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by Keiko Miki October 24, 2019 3 min read

Nambu ironware has been handed down for centuries in Mizusawa City and Morioka City, Iwate Prefecture.

In 1975, Nambu ironware was designated as a traditional craftwork. It's now very precious since there are only only 21 traditional artisans who can create it. The artifact is gaining more fans from overseas with the imposing design which is reminiscent of the orchestra and the functionality that evokes Japanese beauty of wabi-sabi.

The best part of all is to bring up Nambu ironware. The more you use it, the prettier it will be and the tastier boiled water gets.

To fully enjoy Nambu ironware, you should learn the correct way to handle it.

The charm of iron kettle

The charm of iron kettle

The most attractive process while using testubin, the iron kettle, is to bring it up by your own hand. When the kettle gets matured, it offers another merit - water boiled with the kettle would be much more delicious. 

Inside of tetsubin will be getting covered with mineral, mainly calcium, in water while using it. This makes the kettle more resistant to rust and improves taste of boiled water. Once the iron kettle grows well, white minerals are layered and adhere to the inside. It will give you a great sense of satisfaction and accomplishment because this means that you made it.

During the process, tetsubin may get spotted rust or reddish boiled water. However, this is a natural process to bring up the ironware.

Any Nambu ironware gets rusted

Any Nambu ironware gets rusted

Iron gets rusted by oxidizing. Of course, Nambu ironware is no exception. It is normal that red spots of rust appear inside of the kettle over time. The boiled water may also turn to the color of rust. Even if the rust became so severe, do not touch the inside of the kettle with bare hands. Also, never rub it with a sponge with detergent.

How to deal with rust

If tetsubin rusts so much that the boiled water gets dyed in rust color, try to boil tea leaves with water up to 80% of the kettle for more than 30 minutes. Once the water decreases to about 20% of the kettle, throw it away and add 80% of water to boil again. In this way, the rust reacts to tannin in the tea leaves, which avoids red rust.  

Never touch inside of tetsubin!

In the final manufacturing process, the inside of tetsubin forms an oxide layer by cooling down rapidly. If you rub or wash the inside, this oxide layer falls off. As a result, this causes rust easily, which shortens the life of tetsubin. Even though rust or mineral bother you, please don't rub or peel them off. If you are eager to do something for this, just rinse the inside with hot water.

Drinking hot water with red rust doesn't affect the human body, so don't worry too much. Relax and take your time to bring up tetsubin.

How to use tetsubin

How to use tetsubin

When you use tetsubin for the first time, boil water a couple of times and accustom the kettle to work. Repeat boiling water and throwing it away. Once the boiled water no longer turns to white or cloudy, you can start using it.

Besides, make sure to dry the inside of tetsubin after use. If hot water is left until it cools down in the kettle, it gets rusted easily. Move the remaining hot water to a pot and try to completely remove moisture with residual heat. Please avoid heating the empty kettle with gas fire, which may change the color. You can get rid of the lid and blow on the inside so that it gets dry easily as the remaining water immediately evaporates.

The best way to bring up tetsubin is to keep using it. If you don't use it constantly, try to keep the kettle in the well-ventilated place, not in the storages or under the sink, to avoid rust.

Bring the traditional craft from the south region

Bring the traditional craft from the south region

Nambu tetsubin is made of iron with flame and a traditional craft and also an art that has been passed down in the southern region of Iwate for generations. There is nothing like this about the unique design and the texture created with a specific mold firing method and decent manual work.

Would you like to spend even more elegant life? This luxurious ironware would make it come true.

Keiko Miki
Keiko Miki



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