Japan is well known for hand made items that are simple yet beautiful. Walking the streets of each town vs taking a tour bus allows me to stop and see both local stores and small treasure troves of local life.
I stopped at the doorway of a small, dark store that sold tea bowls, tea pots and other ceramic items.
I met the owner of the shop who was just as happy to sell me a small, inexpensive tea bowl as one of the tea posts priced at over $600! We could not talk with each other because I do not speak Japanese, but a smile goes a long way.
Simple displays highlight each piece for style or color.
My single bowl was very carefully wrapped. The owner knew I was a traveler and took extra care to wrap the bowl in bubble wrap. I found the tatami platform he worked at (after removing his shoes) so Japanese!
Just down the street was another ceramic shop. This shop featured tables of items by price. An interesting alternative approach.