Japan-based)
Web
4Musubi Kiln
www.musubikiln.com
A new startup that was founded on May ’20
Web
5Zen Table Japan
www.zentablejapan.com
Mino-ware to Shigaraki-ware.
Web
This list does not obviously include Google Ads, just the SERP’s.

“Same price as buying kutani wares in Japan. Form a closer relationship with kutani ware.”

– Japanese Kutani Store

Restaurant and Retail Supply of Dinnerware

When it comes to all things Japanese food/kitchen, these two are my usual suspects.

*Korin, NYC
www.korin.com
Web/B-n-M
*MTC Kitchen, NYC/LA
www.mtckitchen
Web/B-n-M
I have ordered tableware from both companies and the customer service is amazing.

“Using tableware filled with narrative will bring smiles and inspiration to your table.” 

– Musubi Kiln

Who Did Not Make the Cut (For Obvious Reasons)

I have added to the above list semi-relevant businesses based on several search phrases and keywords that did not make the initial cut. The additional searches are semi-related goods, which is not a stretch because I think you would enjoy these cool businesses to ones worth giving a shot at due to the people behind the effort.

Alphabetical order (not by ranking)

(6)Japanese Kutani Store
www.kutani-ware.jp (worth the chance?)
They are related to tableware, but they are a new startup (Aug ’21?) by a Tokyo, Japan based company, Tag Cross marketing
Web
(7)KINTO USA
www.kinto-usa.com (things to match your yoga mat)
KINTO is a Japanese brand aspiring to create products that enrich your everyday life.
Web
(8)Leader Trading
Osara NY (very transparent and upfront with where their products are made, minus the choice of domain name)
Dinnerware (Chinese made, but partners since 2005), restaurant equipment & supply, custom kitchen stainless-steel fabrication. The bulk of what they market is from China under Japanese pretenses, but they have a dedicated page of made in Japan products.
Web/B-n-M
(9)Mogutable.
www.mogutable.com (cool)
This is a slight deviation, and I want to help promote the sisters Yingchi and Yuchen who have curated well-designed tableware and more from Japan, Taiwan, and S. Korea. Their retail location is in Brooklyn, NYC.
Web/B-n-M
(10)Toiro Kitchen
www.toirokitchen.com (semi/fully-relevant)
West LA business specializing in donabe (Japanese clay pot/earthenware), not primarily in tableware.
Web/B-n-M
Toiro has been around since August 27, 2008, and their brick-and-mortar opened on October 10, 2017.

If you are looking for Kobayashi porcelain, like a coffee mug, one of the last ones was broken on the movie set of the Usual Suspects.

That is such an epic movie, and you can find products that play off of the movie on Etsy.

Now, I Want to Know How These Businesses Differ From One Another (aka Branding)

This is how I spent my last couple of decades by differentiating and building brands, but unfortunately, most businesses think branding is graphic design, or a logo. So what I will do, is dig deep to see if I can discern the core differentiators that make these businesses who they are (businesses are always a reflection of the management or in sole proprietorship or small business, the owner).

A/S/L

A/S/L (an old AOL reference) which I am referring to Age (when the business was established), Shipping turnaround/transit times, and Location.

Why does location matter? Shipping costs, turn-around times, and minimizing language and cultural issues/misunderstandings. Finding a business that is familiar or understands you and your needs can make purchases all that much easier.

Some businesses may sell internationally, but some offer very little support for the markets they claim to sell/cater to.
DBA/
BUSINESS
LOCATION/
ESTABLISHED
SHIPPING/ORDER
TURNAROUND TIMES
Akazuki
Akazuki LTD
Fukuoka, Japan
2011
🇯🇵
There are 2 different available shipping methods.
EMS / DHL: The fastest delivery (but the most expensive), usually within 4 to 6 days to Europe, North America and Australia. EMS or DHL is insured up to 30,000 yen in case of loss or damage. 
AIRMAIL eco: Delivery will also take about 14 to 21 days  to Europe, North America and Australia and parcels have a tracking number. 
Every order is prepared within 48 hours after the payment confirmation (except Saturdays, Sundays and Japanese holidays).
Japanese
Kutani
Store

TagCM
Tokyo,
Japan/
2021?
🇯🇵
We offer a discount on shipping fees when your total cart price is over US$50 (about 6,500 Yen). Furthermore, when your total cart price is over US$350 (about 45,500 Yen), we offer additional discount.

We work hard to deliver your order to you as soon as possible. We usually ship your order on the same day or the day after your order is placed. If shipment takes more time for any reason, we will contact you with details of the delivery time. After shipment, carriers usually deliver within 2-8 days. Delivery time may vary by destination. Some items which are needed to restock takes more time, usually take more than 1 week and sometimes it could take several month.
Miya
Company
Miya Table & Home
(retail)
(Princeton, NJ)
Somerville, New Jersey
1947 (NYC),
USA
🇺🇸
We will ship your order as soon as we can, in-stock items usually within 2 – 5 business days. Please note this time frame does not include transit time.
Musubi Kiln
Musubi Kiln
Ginza, Tokyo, Japan/
2020
🇯🇵
Multiple international shipping options. Discounted shipping for over $34 and free shipping for over $338 USD (Insured shipping service against damage in transit). We try to ship your order within 3 to 5 business days. (Pre-ordered items may take 1-2 months to be delivered.)
My Japanese Home
My Japanese Home
P.O. Box in
NYC/
Covent Garden (UK)/Albury (AU) w/their domain out of Canada
🇨🇳
All our shipments are free: We operate with several suppliers from different locations, so your products may be delivered separately. The estimated shipping time is 2-4 weeks depending on the supplier’s and the customer’s location.
Zen Table
Union marc Co., Ltd.
Nagoya,
Aichi, Japan

🇯🇵
All orders shipped from Japan. Due to COVID-19, the delivery company and customs clearance are experiencing delays. The delivery may take about a month from the date you place your order. 
To me, shipping times is the biggest factor because a month is a considerable amount of time to wait.

Beautiful. Simple. Fun. That’s Miya.

– Miya (pronounced MEE-ya)

Core Products

Listed in alphabetical order.

My Japanese home is the only business listed that sells Japanese themed products (Japanese motifs) made elsewhere (there are reviews of people finding that out after the fact).

The tip-off was seeing the fake aka sneaky/sketchy “Japanese knives” marketed under the guise that you are buying a Japanese made knife (it’s not just knives, it is all things Japanese) by the parent company Keemake from China.
WEBSITEPRODUCT HIGHLIGHTS
(HOMEPAGE)
GENERAL PRODUCT
CATEGORIES
Akazuki(Iwachu) cast iron products from Japan.Tableware, kitchenware, tea & tea ware, textile & interior, alimentation.
Miya
Company
“We bring the best of Japan home so you can too” (Miya).Tabletop, Jewel Japan, collections, kitchen, whimsy, sets
Musubi KilnPrimarily (Gatomikio) lacquerware, but also (Ginpo Kikka Banko) donabe and (Nambu) ironware products from Japan.Dinnerware, flatware, and serve ware, drinkware & bar, interior & accessory.
My Japanese HomeCouches, lamps, clothing, to coffee makers, and no specific central focus.Tableware, kitchen, decor, tea ceremony & coffee, living room, traditional clothing, bathroom (anything and everything).
Toiro KitchenUS representative of Nagatani-en, a leading producer of authentic Iga-yaki (Iga style) donabe and versatile earthenware products from Iga, JapanDonabe from Iga Japan, and tableware from Japan: rice bowls, donburi bowls, condiments, small plates, dinner plates and bowls, serving plates and bowls, trays/boxes/baskets.
Zen TableRamen bowls (Mino-ware) to mortar and pestles from Japanese producers.Tableware: appetizer bowls, plates, baking dish, bouillon cups, cereal bowls, chawanmushi cups, chopstick holders, chopsticks, coffee spoons, condiment pot, cup and saucers, cutting boards, dessert bowls, dinner plates, dispenser bottles, divided plates, donburi bowls, etc.
If you are looking for “Made in Japan,” only My Japanese Home does not.

Branding is all about managing your expectations, so if I can highlight why these businesses have out-performed the competition, that will be all good for what to expect from their brand.

If only Disney understood branding, they would not have all the issues they have been having with their IP’s.

How Popular Are These Tableware Websites

Higher the number the better because this is a guesstimate as to how much web traffic these businesses get per month.

WEBSITEAPPROXIMATE
WEB TRAFFIC/PAID ADS
TRAFFIC
RANKING
1. Akazuki7,300 / 2 paid2
2. Kutani-ware900 / 1 paid6
3. Miya Company11,000 / 29 paid1
4. Mogutable1,300 / 0 paid4
5. Musubi Kiln1,400 / 513 paid3
6. (My Japanese Home)(9,000 / 43 paid)(2)
7. (Toiro Kitchen)(17,000 / 0 paid)(1)
8. Zen Table950 / 0 paid5
The businesses that are in parenthesis are not strictly tableware (specialization).

A lot of these businesses will sell overlapping products like the Ginpo Kikka donabe, but I like the customer comments on Miya’s website like “it is so beautiful and sturdy. shipping was expensive but they packaged it in no way that it could be damaged – worth it. Made in Japan!!” by Jessica S.

Well, that’s a glowing endorsement if you are concerned about your shipment being damaged in transit.

My Two Cents on 6 Japanese Tableware and 1 Chinese ePortal Company

This is the part I thrive on because like buying a car, people are not simply looking to buy a car, and they are looking for the right person to buy the car from (I learned that from Jeff Balogh, Colorado). So if you care where and who your money goes to, I hope to divulge more those details right here.

In Alphabetical Order (Not Rankings)

In short, I let you know who these businesses are.

1-one icon
A very basic “commodity” design (you come here to shop, not for anything else).

A number one ranking site on Google for “where to buy Japanese tableware,” and I think that ranking is well-deserved when you read their “shipping information” because they seem to care. The others state 2-4 days for processing, and a month in shipping although Akazuki spells out your options.

My maternal grandparents are from Kyushu, a region I visited once, and I worked at a restaurant where everybody was from Fukuoka, the Akazuki stomping grounds. So I have a small attachment to any business in this region.

two-2 icon
There are a lot of English grammar issues on the site, but it looks great (issues I know all too well).

When it comes to tech/the internet, Japan lags behind the rest of the world, especially the United States. Although, I wonder if Tag Cross Marketing based in Tokyo, a company riding on the coattails of Musubi Kiln, will get Kutani-ware.jp off the ground.

Currently the site sits in last place which is not good for a digital marketing company although they seem to be covering their bases with SEM.

3-three icon
This 3rd generation brand shares more than boring ole product information which is why you should follow this family on Instagram.

In the “biz” they call the business the “biz”, and this 3rd generation biz is an Asian American family business. A business that comes off and is more of a broker of imported products from Japan vs. a brand that is directly involved with the design and or production of tableware.

They successfully distribute their product to a number of small and eclectic retailers throughout the US.

4-four icon
The site design is to highlight product design cuz design.

Like NYC’s diversity, Mogutable has curated a diverse collection of tableware by the Taiwanese, Japanese, and South Koreans. All the heavy lifting is done, and you have to do is choose what you want.

Mmmmh, now I am thinking beef noodle soup, ramen, and galbitang.

5-five icon
The best looking and written site of them all which counts for something (well, to me it does #aspirational).

When it comes to fit and polish, this company/team, reflects well on the products they sell which are of high-quality fit, finish, and polish (a mirror of Musubi Lab, founded by brothers Mototsugu and Takatsugu Fusada).

To me, this is the cream of the crop when it comes to copywriting, imagery, and customer service: I had a chance to interact with a staff member who I later realized is one of the brothers (wow, they keep delivering).

6-six icon
What is up with that logo? It is impressive if you designed it on an Etch A Sketch.

If you are looking for everything, this is your spot. NOTICE: these products are Japanese themed which means you are not buying products from or made in Japan (based on the reviews and a few products I am aware of, are made in China).

From couches to coffee makers, that is just a small bit of their range of products sourced from China, which I call a ePortal (it is sort of obvious if you understand the culture because Chinese restaurants will typically have 100+ items on the menu, and the same goes with the way they do retail which is “more is better.” vs. specialization (sushi, tempura, ramen, udon restaurant only).

Number 7 icon
I love when talented creatives from photography, copywriting, to visual design all come together, along with a plan (to dominate).

“…beautifully crafted Japanese donabe (clay pot) products for your everyday use. We are the official US representative of Nagatani-en, a leading producer of authentic Iga-yaki (Iga style) donabe and versatile earthenware products from Iga, Japan.”

If you heard of Le Creuset (founded in 1925), the Japanese have also been doing earthenware on the other side of the globe (the Nagatani’s are an 8th generation family that have been in the Iga-yaki game since 1832).

Number 8 icon
Basic in design but effective at its core like a yogi.

This site is a basic-template website, but there are several clues to the person or individual(s) behind this effort. Those clues say they are more than capable because they explicitly define their strengths and why you should buy from Zen Table Japan.

Why buy from Zen Table? “Produced and managed by Japanese  pottery artists and all products are shipped from Japan.”

This Is an Epic Article by Just One Cookbook

Just One Cookbook calls itThe Ultimate Guide to Japanese Tableware,” and you will want to mosey or sashay on over and read it, bookmark it, and possibly memorize it for small talk at your next dinner party because the article covers:

  • Table set-up.
  • The must-have Japanese tableware.

Ditch the Wrapping Paper and Go With a Reusable Furoshiki This Year

The holidays are coming up and no better time to get acquainted with a Japanese furoshki (fu-ro-shi-ki) which are traditional reusable environmentally-friendly wrapping clothes – we used to use old cloth rice sacks to use for yard work (to wrap up branches and leaves), so it is scalable and not just for tiny things.

Similarly, in the US, I am sure you have seen a hobo with cloth sack at one end of a stick is called a bindle

Supporting Small Businesses Globally

Amazon provides a tool for China to go direct to consumers by cutting out the middleman, American and global brands and retailers who used to be the gatekeepers/guardians of the American and their respective consumers.

If you are wondering if you should buy off of Amazon, I will warn you that you never know what you are going to get (Forrest Gump knew that) because Chinese producers have no issue deceiving you to believe you are buying whatever they want you to believe.

Almost all the knives on Amazon under “Japanese knife” are Chinese brands with Japanese sounding names to marketing copy that includes “headquarters in Tokyo, Japan to Japanese craftsmen, Japanese artistry,” except they are all made in China by Chinese companies. 38% of ALL sales on Amazon are to China-based companies (it was 42% before Amazon’s crackdown).

The Japanese Tableware Brands on Amazon (Made in Japan)

Chinese businesses are very sneaky with their marketing, although Amazon has been cracking down on these deceptive brands. Even with my experience as a marketing professional (BS detector), it takes me time to parse through these brands.

You can also avoid deceptive brands by looking explicitly for “made in Japan” or it depicted on the product imagery.

BRAND/SELLERTYPE OF WARE
Minorutouki Original
Minorutouki/Amazon
Mino-ware tableware
(produced in Mino Province)
Miya Company
Multiple vendors from Cellar_door_books (Zentra, LLC/NC)
to Kaizen8
Sourced from all over Japan.
Product of Gifu, Japan
Zipangu.com/Chirashiya.com, inc
Mino-ware tableware
(produced in Mino Province)
Saikai Pottery/Saikai CO., LTD (saikaitoki.com)
UJC Mart Japan
Mino-yaki(ware)
(produced in Mino Province)
Zen Table Japan
zentablejapan.com
Mino-ware tableware
(produced in Mino Province)
There is absolutely nothing wrong with Chinese made products, just the deceptive marketing.

Itadakimasu (“bon appétit!”)

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