1 April 2022

5 Important Tips for Beautiful Japanese Dinner Setting

Whether in a Japanese restaurant or a trip to Japan, you may have seen some stunning table settings that you just couldn't help but want to capture in a photograph. The secret of the beauty of Japanese tableware lies in the harmony of various tableware of different colors and shapes. There are many keys for creating beautiful balance on the table, but we will introduce five of the most important basic techniques with actual examples.


  • Find a theme
  • Harmonize the tones
  • Focus on the texture
  • Mix the different height
  • Use trays and placemats
  • Incorporate professional ideas

1. Find a theme

First, find your favorite table setting theme. Do you want to enjoy authentic Japanese cuisine in a traditional and gorgeous style, or do you want to achieve a modern and sophisticated style that matches the ambience of the room?

MUSUBI KILN categorizes items according to the following four themes, so you may want to start by choosing one of these themes to suit your taste.

This time, I choose Traditional & Elegant to create a table with traditional and bright atmosphere. 

Traditional & Elegant

Stylish & Modern

Casual & Everyday

Natural & Orgenic

2. Harmonize the tones

Once you have decided on a theme, it is time to begin the journey to find your favorite tableware. First, choose one essential piece of tableware that you would like to use. If you are not sure which one to choose, you may want to start with a larger item such as a main plate.

Once you have selected one favorite piece, look for about three major colors in it. I chose this long rectangular plate with a beautiful Sakura (cherry blossom) decoration. This plate includes white, pink, and brownish gold.

I will be setting my table around these colors. It is easy to create a cohesive atmosphere when the entire table stays within five colors. From this perspective, I selected several items, including the following.

3. Focus on the texture

If you have chosen tableware that you like, but it somehow lacks cohesiveness, you may find the answer by focusing on the texture of the tableware you have chosen.

We recommend that you unify the textures of the main tableware, such as plates and bowls, which have a large visual range. Deciding whether to use glossy porcelain or natural earthenware like stoneware will create a cohesive table setting. Also, similar but different textures, such as bamboo and wood, may create a sense of discomfort. If they are large items, it's best to keep them to one texture.

Then, combining other small items, chopsticks, trays, cups, etc., with completely different textures, such as glass or lacquerware, often works surprisingly well.

This is an example of one of the items I chose, only the teacup was changed to one with a chic, wabi-sabi texture. Some may feel a little uncomfortable because only the teacups stand out too much.

4. Mix the different height

When considering the layout of a space, the secret is to be aware of three different heights to make it cohesive. The following are some examples. In the case of table settings, adding height creates a three-dimensional rhythm on the table, creating a gorgeous atmosphere.  

Many of the items I chose were short, so I set up vases in similar shades.

5. Use trays and placemats

Trays are not a must-have item in table settings, but they can be useful if you want to add some flair to your setting.

In this case, I used a table runner and wooden centerpiece to create a separation between personal and public spaces.

I also placed a gold flat plate under the sake set. If you are creating a set meal style instead of this kind of party style, it's also great to place a tray or place mat for each person.

If you would like to know more about the items I selected for this table setting, please refer to the following article.

6. Incorporate professional ideas

Anyone can create a beautiful Japanese-style table setting by choosing tableware with the above five points in mind.

However, if you are a busy person, it is also a smart choice to borrow some ideas of professionals.

MUSUBI KILN introduces many table setting ideas created by professional stylists. Choose your favorite style here and check out the items used.