What is a rain chain?

Simply stated, they are Artistic Downspouts™ for your home.

Rain chains (Japanese:, kusari-toi or kusari-doi, literally means “chain-gutter”) are beautiful alternatives to conventional downspout. They are widely used in Japan. There purpose is largely decorative, to make a water feature out of the transport of rain water from the gutters downwards to a drain or to a storage container. Rain chains are a beautiful and functional alternative to traditional, closed gutter downspouts. Guiding rain water visibly down chains or cups from the roof to the ground, rain chains transform a plain gutter downspout into a pleasing water feature. From the soft tinkling of individual droplets to the soothing rush of white water, they are a treat to listen to. Rain chains make a terrific and unique gift – every home is improved by these elegant outdoor accessories, and they are easy to install!Our products are the highest quality and the thickest copper, brass, aluminum and steel. We gladly accommodate special orders, large orders, and custom lengths. Can we answer a question? Let us know! Call us toll free at 1-888-552-5523. ALL of our products are sold by the foot! Order exactly the lengths you need! We are your number one, reliable source for high quality pure copper, brass, aluminum and stainless steel rain chains in Canada. Rain Chains are a beautiful, and functional alternative to your everyday downspouts and easily allows for water conservation. With so many beautiful, vastly different styles you can easily customize your rain chain to match your style.


Rain chains (‘kusari doi’ in Japanese) in concept are not a new idea. For hundreds of years, the Japanese have used the roof of their homes to collect water, transporting it downward with chains and finally depositing the rain water into large barrels for household water usage. Japanese temples often incorporate quite ornate and large rain chains into their design. Rain chains have been spotted in South America, where chain is easier to obtain that machined downspouts.

rainchainscanada.com has taken the original concept and expanded it into a broad line of products, incorporating both cup, link and even hybrid styles into their offerings. Using pure copper, brass and even aluminum for materials, our company has created a wide range of both styles and prices


Link designs are the closest to the original form. They tend to splash more than cup styles, and this may be important when they are considered for areas that are near doors, windows or walkways. From plain link chain (#3131) to more fancy combinations of shapes, link chains offer the most open, airy look and clean lines. They are often used with modern architectural designs, but also look appropriate in rustic settings like cabins and log homes. The Zen Loops (#6886) and Double Loops (#3130) chains have the strongest Asian design influence.

Cup designs are an improvement over links chains in performance and efficiency. With open bottoms, they act as funnels, focusing the water from one cup down into the next one. Even in heavy rainfall, cup styles splash very little, so they can be placed anywhere. Cups come in many shapes and sizes, from the cute 2” Fluted Cups (#3103-A) to the massive XL Scallop Cup (#3104), the largest cup style available. rainchainscanada.com also has themed chains that include the popular Hummingbird (#2940) rain chain


Installation is usually straight forward and simple. Rain chains hang from the hole where the downspout was, using the gutter attachment piece provided. When there is a mismatch because the hole is larger than the chain, a separate Installation Kit (RCR-1) is used to reduce the hole and focus water downward onto (or into) the chain. The Installation Kit also provides an outlet tube, preventing water from creeping along the underside of the gutter and dripping off.

At the Bottom

The Japanese often put a ceramic or stoneware pot beneath the chain which fills with water, so that when it rains, the water drips from the chain into the pot, creating a beautiful display.

You can make a square out of redwood or cedar beneath the chains and fill it with small pebbles. If it is damp regularly, moss will grow between the pebbles. You can also place a single paver tile or a few medium size stones under the chain to break the fall of the water.

Your local nursery may have a ceramic bowl or saucer that will make a good catch basin. We offer hand-hammered copper dishes and bowls in varied sizes and designs.

We hope this has helped answer the question “What is a rain chain?”