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Shishi Odoshi Design: Learn All About Japanese Bamboo Fountain Shishi Odoshi

Updated on March 15, 2011

Shishi Odoshi Design: How To Design A Japanese Bamboo Fountain (Shishi Odoshi)?

You are about to learn the secrets of designing a beautiful Japanese Bamboo Fountain (i.e. Shishi Odoshi). Learning how to design your own Japanese Shishi-Odoshi would help you create a zen-like unique attraction for your indoors or your garden.

How long would it take to design your own shishi-odoshi?

The shishi-odoshi design project would last for about 15 hours. The design part would take about 10 to 12 hours, and the set-up would take 4 to 5 hours. Considering the beauty of this timeless classic, it is well-worth the amount of time your spend on this project.

You would need...


  • You would need two bamboo spouts. Size specifications: The first bamboo Spout would have to be 6 ft (2 meters) long and 2.5 inches (60 mm) in diameter. The second bamboo spout would have to be 7.5 ft long and 5 in (120 mm) in diameter).
  • Plastic Tube - 15 ft (5 m) long, 0.375 in (10 mm) diameter.
  • Medium-sized submersible pump
  • Flexible armored pipe to protect pump cable
  • Electric circuit breaker
  • A small rock for bamboo to strike on and make "clunking" sound


  • Measuring Tape, Pencil, Market
  • Sharp Knives
  • Electric Drill with 3/4 in (20 mm) bit.
  • A Rod to pierce the inner membranes of the bamboo
  • Drill Hammer
  • Spade
  • Garden hosepipe
  • Coping saw

Safety Precautions

It is important to get a high-quality bamboo that is not having split careful with razor sharp bamboo edges.

The best place to get a good bamboo for your shishi odoshi is local garden center or speciality garden outlets or estores.

Shishi Odoshi Top View

This is how shishi odoshi looks from the top

Shishi Odoshi Cross Sectional View


Ground Set-up for your shishi-odoshi

You need to pick a good location for your shishi odoshi - an ideal location would create a focal point in your garden without over-powering with its presence. Shishi odoshi has several configurable set-ups.

Three of the best setup locations for sishi odoshi are:

  • Setup on your pond (if you have one)

  • Pick a decorative water container

  • Create a self-containted basin

One of the best practices when setting up your shishi odoshi is to cover up the water delivery pipe (the pipe that would carry re-circulating water). The best place to hide this pipe is under the rocks or shrubs. However, when hiding it, be careful that the rocks or shrubs are not pinching it, or the water flow would be blocked or fettered resulting in an in-optimal water flow.

The 5 step plan to creating your own Japanese shishi-odoshi bamboo fountain

Step 1: Create Building Blocks"

Cut the 7.5 ft bamboo spout in two parts: 3.5 ft long and 4 ft long. The part that is 3.5 ft long is the main spout and the part that is 4 ft long is support spout.

Step 2: Create A "Pass-Thru Window"

For the see-saw bamboo to pass through the main spout, we would need to make a cut on the peripheral areas of main spout.

In order to facilitate the cuts, we need to make markings on the main spout with pencil and marker. These markings are to be made on both the sides of the main spout. They are about 2.75 inches wide and 7 inches deep.

These markings are chosen so that when you cut the markings, the base is about 5 inches above the ground level. Carefully cut away the area with markings on both sides of the main spout with a coping saw.

Step 3: Create the Pivot

Cut the 6.5 ft long bamboo spout in two pieces: a 2 ft piece and a 4 ft piece. The 2 ft piece will serve as the Seesaw spout, and the 4 ft piece will serve as water carrying bamboo pipe. Carve a pivot that is 8 inches long and 15 mm wide. Place this pivot pin in the center of the "pass-thru window" by drilling a hole in the main spout. Seesaw spout would have to be drilled as well so that the pivot pin pass through it. Insert the seesaw spout into the "pass-thru window" of main spout through the pivot.

Step 4: Shape the Support Spout

Using coping saw and knife, cut a U-shaped support on top of the support spout. Pass the water carrying bamboo pipe through this pipe. Cut the bamboo pipe to be 4 feet long.

Step 5: Final Assembly of Shishi Odoshi

Pour water through the garden water hose onto the seesaw spout once you are done mounting the main spout with seesaw spout pass through it. Check to see if the seesaw motion is as per your expectations. Connect plastic tube with pump and water-carrying bamboo to recirculate water from pond to the bamboo spout. Use armored pipe to conceal the power cable with an electric circuit breaker.


Designing your own shishi-odoshi is a challenging task, albeit the results are very fulfilling and rewarding.

Getting an assembled bamboo water spout would reduce your amount of work substantially. Here's an example of an assembled shishi odoshi. If you enjoy wood-working and carving bamboo's, there is nothing more fun than creating your own shishi odoshi Japanese bamboo fountain.

A medium sized submersible pump may be found at your local home depot or lowe's. Make sure you know the water capacity of your container when shopping for the submersible pump.


This squidoo lens is based on the section "Japanese Deer Scarer" of the book, "Outdoor Water Features: 16 Easy-To-Build Projects for Your Yard & Garden" by Alan and Gill Bridgewater.

Shishi Odoshi Videos - Shishi Odoshi For Your Garden

Here's an example video of Japanese style bamboo water fountain.

Shishi-Odoshi In Action

Click on the image below to open a new window that shows a beautiful shishi odoshi fountain in action - a video will demonstrate the lift and fill motion of bamboo spout.

Questions? - Leave your questions here and I'll try to answer them...

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    • digitutah profile image


      5 years ago

      This is fantastic! Such a good lens. Good clear writing too!

    • ForestBear LM profile image

      ForestBear LM 

      6 years ago

      wonderful resource, thank you for sharing

    • Diana Wenzel profile image

      Renaissance Woman 

      6 years ago from Colorado

      I have always loved this style of fountain. Can't wait to make my own. Thank you for the instructions. Appreciated!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      wow! COOL and CALMING!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I wanty to know about the medium-sized submersible water pump, the electric circuit breaker you use. Can you send me the detail capacity and the out put of the pump and the details of the circuit breaker? I will be highly grateful to you for all the details.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      It's a clock!

    • TIRMassageStone1 profile image


      7 years ago

      Interesting article on a fun project!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      cool I like bamboo

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      what is the mechanism behind shishi-odoshi fountain?why is the wire used at the tip of the bamboo?

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Yes, I like too. bamboo blinds, bamboo rug

    • indigoj profile image

      Indigo Janson 

      9 years ago from UK

      I love the look of that water fountain. Beautifully done.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Hi Amy! Great fountains. Your lens is very well done. I want to build a fountain now.

      I found your lens through a comment you made on my blog.

    • PsyQuin profile image


      9 years ago

      I just know my boyfriend would definitely want to build a bamboo fountain immediately if he read this lens, as he is really into fountains & stuff like that. :)

    • Heather426 profile image

      Heather Burns 

      9 years ago from Wexford, Ireland

      Love this lens! 5*

    • sheriangell profile image


      9 years ago

      Very detailed and informative. Makes me want to run right out and build one. Which would be a disaster! 5* lens

    • Mihaela Vrban profile image

      Mihaela Vrban 

      9 years ago from Croatia

      Beautiful lens ! And well done tutorial! Blessed by an Angel!

    • ArtByLinda profile image

      Linda Hoxie 

      9 years ago from Idaho

      I love this fountain, and really would love to build one. Great lens Amy, nicely done! Linda

    • mbgphoto profile image

      Mary Beth Granger 

      9 years ago from O'Fallon, Missouri, USA

      Very well done lens! Love the fountain!!

    • NatureMaven profile image


      9 years ago

      Very informative, I am lens rolling this to my National Arboretum lens. a lot of people come there to see the famous bonsai collection. *****

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Great lens! you made it look so easy to build :)


    • daoine lm profile image

      daoine lm 

      9 years ago

      This is a great lens. You've convinced me I can make one of these for myself - what fun! These bamboo water features look so tranquil and soothing.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Design pics are added. Good luck!

    • ZenTruth profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago

      [in reply to JEremy] Hey Jeremy - I just added them.


    • profile image


      9 years ago


      I am very keen to build this.

      The design pics are no longer working. Do you still have them still?



    • ZenTruth profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago

      For weeks I struggled to create a nice shishi-odoshi on my own. Finally, I created on and this is my documentation on how you can create a great shishi odoshi for your garden or indoors!


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