Friday, November 30, 2012

Trip to Japan Part 2 - Indigo Dyeing

Part of our visit to Japan earlier this month involved a visit to the Aizumicho Historical Museum of Indigo in Tokushima.

This area in the northern district of Awa province, the historical origin of Awa Indigo since 794AD.  The museum is the former residence of Ai-merchant Mr Okumura, built in 1808.

The museum offers 'hands-on' experiences so Craig and I opted to each dye a cotton table runner, at the modest price of 2000Yen (approx $25AUD), I'm going to wear mine as a scarf as the material is more suited to our warm climate.

We were able to choose from a selection of designs, I chose a random crumpled look whilst Craig wanted to do stripes.

After donning apron and gloves, we proceeded to start our dyeing, dipping our bundles in and out of a large van of dark, pugent indigo.  Our tutor could only speak Japanese, but as usual we were able to communicate sufficiently using hand gestures and smiles and a modest smattering of essential Japanese words.

Indigo dyeing samples in the Exhibition Hall

The designs we could select from

Dyeing in progress

Rinsing our scarves

Hanging our finished pieces out to dry

When we returned to the city area of Tokushima, we hired bikes to explore the area.  Bike riding for commuting purposes is really popular in Japan, I guess that cars aren't practical in a country with a high population density and not much carparking space.  We hired our bikes from the bike-parking lot in the basement of the train station, its just amazing to see thousands of bikes parked like the equivalent of the underground carparks of our big shopping centres.

The bike-parking lot where we hired our bikes

 There aren't many rules about how you ride your bike in Japan...

Baskets are SO cool

 Exploring one of the shopping arcades on bike,
you can't do that in Australia!

AND don't we just LOVE the food!
I'm standing outside a typical department store restuarant,
complete with plastic food display.
...when's our next visit???? we're thinking about it already.....



  1. Definitely being moved up the "wish list."
    Thank you for sharing your fun.

  2. I've really enjoyed reading about your trip Sandra. Thanks for sharing. Did ou notice that all the bikes are what we would describe as "girl's" style? I don't know if there is a reason for this, or if it is just tradition.

  3. Sooooooooooo..... envious of your creative travels