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Rain chain

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Rain chain with copper cups

Rain chains (Japanese: 鎖樋, kusari-toi or kusari-doi,[1] literally "chain-gutter") are alternatives to a downspout. They are widely used in Japan. Their purpose is largely decorative, to make a water feature out of the transport of rainwater from the guttering downwards to a drain or to a storage container. (Rainwater is sometimes collected for household usage.) They can also be found on temples.[2]

Rain chains are typically either a series of metal cups, chained together with a hole in the bottom of each, or chain links that span vertically.[2] Rain water run-off gets distributed from a rooftop gutter downward through the rain chain.

Rain chains on the Brutalist library at Nailsea, England
Temple rain chain on a rainy day

Rain chains have also been used in the West. Nordic vernacular architecture often used a simple stick as a rainwater guide, in similar fashion. They have also been used in the Modernist era, to juxtapose metal chains with a concrete or Portland stone facade. They are often seen in cup-shape, link and loop style, as well as decorative.[3]


  1. ^ Breen, Jim (ed.). "鎖樋". WWWJDIC. Retrieved 15 July 2017. See rendaku for why multiple pronunciations.
  2. ^ a b Dunnett, Nigel; Clayden, Andy (2007). Rain Gardens. Portland, Or.: Timber Press. pp. 85–87. ISBN 9780881928266. OCLC 269310925.
  3. ^ "Rain Chains". Retrieved 2023-12-08.

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