You’ve probably been fascinated by the beauty of copper rain chains; either by the one you have or by the one you deeply admire at your neighbor’s house. But do you know who came up with this brilliant idea?

The Japanese… and some centuries ago…

Yep, the Japanese, they’re not all about math and martial arts as most of the world believes. Keep reading on to discover how their ingenuity gave birth to this lovely decor.

Ordinarily called “Kusari-toi” in Japan, rain chains are a type of downspout that hangs vertically from lateral gutters on roofs and is designed to guide rainwater, in a fashionable manner, to the ground.

Common downspouts are made typically of plastic, aluminum, or cast iron pipes, not displaying the flow of water on its way to the ground (boring…); on the other hand, rain chains serve as a functional ornament that provides a visual spectacle for the observer as the rainwater trickles down the chain form the roof all the way down to the ground.

The interesting thing is they’ve been seen in Japanese residencies and temples since long time ago.


Photo by Christian Joudrey on Unsplash

Going a little bit back in history, Kusari-toi is a form of Japanese architecture first implemented when constructing Sukiya-style buildings (tea-houses) for performing tea ceremonies. It appeared during the Azuchi Momoyama period (between 1558-1600 A.C. approximately) when small tea-houses were called Sukiya in Japan.

During that time, Tea masters preferred rustic and mundane decoration over formality and splendor, so natural elements were selected.

As a result, fibers from the outer layer of hemp-palms were woven into a rope called Shuro-nawa and was hung from the eaves (made from bamboo or wood) so that rainwater could trickle down the rope to the ground, functioning as Kusari-toi, the first versions of rain chains to ever exist.

As time passed, downspouts, formerly made from natural elements such as bamboo and wood, have evolved with technology to metals and plastics.

On the other hand, rain chains also evolved from the Shuro-nawa ropes to metal chains, and further to cup-shaped metal for improved water flow.


Clever, don’t you think? You can now harness natural elements in your home with a beautiful rain chain. Your house will stand out with a fantastic water feature and get compliment after compliment.

If you have any doubt as if a rain chain is a perfect fit for your home, check them out here: and let me know what you think.

Until next time… take care!

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