Suikinkutsu History

Japan Suikinkutsu Forum

Established in January, 2001 to promote and preserve the knowledge of suikinkutsu.


  1. -Analytical Study of Acoustic Mechanism of Suikinkutsu Yoshio Watanabe 2007

  2. -Japanese Journal of Applied Physics Vol. 43, No. 9A, 2004, pp. 6429-6443

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Originally from the Edo Period (1603-1867) and popularized during the Meiji Era (1867-1912)  then altogether forgotten until a recent resurgence in Japan starting in the 1980’s.  It is thought that the gardeners, needing to drain water from a stone basin, competed to see who could make the most surprising sounds from this water.


An Ancient Art Form

This graphic from the Suikinkutsu Forum shows a basic construction where a clay pot, inverted and buried under a water source, is allowed to carry a few inches of water at its bottom. When water drops enter the pot from a small hole in the top, the sound reverberates within the basin creating a sound that doubles over itself again and again, creating an almost metallic sound.

Simple in concept but quite problematic in construction since every pot has its own characteristics requiring testing and tuning.

Wikipedia has a good page with much more information here.