Imagine you are sipping tea in a perfectly manicured garden, with combed rocks, a few bonsai trees and the perfect amount of silent shade.Dscf1714  It may be one of those details about Japan that you will want to replicate in your garden when you get stateside. It took me a while to notice this piece of the Japanese architecture, because like all things Japanese, it complements its surroundings while providing a useful purpose. In Japan, rain chains or “kusari doi” have been a step up from the usual rain gutter pipe or drain.  It originated hundreds of years ago as a “stylish” spout to guide rainwater into large pots for gardening and household purposes.

I took this photo of a rain chain in Beitou Hot Springs in Taipei, Taiwain. Among popular chain styles is the kiku chain, inspired by the chrysanthemum flower. This has special importance in the Japanese garden for it is the official crest and symbol of the Japanese imperial family. There is also a scalloped square chain which has a box-like shape featuring scalloped tops and bottoms, and different styles of interlocking chains. Because of the variations in shape, density, direction of water flow and size of rain chains, each chain will sound different while channeling water. Some will be softly soothing like a bubbling brook while others as dramatic as a waterfall. So if you want to add a little feng-shui to your life, I found them at the Navy Fleet Gift Shop on Lester for about 150.00.


  1. Bonsai is the art of cultivating miniaturized plants. The plants themselves are normal sized plants; they are not grown specifically for bonsai. The miniaturization is what makes bonsai such a great hobby, as enthusiasts prune the roots and shape the leaves of normal trees and shrubs to restrict them to a miniature bonsai scale. Finally thanks for sharing a good information on cultivating bonsai trees.

  2. We are getting ready to PCS to Okianwa, but while stationed in Oregon (where it rains a lot) we put a nice patio cover on our house and our contractor recommened using rainchains. I am not sure about shipping to FPO addresses, but we bought one online from for about $95 or so. If you google it, there are a lot of places that sell them. We LOVED ours and the kids thought it was fun to wtch the rain come down and the sound it created was nice and soothing.

  3. This is very interesting! I’ve kept a minimalist approach in my home in the last few years and love practical items also having aesthetic qualities. Pretty drain pipes? What more could I ask for!

  4. Thanks for the interesting post Staci! I’ve never noticed these before. Will keep a lookout the next time I’m in a Japanese garden. I’m tempted to add some feng shui to my home but the price tag is scaring me off!