Kyusu Tokoname


Original Japanese hand-turned side handle teapot by the famous Studio Gyokko from Tokoname. With an integrated ceramic strainer, ideal for the preparation of upscale Japanese green tea, red natural shade, black colouring by recuction firing, suitable for all Japanese green teas, 300ml.
Type Side handle cans: yokode kyūsu (横手急須)
Kiln Tokoname Yaki (常滑焼)
Studio/Artist Master Gyokko (玉光陶園)
Origin Tokoname (region), Aichi (prefecture), Japan
Capacity  300ml
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)
9,8 x 7,3 cm
Weight 222g
Clay Red natural clay (jap.: Shudei; 朱泥) enriched with natural Bengara (弁柄; red iron oxide). Black colouring due to the reduction firing
Firing Reduction fire (Jap.: Kangen Shōsei; 還元焼成)
Glaze unglazed (Jap.: yakishime; 焼き締め)
Strainer integrated ceramic strainer
Production The components of the lid and jug are cast into shape by hand and then assembled by hand for a precise fit. (jap.: Ikomi; 鋳込み)
Packaging Cardboard

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This Kyusu is made by a traditional, small craft studio (Jap.: kamamoto) in Tokoname. All the work steps are carried out exclusively by hand. Today, this traditional region for ceramics counts less than 40 studios.

Tokoname Kyusu

A Kyusu is a traditional Japanese tea pot for the 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 strainer when pouring, so that they filter themselves on the one hand, 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" (jap. 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. Therefore, tea lovers often have different 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 famous 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 kyusu, 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.

Tokoname Yaki

Tokoname Yaki (常滑焼, Aichi Prefecture)

Tokoname is the oldest of Japan's so-called Six Old Kilns (jap.: roku koyo, 日本六古窯). With about 200 kilns for traditional ceramics, Tokoname is now the largest centre of ceramics production. The pure natural clay (shudei) is red and particularly rich in iron, and has special properties in terms of taste and effect on green tea. Unlike other regions, Tokoname still has - albeit diminishing - reserves of its famous natural clay.

For the famous Shudei Kyusu, the most iron-rich, fine-grained clay with a special colour is used, which is found under rice fields in Tokoname. The even more special, genuine Hon Shudei clay with the ideal iron content, however, has become so rare that nowadays Shudei is additionally enriched with natural iron oxide in order to really achieve the desired shade of genuine Hon Shudei.

One way of producing differently coloured kyusus is to use chara (Japanese: チャラ) on shudei kyusus. To do this, the potter sprays on a mixture of red clay and natural colour pigments after shaping the base. The process is called chara-gake. The kyusu is then fired. Finished Shudei pots with Chara have a special shine, which is achieved by polishing the potted Kyusu with a metal spatula or cloth before firing. For this reason, glazes or on-glaze painting are often avoided to let the clay speak for itself.

In the production of Tokoname kyusu, the so-called oxidation firing for red and the reduction firing for purple to black shards are used on gas or electric kilns. Some studios, especially well-known artists, sometimes use a combination of the two techniques for special colour patterns (jap.: Yohen 窯変). Oxidation firing is done between 1100 and 1200 degrees Celsius, depending on the clay, and must be controlled extremely closely because of the colour changes and the risk of cracking.

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 Chinese specialists made possible the development of the red, unglazed Shudei ware (jap.: Yakishime; 焼き締め). Tokoname has become famous throughout Japan, or rather the world, especially for the shudei kyusus made of red toki. But the studios of the region are also known for many other techniques, such as ash glazing (jap.: kaiyu; 灰釉), dark burn marks by carbon impregnation (koge), celadon work and the mixing of different types and colours of clay.



Red natural clay (Jap.: shudei; 朱泥) enriched with natural Bengara (弁柄; red iron oxide). 


The components of the lid and jug are cast in mould and then assembled by hand for a precise fit. (jap.: Ikomi; 鋳込み)

Reduction firing (Jap. kyo kangen shosei, 強還元焼成).

When firing ceramics, various processes begin 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 Tea Varieties tab).


Unglazed (Jap.: Yakishime; 焼き締め)


This traditional Kyusu is handcrafted from natural clay by the Gyokko Studio in Tokoname. 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.

Tokoname is one of Japan's six ancient ceramic centres. High-quality earthenware has been produced here since the 12th century. The particularly ferruginous clay deposits still present there are responsible for the characteristic red body which, together with the oxidation firing, is so decisive for optimising the taste of the tea. A special feature of the production of Kyusu from Tokoname are the lids, which are cut by hand and fit precisely.


  • Handmade in original Tokoname studio
  • Hand-ground lid
  • Red, ferruginous natural clay
  • Reduction firing, therefore suitable for all Japanese varieties of all harvests

Suitable for

Especially recommended for the following Japanese green teas:

Suitable for all Japanese varieties of all harvests.

Earthenware made from reduction spirit helps the green tea to have a larger and more balanced body and thus brings out the aromatic substances and the general taste better overall. At the same time, however, peaks and individual characteristics are smoothed out somewhat. These Kyusus can be described as all-rounders for all types of green tea.

In the long run, it is advisable to use only the similar tea types recommended above in the same kyusu. The Kyusu, which is unglazed on the inside, develops a patina in interaction with the respective tea, which improves and intensifies the taste over time. For this reason, 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).


For the care of high-quality Japanese ceramics, please use low-limestone, soft water for all preparations and cleaning steps.

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. During the brewing time, please close the lid.

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.



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


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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