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What is a Rain Chain?

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A rain chain is a decorative downspout for rain water collection or drainage. They originate in Japan where they are common at Buddhist temples as water features. They are typically constructed with a metal such as copper as a chain of cups with holes in their bottoms that allow water to flow down. They produce a slight sound that may be considered pleasing.


A rain chain can extend for a short way from the roof without hitting the ground. Alternatively, it may be connected to the ground. In both cases, they are designed to be heavy and wind resistant.
Overview: Rain Chain
A traditional Japanese decorative downspout.
鎖樋, kusaridoi
Often made from copper as it turns green with time and this is considered attractive.
Rain chain designs don't always have cups and may resemble a chain of linked metal.
May attract lightning, particularly if grounded.
Typically have low capacity and water may flow over them in a relatively uncontrolled fashion in heavy rain.
Somewhat high maintenance as they easily collect leaves and other organic materials.
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