Japanese Teapots

The world of Japanese teapots (or Kyusu) is complex and complicated to summarise in just a few lines. We almost always associate Japanese teapots with cast iron teapots, but the truth is that there are many other types of Japanese-style teapots, which are made in many different shapes and materials.

Japanese cast iron teapots date back almost to the Middle Ages and are originally called Tetsubin. Interestingly, they do not originate from Japan but from China. The Japanese later adopted the iron teapots and made them their own. Today you can find Japanese teapots made of various materials, but the typical ones are still made of cast iron. You can learn more about cast iron teapots in this other guide.

When buying a Japanese teapot, you should bear in mind that the inside (the walls inside) should be enamelled to avoid the risk of rusting. We are referring to cast iron ones, of course. This is just the opposite of what happens with clay teapots, which should not have enamel or glaze inside.

There is a wide variety of teapots of this type on the market, and if you want to buy your Japanese teapot on Amazon, you only have to take a look at the following gallery to see for yourself. We will detail some of them in more detail later on.

Vier Ten Cast Iron Teapot, 0.3 Litre
Vier Ten Cast Iron Teapot, 0.3 Litre
Cast Iron Teapot; Enameled interior for heat preservation; Contains stainless filter inside
Fuloon Japanese Tea Kettle Cast Iron Teapot Infuser Strainer Set Chinese Leaf Pattern with Stainless...
Fuloon Japanese Tea Kettle Cast Iron Teapot Infuser Strainer Set Chinese Leaf Pattern with Stainless...
Teapot capacity 0.9L, Enough holds 3 generous cups of tea; Teapot weight 1.05KG; Removable Kettle Strainer

Types of Japanese teapots

The layman will be surprised by the number of different types of Japanese teapots on the market. And the fact is that these teapots constitute a style of their own, but within them, there are different shapes designed for different situations or even for different types of tea.

We are not going to go into too many technical details, but these are the main types of Japanese teapots on the market:

Japanese teapots with rear handle: Atode

This is the name given to Japanese teapots that have a side handle. That is, the two ends of the handle are inserted vertically into the same side of the teapot.

Zero Japan Mino-yaki Japanese Porcelain Teapot Kyusu 350cc for 2 Persons with Removable Stainless...
Zero Japan Mino-yaki Japanese Porcelain Teapot Kyusu 350cc for 2 Persons with Removable Stainless...
Capacity: 350ml; Material: porcelain; Size: W140φ90×H100mm; Made in Japan

Manual or side-grip teapots: Yokode

Instead of having a traditional handle, these yokode teapots have a small cylindrical handle located just opposite the pouring spout. It is a very practical type of teapot for traditional tea ceremonies, where guests sit on a tatami mat and tea is poured from the floor in front of the guests.

Handleless teapots or “treasure chests”: Houhin

These are teapots without handles, as the name suggests. They are preferably used with teas that are brewed with water that is not too hot (so as not to burn our hands). The spout is somewhat wider than the rest of the Japanese teapots we are looking at.

Tokyo Matcha Selection - Japanese Tea Professional's Tea Pot - houhin (kyusu - white porcelain,...
Tokyo Matcha Selection - Japanese Tea Professional's Tea Pot - houhin (kyusu - white porcelain,...
White porcelain tea pot.; The white color allows for easy evaluation of the tea color.

Top-grip teapots: Uwade

Finally, these are teapots that have a top handle that goes end to end on the teapot. Most Japanese iron teapots are of this type.

KitchenCraft Le'Xpress Cast Iron Infuser Teapot, 600 ml, Black
KitchenCraft Le'Xpress Cast Iron Infuser Teapot, 600 ml, Black
Made of sturdy cast iron with an enamelled interior, which offers fine heat retention; Tea stays at an enjoyably drinkable temperature for longer

What are the best Japanese teapots? Cast iron teapots

What is the advantage of Japanese cast iron teapots? They are made of cast iron because iron means that they heat up evenly and very quickly. For this reason, a Japanese cast iron teapot retains the heat perfectly.

This is also why it is important that they have a large handle made of heat-insulating material so that you don’t burn yourself.

Their main drawback? Well, they are quite heavy, and they are usually more expensive than traditional ceramic or porcelain ones.

From an aesthetic point of view, a Japanese cast iron teapot is usually dark, with ornamental motifs carved on the outside.

Vier Ten Cast Iron Teapot, 0.3 Litre
Vier Ten Cast Iron Teapot, 0.3 Litre
Cast Iron Teapot; Enameled interior for heat preservation; Contains stainless filter inside
Fuloon Japanese Tea Kettle Cast Iron Teapot Infuser Strainer Set Chinese Leaf Pattern with Stainless...
Fuloon Japanese Tea Kettle Cast Iron Teapot Infuser Strainer Set Chinese Leaf Pattern with Stainless...
Teapot capacity 0.9L, Enough holds 3 generous cups of tea; Teapot weight 1.05KG; Removable Kettle Strainer

Japanese ceramic teapots

Ceramic and porcelain are the other two materials that are most commonly found when buying Japanese teapots online. Logically, they are more delicate than the iron ones but also more economical, especially the Japanese ceramic teapots.

These pieces are usually of the Yakode, and Atode types explained above: with a side handle or with an elongated cylindrical handle. They also have the advantage that they can be decorated in a wider variety of patterns, floral motifs, colours and so on.

Japanese porcelain teapots

Japanese porcelain teapots are mostly of the Uwade (top handle) type and are usually smaller than iron teapots. At first glance, you may not be able to distinguish them from ceramic ones, so pay attention when you look for them in a shop.

Iwachu Japanese teapots

Iwachu is one of the biggest Japanese teapot brands in the industry (original Japanese brands, of course). It is dedicated to the handmade manufacture of cast iron utensils, both teapots and other kitchenware. They are famous for their robustness and durability, so much so that they are the only ones that we would dare to put on a direct fire to heat the water directly inside.

If you want to buy a Japanese Iwachu teapot, the best thing to do is to look directly at Amazon and prepare your budget.

Gold Sakura Japanese Tetsubin Cast Iron Teapot - Cherry Blossom Relief Iwachu.
Gold Sakura Japanese Tetsubin Cast Iron Teapot - Cherry Blossom Relief Iwachu.
The teapot is hand painted and can hold 650ml; Made in Japan by Iwachu. Enamel coated on the inside

A recommendation: Ibili’s India Japanese teapot

We don’t know if this is the best Japanese teapot on the market, but of the huge variety of options available, we have decided to go for the India model from the Spanish firm Ibili.

It is a wade (top handle) iron teapot with a very striking decoration, in our opinion attractive but elegant at the same time. It has a capacity of 0.8 litres, the interior is enamelled, and the infuser is made of stainless steel mesh.

Are Japanese teapots suitable for induction?

It depends on their material. In general, iron ones can be used on an induction hob, but ceramic and porcelain ones cannot. In any case, these Japanese-style teapots are best used with water that has been boiled beforehand rather than placed directly on the hob—more information on this point in our guide to teapots for induction.

How do you use a Japanese teapot?

Japanese teapots are designed for pouring hot water into them (not for placing directly on the stove), but in any case, they are easy to use. At most, if you already have some experience, you may be able to adjust the type of tea you use to the particular type of Japanese teapot you are using (we have given a brief overview of this above).

It is a good idea to take certain precautions when treating and cleaning your Japanese teapot after each use, as a common mistake is to rub them with scouring pads and aggressive cleaning tools, which in the long run will only damage the enamel layer on the inside of the teapot.

To clean a Japanese iron teapot after use, rinse it and rinse it well. Then gently wipe it with blotting paper or an absorbent paper towel and let it dry thoroughly before storing it. For this last step, a good trick is to turn it upside down without the lid.