Dobin Tokoname

Original Japanese dobin teapot by Master Jinshu from Tokoname. Integrated, hand-pierced ceramic strainer, natural clay, handmade. Fine colour patterns from the yohen firing technique. 480ml
Type Dobin
Kiln Tokoname Yaki (常滑焼)
Studio Master Jinshu (甚秋)
Origin Tokoname, Aichi Prefecture, Japan
Volume 480ml
Recommended fill line For optimal pouring, fill only up to the last third of the integrated strainer. Larger amounts of water can cause water to leak out, even with the well fitted lid.
Dimensions 10.8 x 9cm
(Diameter without handle x height without knob)
Weight 471g
Strainer Ceramic sieve pierced by hand
Production The lid is ground to fit the body of the pot (Suriawase technique, すり合わせ), a sign of originality from Tokoname
Packaging Box
Tea varieties Recommended for bancha, genmaicha, hojicha

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Kyusu 急須

A kyusu is a traditional Japanese teapot used for the preparation of Japanese green tea. Fired from natural clay and unglazed on the inside, the body reacts with the tea and water to bring out certain aromas while subduing others. With the tea allowed to steep free-floating in the pot and the leaves lying across the integrated strainer when pouring to prevent them from entering the cup, the kyusu allows for a more complete extraction of flavours and ingredients. The tea should always be brewed fresh, but several infusions are customary. The side handle and the knob on the lid allow for safe handling of the teapot despite the high temperature of its contents.

Throughout history, there have been hundreds of ceramic centres in Japan, located wherever the volcanic soil was rich in clay. Some are still active today, including the Six Ancient Kilns (Jap.: Rokkoyo) Bizen, Shigaraki, Seto, Echizen, Tamba and Tokoname, others such as Karatsu, Hagi, Mino, Shino, Oribe, Setoguro Ki-Seto and Kyo-yaki, as well as Banko in Yokkaichi, which specialises in tea ceramics in particular.

Kyusu differ according to the composition of the clay, which varies from region to region, the firing method, the handmade production steps taken, the decoration and glazing techniques as well as the overall quality, which can range from delicate to deliberately coarse. The clay as well as chosen firing technique determine the character of the kyusu, i.e. which types of flavours are lifted or subdued. Therefore, tea lovers often have different kyusu of different qualities at home in order to optimally prepare all their favourite teas. Among the finest and most valuable kyusu are those made by artists famous for their special talents in manufacturing, decoration and unique natural clay production as well as for their perfected firing techniques.

Led by the most highly awarded masters, the hierarchy of craftsmanship includes studios that still draw on the reputation of past masters, young and wild studios and family-run micro-enterprises which produce the bulk of everyday ceramics. Vintage kyusu are important collector's items made entirely from now exhausted deposits of the highest quality natural clay of the respective region, achieving tea infusions of an incomparable calibre.

Tokoname Yaki

Tokoname Yaki (常滑焼, Aichi Prefecture)

The oldest of the legendary Six Ancient Kilns (Jap.: roku koyo, 日本六古窯), Tokoname has been producing high-quality earthenware since the 12th century. Present-day Tokoname, housing about 200 kilns, is now the largest site of ceramics production. The pure natural clay (shudei) is red, rich in iron and has a special influence on the taste and effect of green tea. Unlike other regions, Tokoname still has reserves of its famous natural clay, although they are diminishing.

For the famous Shudei kyusu, the clay used is as ferruginous and fine-grained as possible (Jap.: tatsuchi). This type of clay is found under rice fields in Tokoname and gives the teapot its special properties and colour. Genuine Hon Shudei clay, which contains the ideal iron content, is now so rare, however, that the clay is now enriched with natural iron oxide in order to achieve the desired shade.

For differently coloured kyusu, the potter sprays on a mixture of red clay and natural pigments after shaping the base. This process is called chara-gake. The kyusu is then fired. Finished Shudei pots have a special shine, which is achieved by polishing the kyusu with a metal spatula or cloth before firing. For this reason, glazes or painted decorations are often dispensed with, leaving the clay to speak for itself.

In the production of Tokoname kyusu, firing is done using gas or electric kilns (oxidation firing for red shards and reduction firing for black shards). Some studios, especially those of well-known artists, use a combination of the two techniques. Oxidation firing is done between 1,100 and 1,200 degrees Ceslsius, depending on the clay, and must be extremely carefully controlled die to the colour changes that occur and the risk of cracks developing.

The introduction of the multi-vaulted, multi-chamber hang kiln (Jap.: renboshiki-noborigama, 連房式登窯) in 1834 improved the control of the firing process compared to earlier kilns. This, and the help of specialists from China, made the development of red unglazed shudei ware possible. Tokoname has become famous for the shudei kyusu made of red toki. However, the studios of the region are also known for many other techniques, such as the ash glaze (yakishime), the dark firing marks made by carbon impregnation (koge), celadon work and the mixing of different types and colours of clay.

Important to us

This traditional dobin is hand-turned from natural clay by Master Jinshu, a multiple award-winning potter from Tokoname. A dobin, usually unglazed on the inside, is an often slightly larger kyusu. This dobin has wonderful colour patterns created by Jinshu's speciality, the yohen firing technique.

The largest and oldest of the legendary Six Ancient Kilns of Japan, Tokoname has been producing high-quality earthenware since the 12th century. The particularly iron-rich clay deposits of the region give the wares their characteristic red colour which, combined with oxidation firing, are key elements in their ability to optimise the teas' flavour. A special feature of the production of kyusu from Tokoname are the lids, which are ground by hand and fit precisely.


  • Genuine Jinshu masterpiece
  • Hand-cut lid
  • Red, ferruginous natural clay
  • Fine colour patterns from the yohen firing technique
  • Unglazed inside to emphasise mild, alkaline flavours, suitable for alkaline and balanced green teas from the second and subsequent harvests, such as bancha, genmaicha, hojicha and sannenbancha

Suitable for

Recommended for the following Japanese green teas:

All alkaline and balanced green teas from the second and subsequent harvests.
Varieties: bancha, genmaicha, hojicha, sannenbancha

High-quality, internally unglazed, oxidation fired earthenware (light brown, slightly reddish and yellowish to grey) helps green tea to have a softer and more balanced body, resulting in a milder and more harmonious flavour. Strongly roasted teas, such as hojicha or sannenbancha, also benefit from these types of kyusus.

For long-term use, it is advisable to stick to similar tea types, such as those recommended above. Kyusus made of natural clay develop a patina in interaction with each tea, improving and intensifying their flavour over time. For this reason, too, avoid the use of tap or bottled water with a high lime content. Soft water (similar to natural mountain spring water), will not harm the patina.


To properly care for high-quality Japanese ceramics, always use soft water throughout preparation and cleaning.

A kyusu should be warmed with water before usage so that the clay reacts better with the tea leaves. Only then should the tea needles be added with a wooden spoon. Depending on taste, variety and quality, 1-3 heaped teaspoons per person are recommended. Connoisseurs usually make the tea much stronger than beginners, who are less used to the intense taste and bitter compounds.

Pour the water carefully and slowly over the leaves, ideally from a yuzamashi (a vessel used for cooling the water after boiling) of the same or similar clay and fire. For best results, fill the water only to the top third of the strainer. Please close the lid while brewing the tea.

To pour, hold the kyusu with one hand, with your thumb on the knob. Make sure that the small opening on the lid is level with the spout. Then pour the tea slowly into the cup, drinking immediately. If several cups are being filled, they should be poured one after the other in small amounts to achieve an even result for all cups. At the end, gently but firmly point the kyusu downwards repeatedly with both hands to extract the last, particularly rich drops from the tea.

After the last infusion, remove the tea from the kyusu and rinse it with water. Do not scrape or otherwise clean the inside. Afterwards, rinse the inside and outside of the pot with soft water to prevent any detrimental limescale deposits. Briefly wipe the outside with a clean cloth. Then leave the kyusu open to dry completely and store it closed for the next infusion.


Cleaning the exterior:

Clean only with water and a soft cloth. If dirty, wipe with infused green tea.

Cleaning the interior:

Only rinse with clean water containing as little lime as possible. During use, the kyusu accumulates a valuable patina on the inside which should not be removed.

If using tap water to rinse the kyusu, rinse it afterwards with low-lime, soft water inside and out to prevent any detrimental limescale deposits. Then wipe the outside with a clean, soft cloth.

For long-term use, it is advisable to stick to similar tea types, such as those recommended above. Kyusus made of natural clay develop a patina in interaction with each tea, improving and intensifying their flavour over time. For this reason, too, avoid the use of tap or bottled water with a high lime content. Soft water (similar to natural mountain spring water), will not harm the patina.

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