Rain chains originated in Japan, where they have adorned houses and temples for hundreds of years. There they are called “kumari-doi”, or “chain gutter”. The first kumari-doi were created in the 1600s to adorn teahouses. These early examples used bamboo and palm ropes.
In addition to being attractive, kumari-doi are valued for generating a pleasant white-noise effect as water drips or pours down them. Rain chains began gaining international popularity after Japan hosted the 1998 Winter Olympics and visiting style connoisseurs spotted them.
Incorporating items that are exclusively ornamental, such as paintings and statues, is an important part of decorating your home and garden.
However, you can greatly expand your decorating options by adopting a simple philosophy: How can I accomplish a necessary function in an aesthetically pleasing way? Rain chains, decorative alternatives to traditional metal or plastic downspouts, are a fantastic example of what this philosophy looks like in practice.
They come in a wide variety of styles, but all have the same practical purpose: directing rainwater from rooftop gutters away from the house and to the ground (or to a storage vessel). Additionally, rain chains offer the benefit of being visually pleasing water features which enhance a home’s appearance.
Some garden supply shops offer rain chains for purchase, but they are also easy to make and customize at home. Many different objects, from recycled household items to natural objects like stones, can be incorporated into a rain chain.