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Dyeing Studio

Two types of dyeing techniques (Edo Komon and Edo Sarasa)

Edo Komon

Edo Komon is a type of stencil dyeing that developed during the Edo period (1603 - 1868), tracing its roots back to the Muromachi period (1336 - 1573). Initially, motifs used on armor and family crests began to be applied to clothing, and later, they were used in formal samurai attire called “Kamishimo.”

Under the strict sumptuary laws imposed by the Edo Shogunate, the common people also secretly enjoyed fashion. Luxury silk was forbidden, so materials like Tsumugi (pongee), cotton, and linen were utilized, and flamboyant colors were avoided. However, colors like brown and mouse gray were permitted. In this environment, artisans honed their unique skills to satisfy the fashionable desires of the common folk with limited colors, offering Edo Komon that catered to their sense of style. 

Particularly around the Kanda River area, where water was abundant, dyeing techniques flourished, and even today, many dyeing businesses can be found in the Ochiai district.

Edo Sarasa

Sarasa, originating from India over 3000 years ago, is characterized by its colorful patterns of flowers and figures dyed on cotton using five colors. It was introduced to Japan in the Muromachi period (1336 - 1573) and flourished as a unique culture during the Edo period (1603 - 1868).

Artisans, using Japanese stencil dyeing techniques, brought to life these exotic Sarasa designs in vivid colors, expressing unique scenes of nature and the four seasons. By the late Edo period, distinguished Sarasa artisans emerged, spreading the fame of Edo Sarasa.

Edo Sarasa is known for its exotic ambiance yet possesses a deep subtlety and the aesthetic qualities of 'wabi' and 'sabi,' reflecting the beauty consciousness of Edo's people. The unique taste of Edo Sarasa, particularly the distinctive astringency created by the chemical reactions with the hard water of the Kanda River, is one of its charms. Today, Tokyo's Edo Sarasa is the only producer of Sarasa in Japan.

Would you like to create your own Edo Sarasa piece in a studio with over 100 years of history? The Edo Sarasa created in this studio was traditionally made for ordinary people's kimonos, while the Edo Komon was for the samurai's crested hakama, truly embodying the attire of Edo itself. Being directly taught in English by an authentic dyeing artisan, you will create your own Edo Sarasa masterpiece, making an unforgettable memory in your lifetime.

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Dyeing Studio in Tokyo, Edo Komon and Edo Sarasa

Edo Komon and Edo Sarasa Selected as Among the 42 'Traditional Crafts of Tokyo'

Dyeing businesses specializing in Komon and Sarasa dyeing, in search of high-quality water abundant in Kanda and Asakusa, gradually moved up the clear stream of the Kanda River, relocating to Edogawabashi and then to Ochiai (Shinjuku Ward). Today, they continue to inherit traditional techniques as one of the few local industries in Shinjuku Ward.

Dyeing Studio in Tokyo, Edo Komon and Edo Sarasa

Shinjuku Ward: One of Japan's Three Major Dyeing Industry Centers, Alongside Kyoto and Kanazawa

Until the mid-1960s, the area around the Kanda River and Myoshoji River in Tokyo (where they merge at Takadanobaba) was home to over 300 dyeing-related businesses. Thus, Shinjuku Ward was recognized as one of Japan's three major dyeing industry centers, alongside Kyoto and Kanazawa. However, due to the shrinking kimono market, the number has drastically reduced to about 10 companies today.

Dyeing Studio in Tokyo, Edo Komon and Edo Sarasa

'Some no sato Ochiai': A Dyeing Studio with Over 100 Years of History

'Some no sato Ochiai' is a long-established studio founded in 1920. They held an 'Edo Sarasa and Komon Exhibition' at the Japanese Embassy in London in 2003. In this way, while spreading Edo dyeing techniques abroad, they have also produced a wide range of products not only for traditional Japanese clothing but also for Western attire, such as tapestries and scarves.

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'Tomita Sen Kogei (Tokyo Some Monogatari Museum)': A Dyeing Studio with Over 100 Years of History

Tomita Sen Kogei (Tokyo Some Monogatari Museum) is a long-established studio founded in 1882. Their brand, SARAKICHI, builds upon the history of kimono and traditional techniques while infusing contemporary trends to create new designs. In addition to women's scarves and stoles, they have expanded their offerings to include items for men such as 'Edo Komon ties' and 'Edo Komon pocket squares', broadening their scope.

Dyeing Studio in Tokyo, Edo Komon and Edo Sarasa

Your Own Dyed Table Centerpiece as Souvenirs

Participants of the experience tour can take home a table centerpiece they dye themselves. Please take them as souvenirs of your trip to Japan.

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Your Own Dyed Tote Bags as Souvenirs

Participants of the experience tour can take home a tote bag they dye themselves. Please take it as a souvenir of your trip to Japan.

Dyeing Experience Tour Information

Meeting point

Some no Sato Ochiai

The meeting point will be at the bottom of the stairs of Exit 4 at Ochiai (T02) Station on the Tokyo Metro Tozai Line.

Tomita Sen Kogei (Tokyo Some Monogatari Museum)

The meeting point will be at Exit Waseda at JR Takadanobaba station.

Tour Duration

The dyeing experience tour lasts about 2 hours. 

Accessibility

We want as many people as possible to participate in the dyeing experience. However, since the dyeing experience may be challenging for young children, participation is limited to those aged 10 and above.

 

Please consult us in advance if you are a wheelchair user. We will make every effort to accommodate your participation. However, please understand that navigating through the dyeing studio in a wheelchair may be difficult, and we cannot guarantee participation for everyone.

Some no Sato Ochiai

Tomita Sen Kogei (Tokyo Some Monogatari Museum)

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