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Customer Service / Frequently Asked Questions

1. Ordering and Delivery

Q1: What is your order cancellation policy?

For cancellation of your order, if the order is not yet processed, your invoice is immediately voided and you will receive a refund of full amount (or the payment will never be captured). If the cancellation request is made after the order is processed, we will refund you the full charged amount minus 5% process fee. A refund check will be sent by mail. Order cancellation request must be made before the order ships out.

Q2: What is your return policy?

We will refund the full price, less shipping cost & restocking fee ($5 for every item priced up to $15, $10 for every item priced above $15 up to $100, $20 for every item priced above $100 up to $250, $30 for every item priced above $250), for the return of every unused item, if the return is safely completed (i.e. received by us) within 10 days of the original delivery date. All items returned must be unused and in its original condition with the original packaging. For any free shipping items, we also subtract our shipping cost from the refund total. We are not liable for shipping charges on any returns. The refund check will be mailed to you within 14 business days once we confirm the returned item is in its original condition. If the item is returned with damage, we are unable to give you refund. For any damage occurred during return shipping, customer is responsible for settling with the shipping carrier by filing a claim with them.

We are unable to accept any return for international orders.

To return an item, please contact us using the contact form with your order details and the reason for the return. We will get back to you with the instructions and return shipping address within the 48 hours of the receipt of the email. Your return package must ship out within 72 hours after our instruction email is sent. You must notify us immediately once the return package is shipped out with the tracking information (tracking # and the name of the shipping carrier.) We highly recommend that you use extra packing materials and/or even a new outer box to ensure the secure packing of the return item.

Each item is carefully inspected by us and we make sure the packaging is secure before shipping. If you receive a damaged item, please report the damage to us as well as the shipping carrier immediately in order to start the claim filing process. The damage report must be made to us within 2 days of the delivery date. We are unable to take any responsibility for the damaged product if the damage report is made thereafter.

Q3: What if I receive an damaged item?

Each item is carefully inspected by us and we make sure the packaging is secure before shipping. However, if you receive a damaged item, please report the damage to us (please contact us by using the contact form) immediately in order for us to start the claim filing process with a shipping carrier in a timely manner. Please also keep all the package and damaged item(s) as is until a responsible shipping carrier comes to pick up the entire package for damage inspection. If either the item or packing materials are thrown away without a shipping carrier’s permission and claim is denied subsequently, we are unable to take any responsibility for the damaged product. The damage report must be made to us within 2 days of the delivery date. We are unable to take any responsibility for the damaged product if the damage report is made thereafter.

Q4: What is your exchange policy?

We are unable to do exchanges, but we can take a return for refund (please read the return policy above) and you can re-order new product(s).

Q5: What are your shipping terms (see Q11 for international shipment)?

If items are in-stock, your order will normally ship within 3 business days from the date of your order (within 5 business days for international destinations). A street address is required for all deliveries. If the item is out-of-stock, we will notify you the estimated shipping date via e-mail.

If the address results in undeliverable (including "recipient's unavailable") and the order needs to be resend or redirected, the charge of reshipment will be applied (this will apply to free shipping items, too). If a reshipment request and payment for the reshipment charge is not made within 30 days of a package's return to us, we are unable to reship your order or refund your payment.

Your order is shipped via FedEx Ground or USPS Priority Mail/ First Class/ Media Mail depending on the items. You can find the average delivery duration directly with the respective shipping company. Please note that we are unable to guarantee any delivery timing, while we try our best to ship your order as soon as we can. We are also not responsible for any lost package or delay after the order ships out. Once a package ships out and tracking # is given to a customer, it's the customer's responsibility to track the package. For any issues regarding the shipping, or any instructions regarding the shipment after the order is fulfilled and shipped out, please contact directly with the respective shipping companies in a timely manner. For lost package, if a shipping company is unable to locate your package and a claim needs to be filed, please notify us within 14 days of the shipping date.

Q6: How much is the shipping and handling cost?

For shipping address within continental US, you can find the shipping options and respective costs by entering your shipping information from our online order page. For shipment to Hawaii, Alaska, or international, please contact us for the shipping cost inquiry.

Q7: What shipping methods do you use for delivery?

We use FedEx Ground for most items. For smaller size items and book, we use USPS.

Q8: Do you offer expedited shipping?

If you would like to request expedited shipping, please contact us directly before placing an order. Then, we will give you a shipping charge estimate.

Q9: What payment options do you offer? Are they secure?

We accept credit card and PayPal payment methods for online order. For credit card payment, we accept Visa and MasterCard only. Your credit card information is protected with a secure SSL Certificate that encrypts all of your transactions through our site with industry-standard secure sockets layer (SSL) technology. If the online store accepts credit cards; rest assured that both your credit card information and personal information are protected.

Q10: What is your privacy policy?

Your privacy is very important to us. We will never attempt to share your personal identifiable information collected at this website with any third party by us without your permission.

Q11: Do you ship internationally? Wha are your international shipping terms?

We ship both United States and International, and you can order from our website for international destinations, too. If items are in-stock, your order will normally ship within 5 business days from the date of your order

Depending on the destinations, additional duties and taxes might occur. Any charges which could incur after the package lands in the destination country, including VAT and other duties, must be paid by a recipient. We are not responsible for any process fee (including customs clearance) or cost which could incur after arriving in destinations. We are also not responsible for any decisions (including but not limited to holding the package for inspection or confiscation) made at the customs. Please contact your local authorities directly for any customs clearance information. We are also not responsible for any lost package or delay after the order ships out. We are unable to guarantee any delivery date. For any issues regarding the shipping, or any instructions regarding the shipment after the order is fulfilled and shipped out, please contact directly with your local post office/ authorities. We are unable to accept any return/ exchange/ refund request for international order.

Q12: Where is my order shipped from?

Your order is shipped from Los Angeles, California (USA)


2. Double-lid Donabe Rice Cooker, "Kamado-san"

Q1: What's the minimum amount of rice you can cook with "Kamado-san"?

For the minimum cooking amount for different sizes of Kamado-san, please see Kamado-san cooking chart linked here.

Q2: Can I cook brown rice with "Kamado-san"?

Yes, you can make the delicious brown rice with "Kamado-san". You can find the recipe for plain (whole grain) brown rice on our recipe page.

Some types of brown rice such as partially-polished brown rice do not require additional soaking or cooking time. For such types of brown rice, you can simply follow the same recipe as cooking the regular white rice. Among such brown rice, we like to use SUKOYAKA GENMAI by Nishimoto Trading, which cooks just like white rice and the result is the fluffy brown rice.

SUKOYAKA GENMAI can be found at Japanese and Asian grocery stores.

Q3: Can I cook other types of rice with "Kamado-san"?

You can also cook other types of rice. For rice such as medium or long grain kinds, cooking time and heat level are normally the same as cooking short grain rice, or you can adjust to your preference. For the water and rice ratio, please follow your rice package's instructions.


3. Ibushi Gin

Q1: Can I use donabe smoker, "Ibushi Gin" for something other than smoking?

Because the smoke aroma and stain tend to remain inside of Ibushi Gin over many uses even after washing, we would not really suggest Ibushi Gin to be used for any other purposes than smoking food. But, it's technically okay.

Q2: Can I use charcoal or any other materials other than wood smoke chips for "Ibushi Gin"?

The product is designed to work with the fine wood smoke chips, so that's the only kind the producer recommend, and they don't suggest any other materials.


4. Yaki Yaki San

Q1:How about if I burn the grill top of Yaki Yaki San

If the heat is too high and/or the ingredients have a lot of marinade (sauce), that could cause the grill top to burn. Stubborn burn can be very difficult to clean afterwards. Wiping the grill top with wet paper towel, or place ice cubes before wiping between cooking different ingredients can help keeping the grill top from burning for easy cleaning. If you burn Yaki Yaki San and it becomes too stubborn to clean, you will need patience. Soak the grill top in hot water for a while, then use a scrub brush (like Japanese "tawashi" brush) to scrub. You might need to repeat the process depending on how bad the burn is.


5. Other Iga-yaki Donabe General

Q1: Who makes these donabe products, which are sold in your website, toiro kitchen?

They are authentic Iga-yaki (Iga style) donabe, made by an artisan producer, Nagatani-en, from Iga, Japan. Nagatani-en has been family-owned since 1832 and now it's run by Nagatani family's 8th generation.

Q2: Can you tell me about the nature and "wabi sabi" beauty of Iga-yaki donabe?

These Iga-yaki doanbe, made by Nagatani-en, are made from special Iga clay from the region. Iga clay is naturally extremely porous and therefore known for its remarkable heat retention ability and durability. Because of the porous clay, the surface of the donabe generally looks rough. Especially in the bottom part, which is shaved by hand to even increase its surface area for the heat, you find many tiny rough dents/ holes which could look like cracks sometimes.

Each Iga-yaki donabe, made by Nagatani-en, is hand-crafted by skilled craftsmen and it takes about 2 weeks to produce it. Glaze is applied by hand and handles are attached by hand also. The shape, color, patterns are slightly different from one another and could look uneven or unfinished, if your eyes are not very familiar with Japanese artisan pottery. This so called "uneven" or "unfinished" character is exactly the beauty of Iga-yaki's "wabi sabi" and have been appreciated by Japanese people for centuries. That's the sign of artisan product, also.

If what you look for is "uniformity" or smooth surface pottery, we would suggest you search for machine made inexpensive kinds. Iga-yaki pottery is made for those who appreciate the "wabi sabi" beauty and its functions.

Q3: Can I fry ingredients in donabe or heat a donabe while it's empty?

In general, donabe must never be used for frying (like deep-frying and pan-frying). However, sautéing over moderate heat is okay.

Donabe (such as classic-style donabe), in general, must not be heated while it's empty, as it could cause cracking. There are certain styles of donabe (such as tagine-style donabe, "Fukkura-san", and donabe skillet, "Toban") which are okay to be heated empty and can be used for stir-frying or pan-frying with small amount of oil which should be added in advance. Please check the indication on each product page's "General Product Information" to find if the donabe can be heated empty or not.

In any case, over-heating donabe could be dangerous. Oil must not be added to very hot donabe. Always be cautious with the heat.

Q4: Are there design/ color variations within the same donabe product? Can I choose a specific unit?

All the donabe and Iga-yaki products made by Nagatani-en are hand-crafted, so no two units are identical within the same product. There are slight variations with the color/ shade, shape/ curve, and patterns, within each product, and that's what the hand-made artisan pottery is all about! These artisan donabe and Iga-yaki products are all carefully inspected and approved at Nagatani-en. Because they are all made in the same method within each product and with high standard, we are unable to let customers to choose a specific unit from each product.

Q5: There are different functional donabe products and I don't know which donabe I should buy. Can I use Kamado-san for cooking other than rice? Or, can you use other donabe for cooking rice or different purposes? Any advise on how to choose the best donabe(s) for my needs?

While most of our "unique-style" donabe pots are designed for specific modes of cooking and best used for particular purpose(s), you could use them for other cooking methods. "Kamado-san" can be used for making soup/ stew. You can also use a classic-style donabe or "Mushi-nabe" (without the steam grate) for cooking rice by applying your choice of rice making method (there are so many different ways, so you can do your own research if you don't have a specific rice cooking method of your own). However, if your focus is to cook premium quality rice, we recommend you choose "Kamado-san". Making rice with "Kamado-san" is also very easy, as you don't have to change the heat level or watch the pot to make sure the contents won't boil over during cooking. If you like making soup/ stew, "Miso-shiru Nabe" would be your best choice, because of its remarkable braising and extra heat-retention abilities. For steaming, we offer wonderful "Mushi Nabe", and if you are looking for a donabe to use for a hot-pot style dish, classic-style donabe pots are highly recommended. For smoking, you would like the donabe smoker, "Ibushi Gin". However, it's suggested to be used solely for the smoke cooking purposes.

Also, many customers choose donabe pots based on the aesthetic design and size/ capacity of each product to best serve their needs.

Q6: Can I use donabe on electric stove or induction cooktop?

Most Iga-yaki donabe products are not suitable for electric stove (including glass top) or induction cooktop, unless otherwise noted. For the best effect of heat distribution, flame is traditionally essential for cooking with donabe. Therefore, heat diffuser is not recommended, either. Please refer to each product page for suitable heat source.

Q7: I want to use donabe, but my kitchen stove is electric. What should I do?

As an easy and convenient solution, we suggest you get a portable butane gas burner and butane cartridges. You can easily search and find different brands of such burners online or at Japanese/ Asian markets. The brand we like is IWATANI (normally sold at around $30 or under). Whether your kitchen is equipped with gas stove or not, it's really convenient to have at least 1 portable gas burner at home for table-top communal style dining (like hot pot) or outdoor cooking. We use our IWATANI portable burner at home all the time. One we have is over 10 years old and it's still working perfectly.

Q8: Can I use donabe in the oven or wood fire/ charcoal grill? If so, what is the maximum temperature donabe can stand?

Yes, unless otherwise mentioned in a product page, Nagatani-en's Iga-yaki donabe is oven-safe in general. Because each donabe was baked in an extremely high heat kiln twice in the production process, Iga-yaki donabe is highly heat-resistent. For safety, when you use Nagatani-en's donabe in the oven, we suggest the maximum temperature to be set no more than 600°F (300°C) degrees. Nagatani-en's Iga-yaki donabe is also fine to use over grill, but please be aware that such a heat source could make the bottom and outside of the donabe much darker easily.

Q9: How about the safety of donabe? Are they led-free?

Our donabe products (made by Nagatani-en of Iga, Japan) are proven to be lead-free and cadmium-free. Each of Nagatani-en's donabe products are made with care by the skilled craftsmen. Nagatani-en is one of the leading and most trusted donabe producer in Japan.

Q10: How can I season donabe before start using it? Is it easy?

Yes, it's an easy and important step you need to do before your virgin use of "Kamado-san". Because Iga-style donabe is made of porus type clay, without seasoning the donabe, it might cause leaking or cracking. Therefore, we suggest that you season "Kamado-san" by making porridge in it. It might sound like an extra step, but it's just a simple procedure in order for the donabe to last for many, many years. You can find the process in How to season donabe page.

Q11: Can I season my donabe with flour or uncooked rice, instead of cooked rice?

Because Iga-yaki donabe is made of special coarse clay, in order to properly season it, high level of starch is required from the beginning of the process. That's why already cooked rice is suggested to do the process.

Q12: After I used my donabe a few times, I see tiny cracks inside of the bowl. Is it okay?

As you use your donabe over and over, it develops the nice used "wabi-sabi" character and that's something to be welcomed.

The small cracks could appear on the surface (glaze) of the donabe. It's called "kannyu" in Japanese and the cracks run like veins. They are the naturally developed cracks on the glaze and won't affect the function of the donabe. They are rather the good welcome sign of authentic donabe.

Q13: Can I store leftover in my donabe?

Leaving food in a donabe for a long period of time could cause it to absorb the food smell. So, don't store food in a donabe for a long time.

Q14: I burned food inside of a donabe. How can I cleaned a stubborn burnt spot?

Please use your precious donabe very carefully and don't burn food inside! But, if it happens and If it's a light burnt spot, you can soak the burnt spot in water for a while, then scrubbing with a soft scrub sponge can remove the stain. For a heavy burnt spot, you can fill donabe with enough water to soak the burnt spot and boil for 10-15 minutes. When it's cooled down, drain the water and scrub with a soft scrub sponge. If it doesn't clean fully, you might want to repeat the process multiple times.

Q15: There are some burned spots on the outside of the bottom part of the donabe. Did I use it wrong?

Once you start using the donabe, the bottom part starts to change its color and black spots (like lightly burned spots) could appear. It's also the part of developing the character (which we welcome) and the donabe is safe to use. The more donabe develops such a character, the more it makes us proud, because it shows you've been actually using it (rather than just keeping it as a display). However, if the bottom part seems to get too black too quickly, the heat you use might be too high. In this case, we suggest that you use the donabe over lower heat level.

Q16: I dropped my donabe and a part of the rim is chipped now. Can I still use it? Can I reattach the broken part with a super glue?

Unfortunately, we are not in the position to determine whether the donabe is still okay to use or not, because we cannot know the actual degree of the damage caused by the impact. We ask you to use your own judgement and responsibility (and common sense). If you are not sure, you shouldn’t use it. Even if the damage looks to be just a tiny chipped part, there might be invisible tiny crack(s) inside and which might cause unexpected breaking of the donabe during cooking. That being said, if the damage is solely a small chipped part(s), and if it won’t affect the usage, it’s normally okay to use. My Kamado-san donabe has many chipped parts here and there after cooking almost every day past 10+ years, and I consider them part of my donabe’s “characters”.

With regard to repairing a broken part of donabe, because it’s a cookware and can be used at a very high temperature, we would not suggest a regular super glue. We suggest you consult with a professional repairman with knowledge of repairing pottery cookware. Please also note that depending on the size/ type of damage, the repaired part can be more fragile and cause further damage.


6. Recipes

Q1: Questions about recipes and ingredients

We provide our original recipes in our website, only because we hope to give donabe users more cooking ideas to cook with donabe. We are unable to take any question or request regarding recipes and ingredients. As long as you use a donabe properly, it's up to you what you cook and how you cook with it!

Q2: Can you tell me how to cook your donabe recipes in the oven?

Again, the recipes are up to you, and we are unable to provide specific recipe questions, including oven cooking. Most donabe products are oven-safe, unless otherwise indicated in each product page, and you can apply your recipe including rice making to cook with your donabe.

Q3: Some of the recipes in this website requires "dashi" stock. Is it easy to make at home? Is there any instant kind?

Yes, dashi is easy to make at home. Dashi is a Japanese stock and it's essential in many Japanese dishes. I always enjoy making my own dashi.

The basic Kombu and Fish Dashi ("Awase-dashi") recipe along with some tips can be found in our Classic Donabe recipe page. For busy people who don't have time to prepare homemade dashi, you can find dashi bags (like tea bags) at Japanese grocery stores. It's very easy to use as you simply need to put the bag with water in a pot and heat to infuse.

Depending on the brand, the ingredients are different. Make sure to choose the high-quality natural kind without additives. I recommend "Jin" which is made by Uneno from Kyoto, Japan (see picture on the right). This is a blend of bonito flakes, konbu, and shiitake. These are all natural ingredients with no additives. In the US, this brand can be found at Nijiya Market chain.


7. Company

Q1: Do you have a physical store location?

We are based in Los Angeles, California in USA. We currently don't have a physical store. However, you can come see our products here at our location in LA by appointment only, and you can also purchase directly here. For direct sales, we accept cash or check payment.

Q2: What does your company name "toiro" mean?

"toiro" is a Japanese word which literally means, "ten colors". The word is used in an expression "junin toiro (ten people, ten colors)", which is similar to the expression, "different strokes for different folks". We named our company "toiro", because we wish many different people to enjoy the products we introduce in many different ways.

Q3: What's the unofficial theme song of toiro kitchen?

"Everyday People" by Sly & The Family Stone