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Best Chabudai – 2020 Updated – Japanese Table Reviews
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One of the key pieces of furniture in any traditional Japanese home is the chabudai
(ちゃぶ台), a low dining or tea table.
These tables are typically no more than 15 inches high. This is primarily due to the fact that they’d usually be used on tatami mats with a combination of floor chairs and cushions, or zaisu and zabuton respectively. Additionally, the chabudai Japanese table is used typically only 7-9 months of the year, as they’re replaced in the winter with kotatsu to provide additional heat during the colder months.
One of the great benefits of the chabudai are their versatility. Whereas the majority of people don’t use a Western dining table for much other than eating, chabudai are often used for studying, working, or eating dinner in a confined space.
Whether you’re someone looking to spruce of their home with a touch of Japanese culture, or someone looking for a low table to sit on the floor as part of your aesthetic, the chabudai might be just the thing you need.
Thus, we’ve reviewed many Japanese or Japanese-inspired chabudai and below are the best Japanese tables currently out there in our opinion.
One of the only Japanese table makers to sell in the foreign markets, AZUMAYA is a commanding presence in the Japanese table making scene. Their folding chabudai is one of the best selling overseas, and there are a variety of reasons why.
To start, unlike many other tables that you can find online, the AZUMAYA Japan folding table comes completely installed and put together. This is primarily due to the fact that the hinges on the bottom of the table connecting the legs are tucked away and packed nice and neatly. There are a lot of people out there that do not wish to spend an hour or two of headaches putting things together. Thus, we think that it’s a pleasant surprise to see a Japanese table that doesn’t come in multiple pieces.
Additionally, this AZUMAYA chabudai has a great walnut finish that’s both modern and stylish. The table itself is made of both walnut and rubberwood. It feels sturdy, despite only weighing a total of 22lbs.
Best of all, due to the fact that it folds down, the Japanese table can be safety stored away below a lot of sofas or inside any available closet.
One potential downside for some people is that the tabletop does have a maximum weight restriction of about 45lbs. However, so long as you don’t intend on stacking books or standing on it, the sturdy built should last regardless.
- Sturdy build made of solid walnut and rubberwood
- Weighs only 22lbs and can be safety stored easily
- Popular in both Japan and Western countries
- Maximum weight limit of about 45lbs on the table
The second and longest table to make the list of chabudai is a Western take on Japanese tables by WoodShine.
The table’s most prominent feature is the addition of a magazine or book rack divot located on one end. It’s stylish and useful to include reading material for you and your guests’ entertainment in the living room.
The table is built entirely out of rubberwood, and is pretty sturdy for it. You will have to put the legs on yourself, too.
Though, it’s a bit of a shame that it doesn’t have a different wood’s finish or other materials built inside it, as the finish does look a little bland compared to others out there.
However, the WoodShine table does make up for this a little by being the cheapest table on this entire list. Though it’s not super budget-friendly in any case, it is less than half the cost of some other tables.
- Cheap and sturdy
- Stylish divot for books, remotes, magazines, or otherwise
- Longer than all other Japanese tables on this list
- Finish is somewhat bland compared to other chabudai
- Have to assemble yourself
- 100% Rubberwood
The next Western option of the list is this table by Zen’s Bamboo. Though it’s not the most stylish or distinctly Japanese table around, it’s still a fantastic chabudai for anyone who lives alone.
To start, the entire table is made from bamboo. This makes it one of the strongest tables around despite being one of the lightest and smallest to make this list. In fact, the makers boast that this table can hold weights up to a maximum of 220lbs, more than four times as much as other tables.
Due to the fact that it doesn’t fold, this is another table that does have to be assembled. However, the assembly is very easy. All you have to do in order to assemble the bamboo table is simply screw the legs in. That’s it.
It’s a little on the pricey side for the minimalistic design in my opinion, but I suppose that has something to do with the bamboo material construction.
- Very sturdy and capable of holding up to 220lbs
- Small and compact design makes it good for small, confined spaces
- Sleek and minimalistic
- Expensive for the size
- Not distinctly as Japanese as some other tables out there
The second AZUMAYA product to be on the list is their folding coffee table.
To be completely fair and honest, there isn’t a ton different compared to their original folding chabudai. The main and most blatant addition comes in the fact that they now have a separate slab of walnut and rubberwood to add a shelf below the table.
If you need the additional storage space, that may make it a better choice than the original for you, but be warned that it has a fairly hefty markup in price in comparison.
In any case, it’s AZUMAYA. It’s Japanese. It’s popular. And all around, it’s a fantastic table that is great for anyone wanting that Japanese aesthetic.
- Additional storage space made possible by the additional shelf below the table.
- Fantastic walnut finish
- Quality Japanese table
- Expensive compared to other options
- Additional shelf makes it less compact to store than the original without it
Whereas the other two AZUMAYA chabudai on this list were foldable, this one is not.
Additionally, it’s made of solid acacia wood instead of the walnut and rubberwood compositions of the other two Japanese tables. This makes it noticeable lighter in finish coloration.
On the downside, it’s also the first AZUMAYA table that requires assembly on this list, too. What’s worse is that the included instructions are sadly entirely in Japanese. The upside to this is that the assembly is fairly self-explanatory, and most people end up being able to assemble it in no time regardless.
In any case, this table is obviously meant for people who intend on using the table year-round, unlike the previous two Japanese tables by AZUMAYA. And just like the last two tables, it’s another great option by AZUMAYA for anyone living in a Western country looking for a chabudai.
- Solid acacia wooden build
- Additional shelf provides extra storage space
- Quality controlled Japanese table
- Will not fold away
- Expensive compared to Western table makers
Picking the Best Chabudai for You
If you need additional consideration as to what Japanese or Japanese inspired table is right for you, here are some summarized thoughts that may sway your decision:
- If you want an authentic Japanese table that you can fold away whenever you don’t intend to use it:
AZUMAYA Folding Table
- If you want a cheap, long table that is Japanese inspired:
WoodShine Japanese Tea Table
- If you want a small, compact, minimalistic zen table:
Zen’s Bamboo Coffee Table
- If you want an authentic Japanese folding table that has an additional shelf:
AZUMAYA Folding Coffee Table
- If you want an authentic Japanese table that you intend to have out throughout the year:
AZUMAYA Japan’s Coffee Table
And with that, I hope that your living or dining room can have that extra oomph of Japanese cultural aesthetic that you’re looking for.
Thanks for reading, culture lovers!