What is Tokoname Kyusu Teapots? What is special? How do they look? (Tokoname-yaki)

Hello! We are SHIHA TEAPOT SHOP loacated in Tokyo Japan. We specialize in high-end teapots.

We introduce about Tokoname Teapots. Tokoname Teapots are also called Tokonamyaki Teapot or Tokonameyaki Kyusu. “Kyusu (急須)” means teapot in Japanese.

Tokoname Teapot Photo Gallery

If you would like to see how Tokoname teapots looks like first, please visit our 100 teapots page .

Our online shop also shows Tokoname teapots.

Online Storehttps://shihateapot.com
Online Storehttps://shihateacomfort.shop

Tokoname Teapot page: https://shihateapot.com/collections/tokoname-teapot

What is Tokoname?

Tokoname (常滑)” is a name of town (city) in Aichi prefecture in Japan. It is one of the oldest pottery town in Japan.

Teapots made in Tokoname are called Tokoname Teapot.

History of Tokoname Teapot

Teapots have been made in Tokoname since 19th century.

Pottery has been made in Tokoname since 12th century until now with no break period.

Have you heard about “Japan’s Six Old Kilns”? Tokoname is one of the six and the oldest.

The photo below is old Tokoname pots at Tokyo National Museum.

Old time of Tokoname has good clay and mountains which provide plenty of firewood. And Tokoname is facing to sea. Those were important factors as pottery production and to export(carry) them to other area of Japan to sell.

More photos of old Japanese Pottery at our blog https://shihateacomfort.com/tohaku-heian

Typical Tokoname Teapot (Red Clay teapot)

Red clay teapots are typical and traditional Tokoname teapots.

Tokoname clay contains irons. After it is fired, it becomes red.

Nowadays, some artists in Tokoname use other type of clay.

Teapots made in Tokoname even with other type of clay are called Tokoname Teapot customary.

Technique and Tradition of Tokoname Teapot

Teapot artists and studios in Tokoname have very high technique of making good teapots, which is good water flow, light body, nice griping..etc

Those technique and traditional value of quality have been inherited in Tokoname.

Tokoname Teapot is Japan’s official “Traditional Craft(伝統工芸品)” certified by Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry of Japanese Government.

Tokoname Teapots are “Unglazed” “Stoneware”

Tokoname teapots are unglazed and it is categorized as stoneware.

(They are not earthenware. Tokomame teapots are fired 2012F /1100C or higher.)

Benefit of the Tokoname clay is explained in another chapter below.

Unglazed (By Koie Hiroshi)
Unglazed – polished at finishing (By Yoshikawa Setudo)

Please note that in recent decades some artists use glaze on outer surface for art as seen photo below. Inside is not glazed basically.

Glazed surface (By Yamada Sou)
Glazed surface (Shoryu)
Glazed surface ( (Junzo )

Some lower price teapots may be glazed inside and outside. (and often they have stainless filters) .

Styles of Teapot – Tokoname Teapot

Most of Tokomane teapots are side-handled teapot as most of Japanese teapots are side-handled.

There are also back-handled, top-handled.

Houhin and Shiboridashi (Shibo) have no handle.

Please refer our blog about Japanese teapot which is categorized by position of handle.

Practical tool to brew tea, Art works to bring joy

Tokoname teapots are a practical tool to brew tea, and also art works. They show our culture and tradition!

Most of Tokoname teapots in our shop are authentic and classical style.

Feel Japanese culture and high quality teapot with your favorite tea.

Make Taste of Tea Richer and Round – Tokoname Teapot

Unglazed means that tea and water touch to the clay in a teapot.

It is said that the clay reduce astringency and make taste of tea richer and round, especially for Japanese green tea.

Some Teapots, like Shoryu Tenmoku Teapot as below, outside is glazed, inside is not glazed. This case, tea touches to the clay and make good effect to the taste.

Please pay attention to the glazing when you select teapots.

Green Tea Taste Really Change?

A customer in United states send us comment for Tokoname teapot as follows.

This beautiful pot makes brewing the best tasting tea very easy! 
Just the right amount of tea bits get through the filter to make the tea fresh and flavorful. 

View whole message

See customer review for Japanese teapot at our store.

Tokoname Teapot at customer’s table

Brewing Japanese green tea with Tokoname teapot is so much different from brewing glass-made teapot or glazed teapot.

Japanese people know it by experience.

There is one interesting experience – I brewed green tea with glass-made teapot then changed to Tokoname teapot and brewed the same tea. My friends who drunk the tea thought I changed the tea leaves (to good one).

It is said that the clay has tiny holes and the clay has iron – those are making taste of green tea taste round and well.

Lid and Body are Perfectly Fit- Tokoname Teapot

Every tokoname teapots has a lid which fit to the body perfectly. No gap between lid and opening of the body.

Because lids size are first made bigger and then adjusted after firing in “paring” process.

After firing, there is “Pairing” process to make lid size fit to body. In local expression in Tokoname and Banko, it is called “Lid Matching “ (photo: Banko Teapot)

For details about Tokoname teapot lid, please see out blog.

Handmade Filter / Strainer – Tokoname Teapot

Most of high-end Tokoname teapots have handmade filters. Holes of filters are made by artist one by one. Material (clay) is the same as teapot body.

See Yoshikawa Setsudo Teapot at online shop
See Koie Hiroshi (Reiko) Teapot at online shop

There is a half-handmade filiter. Shape of filer is made by the artist, and holes are made by using a tool (puncher).

The puncher had been invented by a potter in Tokoname some decades ago. The filter made with the pucher are called Ceramesh or Sasame.

Teapot Artists in Tokoname

Tokoname is pottery teapot town. Some artists in Tokoname only make teapots.

Although they sometime make tea cups, but mainly, mostly make teapots. Especially artists born in 1930s, 1940s, 1950s have been making only teapots through their pottery life.

The photos below are Tokoname teapot artists born in 1930s, 1940s, 1950s. We carry their teapots.

(There are some other teapot artists, too.)

Artists’ Page in Online Shop

Those who are making teapots longer than 50 years have so much techniques and skills to create teapots as you can imagine.

They fully consider about function of teapots and put their all techniques into a teapot they make. Water flow is good, water stopping is good, lid fits body well, comfortable in your hand etc.

Teapots they produced are widely used in Japan in last 50 years and contribute to develop beautiful Japanese Tea culture.
And also their teapots support Japanese people’s health (physicals and metals) through tea time.

Please watch the details of our teapots at online shop carefully. Photo also shows the quality.

Of course artists in younger generation also have high techniques. Their teapots must have new beauty in tradition.

All Handmade by an Artist?

Most of teapot artist in Tokoname (at least teapot artists of our collection) make teapots by himself alone.

Some are made with family members.

Most of the artists don’t have big factory. They make teapots at small studio (workshop).

In those cases, most of process are done by himself or/and his family members.

The process is; clay selection, purification, design, forming, carving (some artist), kiln adjustment, firing, polishing, lid adjustment .. all done by the artist.

It means that ;

  • Artist himself control quality at every steps
  • Making process is longer than mold-made teapots
  • Production volume is not big
  • Teapot users can “feel the artist” in every details and in whole teapot.

About “Traditional Craft Man”

As explained in the above Chapter, Japanese government has ”Traditional Craft” certification system for traditional craft made in Japan.

Also, the government has certification system for person(aritists and artizans) who have traditional craft techniques.

They are called “Traditional craft man” .

Many of Tokoname teapots in our collection are made by artists certified as “Traditional craft man” .

They are making teapot for some decades, some are more than 50 years. They are teapot professionals 👑

Beauty and perfect functions come from their long years experience and technique.

Recommendation: Grab if you find one you like!

If you find a Tokoname teapot you like, we recommend to buy it soon. we have seen many cases that production of nice teapots suddenly discontinued for many reasons. You see the fact that some of popular models from 5 -10 years ago are no longer obtainable.

Online Store: https://shihateapot.com
Online Store: https://shihateacomfort.shop

If you have questions about teapots, feel free to send us message. We introduce information in our blog.

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