If you’re looking to buy ceramics, Tokyo is the right place for you! For thousands of years, pottery and ceramics have been a large part of both the art world and everyday life here in Japan. So ingrained is the craft in local culture that many towns produce their own unique forms of Japanese pottery.
Like all other aspects of Japanese life, the production of ceramics is a lesson in patience and meticulous craftsmanship. As a result, Japanese ceramics are like nothing else in the world. Whether you’re a ceramic scholar or are just looking for some stylish Tokyo souvenirs for your dinner table, take a look at our guide to the best places to buy ceramics in Tokyo. Here are a our top picks of five stores in Tokyo you can’t miss.
Part exhibition space, part store, Kurodatoen’s collection of ceramics is so expansive that they actually have two stores in Tokyo. Run by the Kuroda family, the first store was opened in Ginza in 1935 by Ryoji Kuroda and the newer version now lives in Shibuya. Kuroda’s sons Kusaomi and Kazuya still man both stores, carefully keeping watch over the precious ceramics they display and sell. Both stores have exhibition spaces that feature works from a rotating cast of artists. Having set up two successful stores and published a number of books, if you’re wondering where to buy ceramics in Tokyo, look no further than the Kuroda name for fine ceramic connoisseurs.
Name in Japanese: 銀座黒田陶苑 (Ginza Kuroda Tōen)
Address: Ginza 7-8-6, Chuo, Tokyo
Hours: 11am to 7pm, closed Mondays.
Name in Japanese: 渋谷黒田陶苑 (Shibuya Kuroda Tōen)
Address: Shibuya 1-16-14, Tokyo
Hours: 11am to 7pm, closed Thursdays.
2. Ginza Takumi
Located in the luxury-loving suburb of Ginza, this store stocks ceramics and crafts from all across Japan as well as the rest of Asia and even Latin America. Passionate lovers of craft, this business has been running for over 80 years so you know the team here are experts in their field. If you’re chasing ceramics specifically, chances are the first floor of the store will have whatever you’re after. A majority of the goods you’ll find on this floor are sourced form famous Japanese pottery towns like Mashiko (Tochigi), Tanba (Hyogo) and Onta (Oita). However it’s worth popping up to the second level to check out their wider collection of textiles, furniture and other carefully crafted pieces too. If you’re around the Ginza, Hibiya Park or Imperial Palace area be sure to pop by and check out their fascinating collection.
If you need some guidance on Japanese ceramics, check out these extraordinary tea bowls:
Name in Japanese: たくみ (Takumi)
Address: Ginza 8-4-2, Chuo, Tokyo
Hours: 11am to 7pm, closed Sundays and public holidays.
You don't have to be in Tokyo to enjoy some of the best Japanese ceramics. We love the bold calligraphic motif agains the brilliant white of this plate by Nikko Ceramics, who have over 110 years of experience of unique ceramic design. You can order this from Barneys New York for $72.
3. Oedo Antique Market
If you’re a bit of a price detective, then the overflowing Oedo Antique Market is the best place to go to unearth all the hidden bargains in your hunt for Tokyo souvenirs. Held on the first and third Sunday of every month at the Tokyo International Forum, it’s arguably one of the biggest outdoor markets in all of Japan. Home to around 250 sellers, you’re bound to find something to suit your taste and budget. If you’re hungry for more market gems, they also have a ‘sister’ market, called the Japanese Antique Market, which happens around once a month in Yoyogi Park. Check online for opening details.
4. Aoyama Square
No matter whether you’re a Japanese craft expert or a newbie with a passing interest in ceramics, Aoyama Square is an accessible one-stop shop for everything Japanese art. A gallery, a store, and a community hub, they place a strong emphasis on the person behind the work. Sometimes the center also hosts live demonstrations taking guests deep inside Japanese ceramic production. Though they do focus on higher end pieces rather than mass produced items, their products are still very reasonably priced, so if you’re just getting into ceramic collection, or searching for some of the highest quality Tokyo souvenirs, this is a great place to start.
If it's art you're after, have a read of the best places to buy art in Tokyo:
Name in Japanese: 青山スクエア (Aoyama Suku-e-a)
Address: Akasaka 8-1-22, Minato, Tokyo
Hours: 11am to 7pm.
5. The Cover Nippon
For the very finest in Japanese craftsmanship, you can’t go past the highest of high-end ceramic stores: The Cover Nippon located in Roppongi’s shopping mecca Tokyo Midtown. They cover all facets of the Japanese art and crafts world including fabrics, lacquerware and of course ceramics. Where luxury lifestyles and classic craftsmanship collide, this place is for people whose taste is as distinguished as their wallets are full!
Address: 3F Tokyo Midtown Galleria, Akasaka 9-7-3, Minato, Tokyo
Hours: 11am to 9pm
Have you spotted any great places to buy ceramics on your travels in Japan? Let us know in the comments below!
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