Kyusu Tokoname

Studio Morimasa

This kyusu is an ideal everyday and entry-level model, suitable for brewing all kinds of Japanese green teas.
Product Side-handle teapot, black
Origin Tokoname, Aichi, Japan
Ceramic style Tokoname Yaki
Studio Morimasa
Volume 370ml
Dimensions Ø15 x 7cm (body only)
Weight 280g
Material Ceramic
Strainer Ceramic (cera-mesh)
Glaze Unglazed (yakishime)
Packaging Cardboard box

Each item is handmade and unique therefore measurements are approximate


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The traditional Japanese teapot, kyusu are typically made of ceramics with a side handle placed at a 90° angle to the spout for ease of pouring – however the handle can also be found over the top or in the back. Kyusu are perfect for preparing green teas and tend to be on the small side to prevent overbrewing. The size, shape and type of clay a kyusu is made from will determine what type of tea is best prepared in it. There are many different regional styles as well as kyusu made by certified master craftsmen, which are prized amongst collectors.

Tokoname-yaki 常滑焼

Pottery has been produced in the city of Tokoname, Aichi prefecture, as far back as the 12th century, and since 1976 Tokoname ceramics, or Tokoname-yaki, has been protected as a Traditional Craft of Japan. Tokoname was the site of the largest and oldest of the legendary Rokkoyō (六古窯): the “Six Ancient Kilns” of Japan, and continues to be the leading ceramics production centre in Japan today. Synonymous with Tokoname is the local iron-rich Shudei clay which turns a bright red after baking. Historically this clay was dug up from beneath rice paddies, but nowadays most Tokoname clay is enriched with natural red iron oxide, or Bengara (弁柄), to achieve similar levels of iron. When fired a second time in a reduction oven, the red clays turns black – another characteristic colour of Tokoname-yaki.

Tokoname Kyusu teapots are typically unglazed on the inside, allowing the tannins in the tea to interact with the iron in the clay body, which is said to reduce astringency and highlight the sweetness of green teas. Another key feature are the perfectly fitting lids, which are ground into the body after firing in a technique known as Suriawase. Besides red and black, Tokoname wares also come in a variety of colours and finishes by mixing other pigmented clays or coating in Chara (チャラ) slip glaze, as well as traditional decorative techniques such as Yōhen (窯変) ombré and Mogake (藻掛け) "seaweed covering".


Ikomi 鋳込み

This Kyusu is made using the Ikomi method, also known as pressure or slip casting, where liquid clay, or slip, is poured into and shaped in a plaster mould. The process makes it possible to make complicated shapes and is suitable for producing larger quantities.

How to use

Since Tokoname Kyusu have relatively low porosity they are perfect for brewing all sorts of tea. Brewing methods will differ with each tea and personal preference, but the basic steps are outlined as follows:

  • Pour freshly boiled water into teacups or a Yuzamashi cooler to bring the temperature of the water down and warm up the cups you will be using. The hot water may also be used to warm the Kyusu before adding the tea leaves.
  • Make sure the Kyusu is empty before adding 1 to 3 heaped teaspoons of tea per person, depending on the type of tea and how strong you would like to make it.
  • Once the teacups are cool enough to handle or the water in the Yuzamashi has dropped to the required temperature – no higher than 80°C for Japanese green tea – then pour this water into the prepared Kyusu, making sure not to fill it to the brim but to about two thirds full.
  • Close the lid and allow the tea to steep for the recommended or desired time.
  • To pour from a side handle Kyusu, simply grip the handle and rest your thumb on the lid to secure it, then slowly pour a little tea into each of the cups and repeat until the Kyusu is emptied, this way everyone gets an even strength brew. At the end, firmly shake the Kyusu downwards to extract the very last drops.
  • If the tea is suitable for multiple infusions, repeat the brewing process again using water that is a little hotter with each round.
  • After the last infusion, discard the tea leaves, rinse and shake the Kyusu vigorously with warm water only until all the leaves have been washed out, then leave to dry naturally with the lid off.


As with all unglazed ceramics, wash with warm water and a soft cloth only. Do not use detergents or put in the dishwasher. Pat the outside dry with a towel and/or leave the kyusu to air dry naturally with the lid off. If tea leaves get trapped in the filter, brush away with a soft brush, such as a toothbrush.

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