Selecting stylish trays and obon

Hello! This is Tsurumi from the UTSUWABI Editorial Office.

仕入れスタッフ ツルミ (主婦・2人暮らし)
Tsurumi, stocking staff (Housewife, 2-person household)
Hello! I am a staff member of the Japanese tableware shopping site “UTSUWABI”.
In this issue, we will introduce recommended trays, featured artists, and table coordination.
I would like to use it, but I don't know what to buy...

If so, please check it out.

If you want to see what kind of trays and obon are available, please click here.

Trays & trays list page

How to choose a tray / japanese tray

Here's how to choose a tray.

You may be thinking, “I need a tray. What kind of trays do you have?”

When you look into it, there are so many different shapes, sizes, materials, etc., that you may be at a loss as to which one is best for you.

First of all, when purchasing a tray or tray for the first time, we recommend a long square tray of about 8” in size.

For example, there is a wooden long rectangular tray from Matsuya Lacquerware Store.

撮影スタッフ ワダ (1人暮らし)
Wada, a member of the filming staff (lives alone)
We recommend it for three reasons!
1: Easy-to-use size
2: Form for easy storage
3: Affordable price

It is a generous size, even with a round plate, a small plate, and a cup on it, making it perfect for a set meal for one person with one soup and three dishes.

It is also just the right size for carrying dishes.

It has no depth and can be stored in a stackable manner, so it fits neatly in a cupboard.

Finished with transparent paint, it is resistant to stains and scratches.

It is easy to use on a daily basis and can be used for a long time.

Select by Material

The impression of a “tray” changes drastically depending on the material it is made of.

Wooden trays with warmth and charm, brass trays with an elegant atmosphere, and rattan trays for interior decoration are introduced here.

Wooden tray / japanese tray

First of all, there is the royal wooden tray.

The charm of wooden trays lies in their warm colors and the richness of nature in the grain of the wood.

Wooden trays come in a variety of colors and materials.

Each has a different color and grain, so you can have different kinds of trays.


The natural colors of the Tamo wood and other materials give it a warm and gentle texture.

They are easy to match with dishes of any genre, Japanese or Western, so they will fit easily into your daily life.

We recommend this product for those who want it to play an active role at the dining table every day.


The deep dark brown color of the walnut material creates a calming atmosphere.

The grain of the wood shows through, so you can enjoy the unique look of each item, even if they are the same.

They are recommended when you want to create a colorful table setting, as they enhance the colors of food and tableware.


American cherry material is characterized by a large change in hue over time.

The color is light pink at first, but becomes dark reddish brown due to the effects of ultraviolet rays and other factors.

The more the wood is used, the more it develops its texture, so it is recommended for those who want to enjoy the changes.

brass trays

Next is brass.

Brass is an alloy of copper and zinc, also known as brass.

It is a material used in the five-yen coin that we use every day and in wind instruments such as trumpets.

The charm of trays made of brass is the taste it produces as it ages.

We want to take good care of our favorites and use them with care and nurture them over a long period of time.

The coloring with a sense of presence creates a gorgeous atmosphere at the dining table.

It will be useful for celebrations and other entertaining occasions.

This one is made of brass with silver plating.

Compared to gold-plated ones, it has a more relaxed and chic atmosphere.

Also, silver-plated ones show a unique texture, called “Atari,” at the points where hands and utensils often come into contact with them.


Finally, there is a tray made of rattan.

Rattan is a member of the palm family.

It is flexible, bendable, and water-resistant, and is used for chairs and baskets for changing rooms in hot springs.

Despite its simple design, the stitching gives a soft impression.

It is useful for relaxing time, such as when you want to take your time and have a cup of tea.

It is lightweight and water-resistant, making it perfect for outdoor use.

They are not limited to use at the dining table, but are also lovely to use as interior decorations to display accessories, clocks, and other items.

We have summarized the characteristics and recommended situations for each material, so please take a look at them for reference.

material properties feature Recommended in these situations
natural The gentle color makes it easy to match with any vessels. When buying trays for the first time
walnut Deep dark brown with a unique look that reflects the grain of the wood. When placing colorful vessels
cherries Slightly reddish color, turning darker with use. When you want to enjoy the pleasure of nurturing over a long period of time
brass The appearance with a sense of presence and tasteful texture such as bites. When used to create an elegant dining table or as interior decoration
rattan Light and water-resistant When used outdoors

choose by shape

Next, we will introduce the characteristics of the different shapes.

Please imagine what kind of dishes or vessels you would like to arrange on the tray.



The rectangular tray has a clean look.

It is perfect for placing a long, thin plate with grilled fish on top or an oval plate with pasta.

It is easy to use and recommended for everyday use, as it holds any shape of dish on top of it.

It is a shape that is easy to incorporate into your daily life, such as when purchasing for the first time.


Square trays give a more cute impression than rectangular ones.

Because of its depth, it also goes well with larger round-shaped vessels, such as curry and hamburger plates.


The round tray gives a gentle impression.

It is perfect for breakfast with rice, miso soup, and pickles, or an obanzai set meal with many small plates.

It is also good for putting snacks and coffee on to create a stylish café-style atmosphere.

It also looks great casually placed on a shelf or table, so you can use it as an interior decoration.


The oval shape combines the ease of use of a rectangle with the gentleness of a round shape.

Since it is an unusual shape, it is sure to catch the eye when used for entertaining!

We have summarized the characteristics and recommended situations for each shape, so please take a look at them for reference.

shape feature Recommended in these situations
rectangle Sleek, clean look and easy to balance When eating Japanese food or buying trays for the first time
square The depth makes it easy to place large plates on it. When eating main dishes such as curry and pasta
round Gentle impression, easy to hold in one hand When eating snacks, such as tea and cake
ellipse Gentle impression, yet clean look When serving tea and sweets, such as for entertaining

Recommended brands and artists for tray / japanese tray

Here are some recommended brands and artists.

If you are interested in any of them, please check them out.

Matsuya Lacquerware Store

Matsuya Lacquerware Store, an Echizen lacquerware manufacturer, was established in 1905.

In the Kawada district of Sabae City, Fukui Prefecture, the company mainly produces products that suit modern lifestyles, such as natural-looking products (white wood lacquerware) using lacquerware techniques.

Square wooden tray, white lacquered with ash

A square tray made of tamo (Japanese ash) with a gentle texture.

It is just the right size for enjoying tea and sweets.

It is also convenient to use as a tray when carrying dishes.

Regardless of the genre of Japanese or Western cuisine, it is useful and easy to match with a variety of dishes.

Click here to see the works of Matsuya Lacquerware Store.


Aizawa Lumber & Crafts

Aizawa Lumber & Crafts produces products that preserve the comfort of solid wood without wasting any of the lovely chunks of wood given to them by the mountains.

The “KITO” series, named after the trees that make up the forest, is a series that expresses a sense of reverence and gratitude to the forests.

Rinka tray, large, zelkova, Aizawa Lumber Works/KITO

This is a lovely tray with the shape of a ring flower expressed in gentle curves.

The wood grain visible on the surface evokes the beauty of nature, and you will feel peaceful every time you use it.

It is easy to match not only wooden but also brass cutlery.

It is the perfect size for snack time with a cup of hot coffee on top of a cup of mont blanc.

It is sure to make a holiday spent alone feel more luxurious.

Click here to see more works by Aizawa Wood Craft/KITO.


Semi-Aco Masayuki Kaga

Masayuki Kaga creates his works in Mimasaka City, Okayama Prefecture, using natural wood.

He hopes to deliver such “time” and “space” with his works that make our daily life just a little bit warmer and calmer.

The carefully carved pieces are beautifully crafted and feel warm and comfortable to the touch.

onigiri plate onigurumi Semi-Aco Kaga Masayuki

As the name suggests, this wooden tray is just the right size to put two or three onigiri on.

You can enjoy the Japanese style plate with onigiri on top, or serve it with bread, snacks, etc. as you like.

What should I pair with what today? You can also enjoy the time thinking about your menu!


Kazunori Takatsuka

Mr. Takatsuka produces custom-made furniture and vessels in Tochigi.

Each piece, made of solid wood, has a different grain, color, and texture.

You can feel the smooth texture and soft expression of the wood itself.

Cherry blossom tray, Woodworking shop Gen, Kazunori Takatsuka

This cherry blossom tray is decorated with “Hachinosu carving”.

The grain of the wood and the gentleness of the hand carving make you want to touch it.

Serve your favorite toasted bread with a cup of coffee.

Solid wood absorbs moisture, so it will keep the crispy texture of freshly toasted bread.

This tray makes you want to get up a little earlier than usual and have a leisurely breakfast.


ki-to-te Mitsuru Maeda

From design to production, ki-to-te Maeda handles everything by himself.

He uses vegetable oil to bring out the natural look of the wood.

As you continue to use the product, you can enjoy its gradual darkening and deepening of flavor.

Round tray 21cm walnut ki-to-te Mitsuru Maeda

The color of the walnut wood and the texture of this tray are tasteful.

Perfect for snack time with a dessert bowl and cutlery.

For a tea set, it is the size of two teacups and a snack bean plate.

It is also useful and easy to use at dinner time, such as with a glass of wine and nuts, or beer and snacks.


Eimi Morita

At his atelier in Matsumoto, Nagano Prefecture, he creates his pieces by tapping and sticking metal plates and wires together.

I like the natural feeling of the metal as it discolors and blends into one's life.”

True to his words, Morita's works are characterized by deepening colors over time and becoming antique-like in taste.

The more you use them, the more they change and become your own unique tools.

Oval plate, large, Western white, Eimi Morita

The oval plate made of nickel silver has a modest luster that does not shine too brightly, creating a dignified atmosphere just by placing it on the table.

It looks great as a dessert plate with a cake on it, or as a tray.

It would also be a good accompaniment to a glass of wine with semi-dried figs, cheese, nuts, etc.

It can also be used to display small items or as a storage place for rings and other accessories.


3. Examples of table coordination using tray / japanese tray

From here, we would like to introduce you to table coordination.

How do you incorporate trays into your daily life?

“I can't imagine how to arrange the dishes on a tray. ......
I wonder what kind of dishes would look stylish on them. ......

If you are having trouble finding a specific way to use trays, please take a look at them for reference.

When you have guests over, you can serve dessert and beverages on the tray.

If you serve them on a brass tray, your usual hospitality will be made special.

It is sure to be the talk of the town.

Even an ordinary breakfast can be made more stylish just by placing it on the tray.

Wood has the property of absorbing moisture moderately, so toast stays crispy until the end and onigiri (rice balls) do not stick to the surface when placed on it.

I am excited that it will be very useful in Japanese style menus, such as ...... with rice balls on it and pickles and a little side dish on a bean plate.

The soup is placed in a bowl and the rice is served directly on a tray in this one-plate meal.

The vegetables are arranged in a heaping pile, and their brightness is enhanced.

The vegetables are arranged in a bowl and the rice is placed directly on the tray.

Put a little of each of the leftover side dishes on a bean plate, and serve the main dish in your favorite container.

Pour a glass of beer and toast!

The tray really takes the usual after-work dinner up a notch, doesn't it?

How to care for tray / japanese tray

You want to take good care of your favorite tray for a long time after you have purchased it.

Although the word “care” may sound difficult, you can reduce the burden on the tray by simply taking care of a few “little steps” after use.

Here are some tips on how to care for each material.


Wooden vessels are easy to care for, simply wipe with a dry or well-wringed rag.

If you are concerned about stains after use, wipe with a tightly wrung cloth as soon as possible.

If the stain is still not removed, wash the sponge with a neutral detergent.

Be careful to wash gently.

After washing, wipe off the water with a soft cloth and let it dry naturally.

Dry it thoroughly to prevent the formation of mold.

Dishwashers, dryers, and microwave ovens cannot be used.

There are also differences depending on the type of wood and processing method, so please check the detailed care instructions at the time of purchase.


After use, wipe dry with a soft cloth.

At first, it will be shiny and bright, but oxidation by air will gradually darken the color and create spots like blotches, giving it an antique-like appearance.

Wipe it with a dry cloth from time to time to give it a deeper color.

Please note that the product may rust if placed in a hot and humid place.

Dishwashers, dryers, and microwave ovens cannot be used.



In this issue, we have introduced the appeal of tray / japanese tray from various perspectives.

Whether you are wondering what kind of tray to buy or have been struggling with table coordination, we hope you found this article helpful.

Now that you are spending more time at home, please incorporate trays into your daily life and make your daily meals a more wonderful time.

If you want to see more trays, please click here! If you want to see more trays, please take a look at this page.

Trays & trays list page

In addition to the trays and trays introduced above, UTSUWABI also sells a variety of other vessels, so if you like, please visit “UTSUWABI” as well.


We hope you find your favorite tray and enjoy your everyday tablescape even more.