Since we didn’t have much work on our last days WorkAwaying at Peace House Sakura in Kyoto, Chelsea suggested Yuzen dyeing. We had never heard of anything like it, and it sounded like a very Kyoto-ish thing to do, so off we went on our second-to-last day as WorkAwayers.
If you’re interested, here’s a map so you can find it. It’s really fun and you get to make your own souvenir so give it a try!
It’s really easy to find (even by foot); from Peace House Sakura, we followed Gojo Dori, and after crossing the river, we walked through Teramachi (a traditional shopping arcade) on the right. Once we arrived at Oike Dori, we turned left and around the corner of a building called “Portrait Studio – V Studio”, we found the craft centre.
You could also take Terasuma Dori, which is the road right in front of Kyoto Station.
(It’s my first time putting an interactive map in one of my posts, so let me know if it doesn’t work.)
Since my explanation would probably be lacking, here’s how JNTO explains it:
The yuzen dyeing method was introduced to Japan from the continent in the 8th century. Tradition has it that hand painted yuzen was first made by the artist Miyazaki Yuzensai of Kyoto. Many colors are used and yuzen dyeing used to dye kimonos in picturesque designs developed with the cultural life of Kyoto townspeople. In modern times craftsmen developed Utsushi-yuzen (tracing) in which a yuzen design is dyed using paper patterns. Yuzen dyeing is used for kimonos, coats and haori (short coats worn with formal kimonos), and these days is produced in the cities of Kyoto and Uji, part of greater Kyoto. Kyo-yuzen dyeing was designated a traditional craft in 1976.
Here’s what mine looked like eventually. I screwed up with the flowers, but that was almost entirely the zipper’s fault (it was in the was so there was too much space in between the stencil and the fabric. We made these at then end of May and I’m still using mine every day!
On our way home through Teramachi, Chelsea bought the hat she’d been wanting to buy since she saw it and had dinner at an okonomiyaki place called 笑屋 (I think it’s pronounced Shouya).
Here’s a video about Yuzen Dyeing (by the craft centre we went to):