Banko Kyusu
Teppachi 鉄鉢

Studio Tozan

Original Japanese teapot made of Banko clay with a side handle. This handmade teapot (kyusu in Japanese) comes directly from the prestigious Studio Tozan. Its elegant and minimalist design is ideal for brewing upscale Japanese green tea. It is made of a violet natural clay and baked using the strong reduction firing method, 150ml.
Type Side-handle Banko-yaki kyusu
Kiln Banko Yaki (萬古焼)
Studio/Artist Tozan Studio (陶山窯)
Origin Yokkaichi, Mie prefecture, Japan
Capacity  150ml
Recommended filling quantity For optimal serving, it is recommended to fill only up to the last third of the integrated strainer.
(diameter without handle x height without knob)
9 x 4 cm
Clay Purple natural clay (Shidei; 紫泥)
Firing Reduction firing (還元焼成)
Glaze Unglazed inside and out (Yakishime; 焼き締め), polished finish for a beautiful sheen.
Sieve Permanently integrated stainless steel sieve (rustproof)
Production The components of the lid and jug are hand-potted on the potter's wheel and then assembled to fit exactly. (Rokuro 轆轤 in Japanese)
Packaging Box

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Tōzan 陶山

Founded in 1829, the Tozan ceramics studio is now in its fifth generation. The first generation was a Meiji-era kyusu master who studied under legendary Yokkaichi potter, Yamanaka Chuzaemon, and nearly 160 years later the Tozan studio continues to specialise in manufacturing Banko-yaki teaware. While proudly cherishing tradition, Tozan strives to make playful and affordable Banko wares that complement modern tastes and lifestyles. To achieve this, they primarily employ a jollying method that makes use of mechanically turning moulds, as well as slipcasting or gabaikomi for more complex shapes.

Kyusu 急須

A kyusu is a traditional Japanese teapot for the ideal preparation of Japanese green tea. Fired from natural clay and unglazed on the inside, the body reacts with the water and the tea and brings out certain aromas. The tea can steep optimally free-floating in the pot; moreover, the leaves lie advantageously over the integrated sieve when poured in, so that on the one hand they filter themselves, on the other hand they allow a more complete extraction of flavours and ingredients. The tea is only ever brewed fresh, but several times. The side handle and the knob on the lid prevent the hand from coming into contact with the excessively hot body.

Throughout history, there have been hundreds of ceramic centres in Japan, wherever the volcanic soil had rich clay deposits. Some are still active today, including the six most important "old kilns" (Rokkoyo): Bizen, Shigaraki, Seto, Echizen, Tamba and Tokoname. But also others such as Karatsu, Hagi, Mino, Shino, Oribe, Setoguro Ki-Seto and Kyo-yaki, and for tea ceramics above all Banko in Yokkaichi.

They differ regionally according to the composition of the clay, the prevalent firing method, the handwork steps, decoration and glazing techniques and the fineness or deliberate coarseness of the production. Above all, the clay and the firing determine the flavourful character of the kyusu, i.e. which types of flavours of a tea are lifted or subdued by it. For this reason, tea lovers often have various Kyusu of different qualities at home, in order to enable the optimal preparation depending on the tea and its quality. Among the finest and most valuable kyusu are those made by famous artists who are renowned not only for their special talents in manufacturing, form and decoration, but also for their own production of the natural clay as well as their own firing techniques that result in unique qualities.

Led by the Living National Treasures, the most highly awarded masters, there is a whole hierarchy of craftsmanship, ranging from studios that still draw on the reputation of past masters, young and wild studios, to family-run micro-enterprises that produce the bulk of everyday ceramics. Important collector's items are the vintage kyusus, which are still made entirely from now exhausted deposits of the highest quality natural clay of the respective region and thus achieve incomparable qualities in tea infusion.


Banko-yaki 四日市萬古焼

The comparatively younger but still highly prized pottery comes from Yokkaichi in Mie, Japan, where it is being produced since the 18th century. Occurrences of a clay similar to that used for Chinese Yixing ceramics (Zisha Clay) enabled the use of similar manufacturing techniques as in China and the emergence of one of Japan's most important ceramic centres.

The original natural clay was exclusively yellow (the same as in Yixing) and became brownish-purple when fired. This was due to a particularly high iron content of about 6-7 %. It could be fired at higher temperatures, around 1200°C. With the drying up of the original Banko clay since about the 90s, today mostly red clay is mixed with yellow clay, sourced by studios from different regions. Only vintage Kyusus have 100% original clay from Yokkaichi.

A key characteristic of Banko Yaki is the strong reduction firing. This removes oxygen from the clay and results in greater hardness and porosity as well as the famous brown/purple colour with a special, almost metallic sheen. Banko clay is also known for its special properties in terms of taste and effect on Japanese green tea (see tab Tea varieties).



Purple natural clay (Shidei; 紫泥)


The components of the lid and jug are hand-potted on the potter's wheel and then assembled to fit exactly. (Rokuro; 轆轤)

Strong Reduction Firing (Kyo Kangen Shosei, 強還元焼成)

When firing ceramics, various processes start as the temperature rises. First, the water still left in the body evaporates. Above a temperature of 500°C, the clay is completely dehydrated and its chemical state is irreversible. The organic components burn - oxidation takes place. After solidification, the vitrification phase begins.

Reductive firing of the ceramic produces an excess of carbon and a reduction of oxygen in the kiln. Carbon monoxide extracts oxygen from the surroundings and the body. A strong smoke development is the result. The body changes colour, from light grey to black, depending on the intensity and time of the reduction. The clay has less oxygen, becomes firmer and more solid and at the same time acquires greater porosity. All in all, this leads to the specific properties of a kyusu fired in this way when preparing green tea in terms of taste and effect. After firing, the special clay, which is rich in minerals, reacts in a characteristic way with the ingredients of the tea and the water (see the tab on tea varieties).


Unglazed (Yakishime; 焼き締め)


This traditional Kyusu is handmade from natural clay by the prestigious Studio Touzan in Yokkaichi. The great tradition of craftsmanship and the extremely careful production method make this Kyusu the ideal entry-level and everyday model for connoisseurs of high-quality Japanese green teas.


  • Genuine Yokkaichi Banko Kyusu from the prestigious Touzan Studio
  • Purple, ferruginous natural clay
  • Reduction spirit to emphasise umami-stronger green teas, especially suitable for umami-rich senchas / shinchas, gyokuro, kabusecha, gyokuro karigane

Suitable for

Recommended for the Following Japanese Green Teas:

Umami-strong, less bitter green teas
Varieties: Umami-rich Senchas / Shinchas, Gyokuro, Kabusecha, Gyokuro Karigane
Harvest: 1st harvest
Cultivars: Fujimidori, Gokō, Kanayamidori, Komakage, Kuritawase, Okumidori, Saemidori, Samidori, Shojū, Yutakamidori, blends of these cultivars.

Brown/purple earthenware from strong reduction firing (Banko) accentuates the noble softer and sweeter flavours (especially amino acids) and umami of upscale green tea by activating the iron content and higher porosity. This brings out the strengths of umami-rich teas better. Their taste becomes richer and more persistent.

In the long run, it is advisable to use only the similar tea types recommended above in the same kyusu. The Kyusu made of natural clay develops a patina in interaction with the respective tea, which improves and intensifies the taste over time. For this reason, too, if possible, do not use tap or bottled water with a high lime content, but rather soft, low-lime water (similar to natural mountain spring water).


Please always use low-limestone water for all preparation and cleaning steps of Japanese ceramics.

A kyusu should first be warmed with warm water before the actual tea preparation so that the clay can react better with the tea leaves. Only then are the tea needles put in with a wooden spoon. Depending on taste, variety and quality, 1-3 heaped teaspoons per person are recommended. Advanced connoisseurs usually prepare the tea much stronger than beginners, who are less accustomed to the intense taste and bitter substances.

Now pour the water carefully and slowly over the leaves, ideally from a yuzamashi (vessel for cooling the water after boiling) of the same or similar clay and firing. For better results, fill the water only to the top third of the sieve. Please close the lid during the brewing.

To pour, hold the kyusu with one hand so that the thumb rests on the knob. Make sure that the small opening on the lid is at the same level with the spout. Then pour the tea slowly into the cup in several puffs and drink it fresh. If several cups are being filled, they should be poured in small steps one after the other to achieve an even result for all cups. At the end of the pouring process, carefully but firmly jerk the kyusu downwards repeatedly with both hands to extract the last, particularly rich drops from the tea.

Then leave the kyusu closed for the next infusion. After the last infusion, remove the tea completely from the kyusu and rinse it vigorously with water only. Do not scratch or otherwise clean the inside. Finally, rinse the inside and outside of the pot with low-limestone, soft water in order to avoid detrimental limescale deposits. Briefly rub the outside with a clean cloth, then leave the kyusu open to dry completely.


Cleaning Outside:

Only with clean water and a soft cloth. If dirty, rub with infused green tea.

Cleaning Inside:

Rinse only with clean water. Do not scratch or otherwise clean. During use, the kyusu accumulates patina on the inside, which should not be removed.

After using tap water containing limestone, rinse the kyusu inside and out with low-limestone, soft water, in order to avoid the deterioration caused by limescale deposits. Then wipe the outside with a clean, soft cloth.

It is advisable to use only the recommended similar tea types in the same kyusu in the long term (see the tab on tea types). The kyusu, which is unglazed on the inside, develops a patina in combination with the respective tea, which improves and intensifies the taste over time. For this reason, too, when preparing the tea and during the cleaning, it is best to use soft, low-calcium water (similar to natural mountain spring water) rather than tap or bottled water containing limestone.

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