Mar 27, 2010

The journey of the kettle

As the days get warmer, the kettle begins to make its journey from the sunken winter hearth back up to the summer brazier.   About mid-March the Tsurigama, or hanging kettle is used.  It is suspended from a chain attached to a hook in the ceiling.  No gotoku or trivet is used.  Extra large rings hold a bridge piece that is attached to the chain.

In placing the hook in the ceiling, it must be located exactly in the center of where the the ro is cut.  It must also be attached to a beam and be strong enough to hold a cast iron kettle full of water.

Because there is no gotoku in the ro for the tsurigama, often a gotoku futaoki is used to remind us of the gotoku.   This a a rather challenging pice to use, as the hishaku cup must fit within the three legs of the gotoku futaoki.  Make sure that the one of the legs is designated as the front and place on the tatami mat accordingly.

As you are using the kettle and placing the hishaku back in the kettle, it swings a little and give the feeling of a spring breeze in the tea room.  Be careful, though, if the kettle starts to twist on you.  You may have to adjust your hishaku.

In April, the sukigama is used. It is a wide flat kettle with a large wing around the middle.  The wing rests on wooden blocks that sit on the inside ledge of ro.  This lifts the kettle further out of the ro and the flange keeps the fire from the guests.

As the season gets warmer, we usually do chabako temae which lifts the kettle completely out of the ro and moves it to the center of the tatami mat that the host sits on.  This is good practice as about this time the cherries are blooming and we can do chabako out under the cherry trees for hanami.

Finally at Shoburo, the furo season begins. We normally close the ro and begin to use the furo in early May.  Here is a post with some thoughts on the timing of Shoboro.  Seasons change.



  1. hello dear tea blogger I m so glad to find you again we know us from gaia .. best to you .

  2. one planet, thank you for your comment and thank you for following this blog. Thank you for looking for us and I am glad you found us too.


  3. Very interesting post, and nice photos too. Is that your tea room? Do you have any idea what the scroll in the first photo says?

  4. Nick,

    Thank you for your comment. We don't often get to see some of these dogu that we only use for one month a year, so I thought that I would share it with everyone.

    The chashitsu is Kashintei (flower heart arbor), the tea house in the Portland Japanese Garden. We are lucky to be able to use this facility.

    The scroll is a shikishi that I received from my sensei. It says "hana zoku zoku, nishiki zoku zoku" (flowers everywhere, like a brocade everywhare). It was written by Harada Shodo Roshi, head abbot of Sogenji—a three hundred year old temple in Okayama, Japan.

  5. This is a very nice post. Would it be possible for me to reuse some of the text and the images for a page at

    What is it called in Japanese when you hang the kettle like this? It is for March right? Dairo is April or am i wrong?

  6. Marius,
    Thank you for your comment. You can use the images for the wiki as they are mine and not copyright by anyone else.

    When you hang the kettle it is called tsurigama. The Dairo is usually for February, tsurigama is for March, sukigigama is for April, and May is shoburo.