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The History of Rain Chains

Rain Chains originated in Japan where they have been used for hundreds of years to collect water from roof tops. The rain chain guides water downward with chains into large barrels for household water usage. In Japan they call them “Kusari Doi” which literally means chain gutter. Japanese temples often would incorporate quite ornate and large rain chains into their design. In the strictest Japanese tradition, a Kusari- Doi is considered a “kinetic sculpture” and provides water music which promotes peace and tranquility, as do all of the other Zen arts. For this reason, rain chains were often used in Buddhist temple design.

Originally, rain chains consisted of interlocking rings ranging from the very simple to intricate designs. While these are still popular, a new decorative style has emerged. These decorative rain chains usually consist of a series of metal cups with a hole in the bottom and chained together. Rain chains now are available in a wide variety of designs and shapes, such as; bells, bowls, baskets, umbrellas, acorns and flowers. Considered both aesthetically pleasing and functional rain chains are gaining popularity, especially in the United States.

To live a greener lifestyle, people are collecting their rainwater with rain chains and rain barrels and using it to water their flowers and plants. Rain Chains, “Kusari-Doi”, provide a beautiful and functional alternative to a traditional downspout, producing a lovely cascade of water flowing gracefully between the sections of rings or cups. Rain Chains do provide the pleasure of an attractive outdoor water feature combined with the practical feature of collecting and either draining or reusing rain water.


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