Coasters are widely used in Japan. Most cups used to hold hot beverages such as tea or sake, don't have handles. Therefore, a gracious host will use a coaster to serve a hot beverage to a guest, giving him something to hold onto which is not too hot.
Typical Coaster Set
The lid has an outer lip which fits over an inner lip on the top of the box. The top has a carved design which is framed within a thin border of lathe chatter.
A stack of from 6 to 12 coasters fills up the inside of the box, leaving barely enough room to put on the lid. A carved design complementing the design on the lid, but less detailed, is found on the top surface of each coaster. Each coaster is between 2¾ and 3¼ inches in diameter. There is lathe chatter used on both the top and bottom surfaces of each coaster. Since they are so thin, and since they have usually been neglected, it is not uncommon for the coasters to be cracked, when we get them.