how to make shishi odoshi

Get Your Own Shishi Odoshi For A Relaxing Garden

A shishi odoshi water fountain is one of the most beautiful pieces you can incorporate in your garden. Unfortunately (and speaking from experience), it can be difficult to find especially if you live in the US. We’ll share with you all the possible ways you can get one for your garden from buying a shishi odoshi to DIY-ing one.

I first came across bamboo fountains in anime. The bamboo filling with water and then making that distinct thudding sound is often used as a transition cut.

When I started going around public Japanese gardens though, I realized the true beauty of this particular kind of bamboo fountain. It boggles the mind how something so simple could at the same time be so ingenious and calming. With nothing in the air but the rhythmic (and rather hypnotic) sounds of the shisho odoshi in the background, you truly get a serene and meditative moment.

Now let’s get one for your garden.

Buy A Shishi Odoshi Bamboo Fountain

The easiest way to procure a shishi odoshi or “water hammer” as it’s also called is to buy one. You can buy a kit and then assemble it yourself. There’s not too many sellers of water hammers out there so here is our own shortlist when we were shopping around for one:

Best For Pond Or Big Garden – 20″ Rocking Fountain

Dimensions: 10 x 10 x 20
Size of hammer tube: 10 x 3 (height x diameter)

Bamboo Accents 20' Rocking Fountain Shishi Odoshi

This particular water fountain is big-sized and would be perfect if your garden is sizable or if you have a pond for it. This 20-inch model is closest in scale to the ones used in traditional Japanese gardens.

For landscaping, you can either have it standing on its own and have a minimalistic Japanese garden effect or add some cascading greenery that have an affinity for water, like Golden Pothos.

Pros:

  • Big in size – 20 inches from top
  • Treated with non-toxic boron to prevent insect from infesting the bamboo parts
  • Easy to set up
  • Hand-made; made from Vietnamese-type bamboo Tam Vong which is less prone to cracking than Chinese bamboo
  • The artisan can be contacted and is helpful if you run into problems

Cons:

  • It has a big splash area due to its size so it is not really ideal for indoor use.
  • The bamboo will crack if exposed to extreme weather so it needs to be brought in for the winter months.
  • If you’re expecting the low hollow sound from the Kill Bill movie, you’ll be disappointed. It makes more of a “clacking” sound. A quick fix is to remove the bamboo piece that knocks against the hammer and replace it with a large stone so you can get the “thudding” sound you are after.

Here is an example of a shishi odoshi whose hammer is hitting on a stone. You can hear the sound it makes at the 14-second mark.

鹿威し(獅子脅し ししおどし)を作りました。 案外いい音です。shishiodoshi /bamboo fountain

Bamboo Accents 20' Rocking Fountain Shishi Odoshi
61 Ratings
Bamboo Accents 20" Rocking Fountain Shishi Odoshi
  • Beautiful, Peaceful, Ideal for Indoor and Outdoor Use
  • Easy to Set Up -Comes with instruction for indoor and outdoor set ups
  • Made from mature split resistant bamboo poles

Last update on 2019-07-19 at 11:11 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API / More info

Best Mid-Sized Bamboo Fountain – 16″ Rocking Fountain

Dimensions: 10 x 10 x 12

Bamboo Accents Traditional Japanese Rocking Water Fountain, Outdoor Water Fountain, 12' Shishi...

This is a medium-sized water hammer that is ideal for the outdoors. The splash area is smaller but it’s still best to put on a deck if you are considering having it inside the house. The medium size produces a lovely sound that’s not too loud.

Pros:

  • Smaller splash area
  • A beautiful addition to a koi pond or water garden
  • Makes for good ambient sound (just don’t expect the Kill Bill fountain sound because that is enhanced in post-production)
  • Treated with non-toxic boron to prevent insect from infesting the bamboo parts
  • Easy to set up
  • Hand-made; made from Vietnamese-type bamboo Tam Vong which is less prone to cracking than Chinese bamboo

Cons:

  • When the water volume from the faucet is set too high, the hammer may get waterlogged so adjust the water flow and make sure to push the plastic tubing all the way in. You can also add a weight to one end of the hammer to ensure the up/down motion.
  • The bamboo parts cannot withstand extreme temperature so you will need to bring this indoors during winter or else the bamboo will crack. For ultra sunny weather, its lifespan can be extended by situating under some shade.
Bamboo Accents Traditional Japanese Rocking Water Fountain, Outdoor Water Fountain, 12' Shishi...
16 Ratings
Bamboo Accents Traditional Japanese Rocking Water Fountain, Outdoor Water Fountain, 12" Shishi...
  • YOU'LL BE MESMERIZED BY THIS OASIS: The visual delights of this charming fountain will leave you entranced for hours. The smaller spout...
  • UNWIND TO MEDITATIVE SOUNDS: The rocking nature of this lovely fountain produces a soft "clacking" sound. Combine it with the gently flowing...
  • ENJOY FOR YEARS TO COME: The spout is handcrafted from sleek, supple Tam Vong bamboo, which is stronger than steel by weight! This means it...

Last update on 2019-07-19 at 11:11 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API / More info

Best Miniature Shishi Odoshi For Indoors

Dimensions: 10 x 10 x 12 inches

Bamboo Accents Rocking Fountain on Bamboo Arms - 16 Inch Width for Use with Your Favorite Container...

Finally, we have a shishi odoshi that can be properly used indoors. Because the water circulates and you don’t need a running water source, you can have it in any room of your house. All you need to do is shop for a pretty bowl or basin that’s 15-23 inches in diameter. (It doesn’t come with the bowl so you have to buy one.)

Ours has proven time and again to be a great conversation piece with guests.

Pros:

  • Miniature version of the above water fountains
  • Great for small spaces, rooms, or houses
  • Easy to set up
  • Can also be used for an outdoor garden
  • Beautiful ambient sound
  • Handmade and locally produced
  • Instructions are clear and detailed; the artisan can be contacted and is very helpful with suggestions

Cons:

  • The sound can be a bit too loud for some people. You can have it placed farther away so that the sound is more distant and ambient. Another option is to put felt where the two pieces knock together to dull the sound.
Bamboo Accents Rocking Fountain on Bamboo Arms - 16 Inch Width for Use with Your Favorite Container...
7 Ratings
Bamboo Accents Rocking Fountain on Bamboo Arms - 16 Inch Width for Use with Your Favorite Container...
  • Natural, hand crafted real bamboo rocking fountain inspired by the Japanese shishi odoshi
  • Fits on the edge of a bowl with a diameter of 15 inches to 23 inches, bowl not included
  • Combines water, sound and motion in a single water gardening feature

Last update on 2019-07-19 at 11:11 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API / More info

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use this bamboo fountain in a koi pond?

Yes, you can definitely use it in a koi pond. It will add to the overall aesthetic of your garden.

Can I attach the hose to a faucet?

No, this water fountain reuses and recycles the water in your reservoir (water from a pond or in a basin). You’ll be wasting a lot of water if you attach it to a faucet.

Is the shishi odoshi fountain battery-operated or do you plug it in?

The shishi odoshi runs on electricity so you need to plug it in. It is 120 volts.

Can I use a solar pump for a shishi odoshi?

Yes, you can use a solar pump as an alternative but you will have to set it up.

Does it really scare deer?

No, the deer usually get used to the sound and learn to ignore it.

Where can we get a replacement pump?

The pumps that come with shishi odoshi kits are standard pumps that you can get at any aquarium supply store or hardware.

What is the voltage of the pump?

If you bought this from a US seller, the pump would usually be a standard 110 volts.

If the water reservoir runs out, will it turn off automatically?

No, it does not have an auto shut-off feature so you will need to make sure that your water reservoir is always filled.

How much water do I need to cover the pump?

You will need a few inches of water to cover the pump. If you pumping water from a basin or bowl, you will need to add more water every now and again on account of water evaporation, splashing, or pets drinking.

Can I just buy the shishi odoshi fountain without the pump?

No, if you are buying a kit, the pump and the bamboo parts are sold together.

Do I need to clean the shishi odoshi?

You will need to clean the pump that goes with it. Algae and moss may grow on it and you will have to clean it on a regular basis.

A Comprehensive Guide To Shisho Odoshi

This Japanese bamboo fountain has an interesting background, history, and even spiritual meaning. If you are buying one, it’s good to know its origins and history.

What is Shisho Odoshi Used For?

Shishi odoshi refers to a type of Japanese fountain originally designed to scare away any animals that could damage crops. They used it like a traditional scarecrow or clappers.

Shishi Odoshi means “deer scarer” when you translate it from Japanese.

Later, it slowly evolved to use by Zen monks in their tea gardens. In a traditional Japanese tea house, a water hammer may be placed by the entrance so that when one enters, one would drink from the basin. This act is symbolic of internal cleansing and is done prior to any religious or social ceremony.

Today, it is used as an accent in landscaping or to add beauty to a garden. It can also be used for meditation.

How It Works

There’s a hollow bamboo tube that pivots to one side of a fixed balance point. The heavier end rests pointing downward against a stone. Slow trickles of water enter the top of the tube.

Eventually, this will get heavy enough to move the bamboo tube’s center of gravity. Once it moves past the pivot point, the tube will rotate. The lighter end drops down while the heavier end goes up. It dumps the water out and drops the heavier end of the tube down quickly. The heavy end hits the stone and makes a very sudden and sharp sound. It’ll then start to fill and repeat the process. Ideally, the sharp sound will scare away any animals that were after the plants.

Shishi Odoshi For Meditation

These fountains act as a focal point for meditation. The unique sound and movement can help bring one to a meditative state.

While no longer as useful in modern society as a “deer scarer”, it can still be used as a tool for meditation with rather interesting parallels.

One’s mind is the rice field and one’s thoughts are the rice. Any distractions are symbolized by the deer and animals that can damage the crops. The fountain helps to take the distractions away so the rice (one’s thoughts) can flourish.

Benefits Of Having A Shishi Odoshi In Your Home

There are several benefits that come with having this bamboo fountain in your home.

Meditation

If you meditate on a regular basis, it can be one of your tools in achieving focus and balance through its rhythmic movement and sound.

Relaxation

Even if you are not the type to meditate, you can still benefit from the calm and peaceful feeling it imbues. It is very relaxing to just sit and watch the shishi odoshi on a quiet morning or afternoon.

Aesthetically Pleasing

If you like to decorate or have a particular theme for your home and garden, this fountain makes for an ideal accent, especially if you are going for an Asian look. Because of this, it goes very well with a koi pond or a water garden.

A piece of art and culture

With a long and rich history attached to it, you can derive pleasure from having it in your home. And when you have visitors, it will be an interesting conversation piece. We can’t count the number of guests who have asked about our own bamboo fountain and most of them have expressed an interest to buy and install one, too.

How To Make A Shishi Odoshi

We would love to include a step-by-step instruction manual on how to make a build a shishi odoshi fountain but alas, our carpenter skills only go so far. We’ve discovered that the outward simplicity of this deer scarer is very deceptive and it is actually rather difficult to construct.

Nevertheless, here are some of the materials we came across when we thought of DIY-ing our own.

Here is a very comprehensive video tutorial. You will need tools, machinery and carpentry skills.

Make a "Kill Bill" style Shishi-odoshi "deer scarer" bamboo water fountain

And here is a diagram you can use as a guide, too.

It was right about this point that Philip said we should just buy a kit off Amazon.

Good luck and we hope you enjoy your shishi odoshi!

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