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Entries in nishijin (3)


aizen kobo 藍染工房 あいぜんこうぼう

aizen kobo is an indigo dye workshop/studio/store in an old townhouse in the nishijin textile area of kyoto. it's very close to the nishijin textile center, if you are trying to find it you can ask here.

address : Nakasuji-Omiya Nishi, Yoko-omiyacho, Kamigyo-ku Kyoto 602-8449, JAPAN

phone: 075-441-0355

hours: Monday-Friday 10:00 a.m.-5:30PM; Saturday,Sunday and National Holiday 10:00a.m-4:00p.m. call ahead for reservations.

hands-on dyeing workshop is only available on days when it's not raining, since the dye vats are in an outdoor courtyard.

i would definitely recommend visiting aizen kobo for anyone interested in learning more about japanese indigo. the people who run it are great, very friendly, and enthusiastic about speaking english. the photo above is one of the lovely large tatami rooms where the indigo dyed products are displayed.


weaving in kyoto, the nishijin textile center 西陣織工業組合

nishijin weaving is the traditional style of weaving in kyoto, and the nishijin area is the part of the city that is home to the weaving and supporting industries. a visit to the nishijin textile center is a good introduction to the history.

nishijin textile center 西陣織工業組合

address: horikawa-imadegawa minami-iru kamigyo-ku, kyoto 京都市上京区堀川通今出川南入

phone: (075)432-6131


map showing the nishijin textile center.

view of the building from the outside.

the nishijin weaving style originated about 500 years ago, when a group of weavers were introduced to silk weaving techniques from china, and lived in the western camp (nishijin) of a general at the time.the textile center is a large and has comprehensive displays, including looms.
mini dioramas of (i guess) traditional silk stores?in the end though, the nishijin textile center is a big souvenir has a variety of mini cultural courses. i haven't tried any of their classes, but for anyone seriously interested in crafts, i recommend orinasu kan (following post) instead for a hands on workshop.


orinasu kan 織成館(おりなすかん)

in july 2007, i did a weaving workshop in kyoto with my mom and my crafty friend rebecca at orinasu kan, in the nishijin area of kyoto. nishijin is the textile district, and also the name of a traditional weaving style.

orinasu kan 織成館(おりなすかん)

address: daikoku-cho, kamidachiuri agaru, jofukuji-dori, kamigyo-ku, kyoto city


phone: 075-431-0020

hours: 10am-4pm, closed mondays, new years, new years eve.


view of the entry to orinasu kan from the street.

our teacher. the workshop was at orinasu-kan, which is housed in a traditional japanese shop house. they have a textile display section, a workshop space, and next door is a working textile factory. unfortunately, you can't take pictures in the factory section, but it was very cool to see how they are using the traditional looms, but updated with electrical and computer technology. (although they showed us a 3.5 floppy disk during the explanation about technology, so i'm not sure how cutting edge it is;-)
a traditional spinning wheel on display in the museum.
we starting by picking colors of silk to use as our weft.
the looms were already warped, so we tried to match the colors.
our finished work. it took 2 hours, and i think we all felt like we had just gotten the hang of tossing the shuttle with the right motion/speed when our time was up.

i would highly recommend this workshop for people who want an intro to weaving. of the three of us, i was the total beginner, so it was a fine level for me. i think for someone like my mom who has done a lot of weaving, it was a fun experience, but didn't get into any advanced information. the instruction was all in japanese. if you don't speak japanese, i think you would have no problem going and weaving a placemat, but obviously you wouldn't be able to understand a lot of information. they are listed in lonely planet kyoto book.