Aug. 28, 2020 UPDATE
Story & Recommendation
Made for ware, the sign of a true veteran
First opened in 1838, Seikado is a nearly 200-year-old Kyoto veteran producer and seller of metal crafts. Currently, Seikado works with mainly tin, in addition to silver and copper, and is Japan’s oldest standing tin workshop. Seikado’s biggest draw is their tinware, which gets more beautiful with age. As tin is such a soft metal, as you use tinware, it gets scratched and dented. However, at Seikado, this is considered a “transformation” and is simply another exciting aspect of cherishing the same thing for many years. The secret behind Seikado’s made for ware tin is the slight addition of silver. This allows for the tinware to be more durable, resistant to corrosion and look better with time. Also, since tin is naturally resistant to erosion and rust, even if your tinware might scratch, it’s able to be used as a staple of your everyday life and passed down through generations without a problem. In the display cases inside Seikado, you will find their staple tinware that the store’s craftsmen have been making for generations in addition to new collaborative pieces that have been created with the help of foreign designers and artists. If you’re looking for things that only get better with age, then give Seikado a visit and take your time perusing their wide range of goods.
Shuki – Sake Cups / Sake Cup:￥6,600～(+tax)
These beautiful tinware sake cups are the most recommended things at Seikado. While these cups are worth purchasing simply off their beautiful soft glossy look, the fact that they are made out of tin gives them a special leg up over other cups. This is because, while every metal has its own unique flavor and aroma, the slightly sweet aroma found in tin pairs perfectly with the flavors of sake. This makes tin better than any other metal for cups made for sake. As we talked about in the intro, another huge draw about these tin cups is the fact that they simply get better with age. Also, since tin doesn’t rust easily, they’re great for general everyday use as well. Both amazing because of their natural affinity with sake and because they are sure to last a while, these cups are great as souvenirs or gifts for any sake/alcohol lovers in your family. The designs of the cups found in the display cases vary slightly from one to the next, so give each a good look and try find your favorite one.
Smoked Copper Teapot / ￥52,250～ (+tax)
This product is a copper uwade kyusu teapot. Uwade kyusu are traditional Japanese teapots made with attached handles, and a filter inside to put tea leaves to brew the tea. While the teapot itself has a rounded, slightly plump design and comes in a cute compact size, its color can only be described as tastefully cool. After the copper is coated in silver, these teapots go through a smoking process, which actually purposefully blackens the metal. This process brings out a nearly indescribable, quietly tasteful and unobtrusively elegant depth in each of the pots. While these pots might not be blessed with the most vibrant colors, they do contain a lovely warmth and cool elegance. Also, they apparently lose their gloss with use, further bringing out this depth we’ve talked about.
3Check it out!
Netsuke – Carved Dongles / ￥5,500～ (+tax)
Netsuke are one of the many traditional Japanese accessories used when wearing kimono. There's much debate about the origins of the name "netsuke," however one of the most popular theories is that the name was derived from the fact that people would stick them to the end of pouches called "sagemono" so that the pouches could hang from their kimono sash without them slipping. While many netsuke are made of various materials such as ivory and deer horns, the ones at Seikado are made of silver. Featuring the designs of animals such as turtles, monkeys, rabbits and containing even the smallest of details, such as fur, these incredible carved dongles showcase just how highly skilled their respective craftspeople are. The plant and flower designs, such as maple leaves, gingko and cherry blossoms, are just as equally delicate and charming. You can choose the color of the strings yourself, so we recommend finding your favorite netsuke and pairing it with your favorite color.
4Check it out!
Incense Holders / ￥3,960～(+tax)
Coming in a range of designs, from animals like rabbits and monkeys to plants like maple leaves and hydrangeas, these are Seikado's cute incense holders. Much like the netsuke, these incense holders skillfully showcase the talents of their respective craftspeople. Also, while these various animals and plants made to hold incense are incredibly small, they each tell their own story through their various expressions and poses. The cute wee designs also just make you want to have them by your side at all times. While there are around 20 different incense holders, each with their own things that make them wonderful, as they bravely grip the incense with both hands, the animal holders give off an especially impressive, nearly realistic feeling and are infinitely fun to look at. Like these incense holders, Seikado's range of mischevious little dongles and things give you something entirely different from their sake and tea cups and are just one more reason why this store is so fantastic!
How to buy
If you find anything you’re interested in, then ask the staff and they will kindly bring it out of the display cabinet. When deciding on what to buy, take a look at the pieces up close, compare them to others, get a real sense of how they feel in your hands and find which one really sticks with you.
- Shopping Tips -
Sometimes Seikado holds open entry exhibitions, which you can see at the gallery near the back of their store. At these exhibitions, you’ll be able to see metal works from both domestic and foreign artisans, so if you’re interested, make sure to give the gallery a look too.