Modern Japanese Gifts

Japanese Flower Bowl Set

A set of five dark brown Japanese bowls with handpainted flowersProving that bigger does not equal better, small, whimsical wildflowers take center stage in these gorgeous pieces that demonstrate Japan’s simple, refined charm. The rich, molasses brown glaze is contrasted with delicate flowers painted in fine lines of silver and gold. Rather than being centrally located or forming repeating patterns around the bowl, the stems and vines meander in from the side of the bowl and depart just as unexpectedly. This unique presentation shows a distinctly Japanese use of space and preference for balance over mere symmetry.

Five stacked bowls with handpainted Japanese flowers

Using the Flower Bowls

Moderately sized and extremely versatile, these bowls can be paired with a variety of Japanese and Western cuisines. Foods that incorporate light or bright colors such as Japanese daikon radish salad or fresh sashimi make beautifully bold statements as they constrast with the deep coloring of the bowls.

About the Flowers

Handpainted Japanese wildflowers


Known as Knotweed or Jumpseed in English, this plant earned its Japanese name due to its resemblance to mizuhiki crafts in which tightly wound paper cords are tied into decorative Japanese knots for gifts and special occasions.

Motifs painted by Japanese artisans


The English name, Shepherd’s Purse, is based on the plant’s heart-shaped seed pods. In Japan, this shape is said to resemble the body of a traditional musical instrument called a shamisen. This resemblance also earned it the nickname “PenPen”- the sound of plucking shamisen strings.

Flowers used in Japanese flower arrangement are handpainted on a bowl


Sometimes used in traditional herbal medicines, these crimson berries from the Sarsparilla family add a splash of dramatic color and texture to flower arrangement pieces in the traditional Japanese art of ikebana.

Gold details painted on Japanese bowl


The small Kyoto town of Obarano holds a festival for this member of the Aster family, known as thoroughwort in English. Fields of aromatic flowers abound as chestnut tiger butterflies flutter from blossom to blossom. You can even get a fujibakama-scented lucky Japanese amulet, or omamori, to help guide good fortune your way.

Handpainted Japanese flowers seem to bloom on the inside of a bowl


Called golden lace in English, this honeysuckle family member is featured in a traditional Noh theater story. Like a Japanese Romeo and Juliet, the story tells the tragic romance of two Kyoto lovers. According to the legend, this beautiful flower bloomed in the spot where the Kyoto woman departed from this world.