Experience genuine Kyo-yuzen Dyeing in front of Nijo-jo Station!
When you are on a tour in Kyoto, wouldn't you like to experience something in addition to shopping? Kyoto has many traditional things such as Kyo-gashi (confectionary), Kyo-ningyo (doll), and Kyo-sensu (fan). Experiencing something when in Kyoto can be walking the streets wearing a kimono, making Japanese confectionary, etc. which are well-known.
Well, now I would like to introduce you to experiencing Kyo-yuzen dyeing! Kyo-yuzen is also called Yuzen-zome, and it is a traditional craft that has been around for more than 300 years. Kyo-yuzen dyeing is said to have come into being when Yuzen Miyazaki, who was originally a painter, used his designs as patterns dyed on fabric. The distinctive features are its various vivid colors and drawing-like patterns. I will show you what I have experienced, trying Kyo-yuzen dyeing near Nijo-jo Castle!
I got on a subway, and got out of exit 2 of “Nijo-jo mae” Station, which is nearest to the shop, and right in front of me is Nijo-jo Castle. I am surprised to see the castle so near the station.
I am walking along the Horikawa-dori, in the opposite direction of Nijo-jo, and as I turn left at Oike-dori there is the shop's sign! The white flag with red words in the far left is their sign．The shop is about a 5-minute walking distance from the station, which is convenient.
This is it! The name of the shop is “Marumasu-Nishimuraya.” When you stand in front of the shop, you will see a narrow road on the right hand. I have heard that this is a traditional structure of a merchant's house in Kyoto. As I walked along this narrow stone-paved road, I found their work shop.
If you go inside, you will find a cute variety shop of Yuzen-dyed items, and further inside is the space for the work shop.
There are many different tools. It seems like walking into an artisan’s studio. Isn't it exciting? Since I am about to experience Kyo-yuzen dyeing, my expectations are high!
Experiencing Kyo-yuzen Dyeing near Nijo-jo Castle! Selecting an item and design
First, you must choose what item you want to dye in the beginner's level course. There are so many items to choose from, such as Tote bag, smart phone case, book cover, photo frame, and tumbler, that I can't decide. I have finally decided on the most popular item, a book cover.
Next, I will decide what design I want to dye. Again, I can't decide, since there are over several hundred designs such as plants, animals, fish, and words. I was told that if you can't decide, you may want to choose designs related to your birth month or a seasonal flower. What do you think I chose?
After choosing a design, the artisan first explains the process while demonstrating. Other than myself, there are three people, and they all looked serious, listening quietly. I'm a bit nervous. Now, I will start!
Enjoying vivid coloring unique to Kyoto near Nijo-jo Castle
The design I chose is “cute rabbits that are pounding mochi (rice cake).” There are four pattern papers for this design. Depending on the design, there are one to five pattern papers, the less papers there are, the less processes there are. There are many vivid colors. I will now use these dyes and color the book cover.
First, I will fix the pattern paper in place. Next, I dip the brush into the dye, and after spreading it on the pattern paper, I will stencil print the design. I was told that circling over the pattern paper is important.
I will carefully stencil, not to extend beyond the edges. I need to concentrate, so I will take breaks in between processes. I am close to finishing!
Using the last pattern paper, I will stencil on some flowers. Upon using a combination of two colors, I will be done!
This is my Yuzen dyed book cover. I'm looking forward to using at home.
Experience near Nijo-jo Castle and shopping for a souvenir
You can do some Kyo-yuzen dyed Japanese arts and crafts shopping at the shop, which is right near the entrance of the work shop. They are all made in Kyoto, so you can give them to friends as Kyoto souvenirs without any worries. I heard that many of them were hand-made in the work shop, starting with stenciling. There are various concepts of the items, such as traditional patterns, modern patterns, and a unique black and yellow pattern. There were wallets, card cases, handkerchiefs, and a large pouch you can use as a clutch bag. There are so many vivid colors and patterns, you may find it difficult to decide which to choose.
I went back home, and put the cover on my favorite book. The fabric is a bit firm, with a nice touch. The Yuzen dyeing is Kyoto-like, and I feel proud that I made it myself. If you want your artwork you made in the work shop as a souvenir, the shop will gift wrap it for you!
This time, I took the beginner's course which you can casually experience traditional Kyo-yuzen dyeing (1-1.5 hours). There is also a full-scale course (3-5 hours), that uses large, more technical types of pattern papers. They will lend you the aprons and tools, so you can visit without bringing your own things. If you are visiting Japan, and you want to experience something in Kyoto, by all means try Kyo-yuzen dyeing.
●Ogawa-dori, Oike-Minami hairu, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto
●Workshop: 9:00-17:00 (ends at19:00)
*The above information was last updated May 12, 2018. For details and the newest information, please contact the shop directly.
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