In Hive, tables are actually stored in a few places. Specifically, if you use partitions (which you should, if your tables are very large or growing) then each partition can have its own storage.
To show the default location where table data or partitions will be created if you create them through default HIVE commands: (insert overwrite … partition … and such):
describe formatted dbname.tablename
To show the actual location of a particular partition within a HIVE table, instead do this:
describe formatted dbname.tablename partition (name=value)
If you look in your filesystem where a table “should” live, and you find no files there, it’s very likely that the table is created (usually incrementally) by creating a new partition and pointing that partition at some other location. This is a great way of building tables from things like daily imports from third parties and such, which avoids having to copy the files around or storing them more than once in different places.