Japanese tea caddy maker maintains a 140-year history Kaikado

Website: KaikadoExternal site: a new window will open
Category: Japanese Design & Daily goods

The first tin tea caddies

Given the history of drinking green tea in Japanese culture, there has naturally been a longstanding need for tea canisters. Over 130 years ago, after Japan opened its doors to the world during the Meiji period and tin plates from England became available, Kaikado's founder Kiyosuke Yagi saw an opportunity to innovate and became the first to provide the country with the invention of tin tea canisters or chazutsu. The caddies made of the imported tin were instantly praised for their functionality and simple design. All caddies were handmade and tailor-made for each tea dealer and client. As electric appliances weren't yet available, the caddies protected the quality and aroma of fine teas, withstanding any kind of weather.

Company director and sixth-generation tea caddy maker, Takahiro Yagi

The tea caddies gradually change color as time passes

Kaikado's novel creation became popular across the country. This innovation of the past is still being made in the present day, and the nearly 140-year-old company remains located in the same atelier in the heart of Kyoto.

The outstanding features of the chazutsu

Kaikado's products are valued for their extraordinary simplicity, functionality and history. The chazutsu only comes in three materials-the original tin and the later additions of copper and brass. The caddies are handmade by an experienced artisan who has mastered a skill that took ten years of training to acquire and even longer to perfect. A 130- to 140-step process is required to attain Kaikado's signature attribute-the caddy's lid beautifully and quietly descends, without any force. The canisters are also airtight, which protects their contents from any outside elements. The canisters can be used for 100 years, and the user can appreciate the subtle aging process, as the color of the canister changes over time. Kaikado's tea caddies are made for daily use but also to be cherished for a long period of time.

The art of the lid elegantly descending

Kaikado's chazutsu have many uses beyond just storing tea

"Objects Collection," a collaboration with Danish design company OeO

A new era for tea caddies

Sixth-generation tea caddy maker Takahiro Yagi, who thinks on a global scale and has strong marketing skills, has succeeded in entering the market abroad. Although conventional uses for tea caddies are dwindling in Japan, there's a growing popularity for quality kitchenware around the world. By reimagining the traditional products, Kaikado has been able to attract a new crowd and innovate its product line while maintaining its authenticity and tradition. Initially, the caddies were used only for tea, but now there are products available for a variety of uses such as containers for storing various foods. Kaikado recently debuted a new collection of chic kitchen products produced in collaboration with Danish design company OeO. They have partnered with well-respected brands and are revered by renowned designers and celebrities, who have become fans of genuine Kaikado tea canisters' beautiful, functional products that have been crafted in the traditional manner since 1875.

Website: KaikadoExternal site: a new window will open