Friday, February 5, 2010

Kyoto Nishijin-Ori-Kaikan

One Friday during my fall trip to Japan I took a day trip to Kyoto on the Shinkansen . The Nishijin-Ori-Kaikan or Nishijin Textile Center was one place we hadn't had time to see on a previous visit. Textiles are an interest of mine but of not of my daughter's so a trip by myself with several hours to spend at the textile center made both of us happy. In the morning I visited Nijo Castle and its gardens and then in the afternoon I took a short bus ride up the road to the Nishijin Textile Center. Nishijin is known for their beautiful woven textiles and the center is a showplace for their textiles and other traditional crafts of the Kyoto area. After the serenity of the gardens the more commercial textile center was a nice contrast.

There is a free kimono show every hour just inside the main entrance of the textile center. At the end of the show all the models come out on the stage.

The second floor is a wonderful showroom of fabrics and numerous other local products. I bought a small brown handwoven cotton handbag. The coat the woman in the photo is wearing reminded me of traditional Japanese fabrics.

Several looms are set up to demonstrate weaving techniques. The above mon (crest) design is first drawn on paper and then transfered to the loom. The sign asks people not to touch.

On the third floor is a display area of the history of Nishijin. Before the European Jacquard loom was introduced in Japan in 1873 the Sorahiki-bata loom was used. The above photo is a model of this loom. As one can see it took three people to work the loom.

A handwoven not painted portrait of a Bodhisattva.

A woven man's shirt for sale. Very expensive.

A loom set up to weave kasuri (ikat) fabric. The threads of the weft are dyed before the fabric is woven to create a pattern.

The woman demonstrating weaving is wearing a garment made with kasuri fabric.

In addition to weaving demonstrations on the showroom floor there were silkworms in their different stages.

Silkworms. There wasn't a formal display of the silkworms but an area in a corner with tables and boxes where the silkworms were living. It was fun to watch people look then do a double take and laugh when they realized the silkworms were alive.

I spent about three hours at the textile center but was back in Tokyo in time to meet my daughter for a late snack. The Shinkansen is that fast-a 300 mile (each way) trip in a day.


YTSL said...

Wow, sbk, seems like you've really been exploring Japan. Have a feeling that you were the only non-Japanese visitor to that center that day -- and possibly in months. Even when I visited the Studio Ghibli Museum and spoke in English, an attendant curiously asked where I was from --- so curiously (even while politely) that I got the feeling that it didn't get that many non-Japanese visitors! :b

Sara said...

Great pictures--it looks like an absolutely fascinating place.

Glenn, kenixfan said...

I'm not a clothes horse, but I want that shirt!

How expensive are we talking here in US $?

sbk said...

Sorry to say, I have a spammer for Chinese mailorder brides/women (in Chinese) so I'm screening my comments for awhile.

Hi Glenn,

I loved the shirt and thought it would be a great present for my husband but not at US$450.

Hi Sara,

Thanks for your comments and yes it was fascinating. I'll write another blog about it sometime as I took lots of photos.

Hi Yvonne,

This place is on some tourist adgendas as there was a tour group from Mainland China there. The non tour group people were mostly Japanese women who, based on what I saw them buying, were "into" textiles. The sales people spoke to me in English which surprised me so perhaps US or other textile tours stop there.