Indigo Dyeing, called shibori, is a 1300 year old cultural art that involves many techniques.
The town of Arimatsu was established in 1608 during the Edo period and was a stop on the Tokkaido Route, the main route connecting Kyoto to Tokyo. Many travelers would stop in Arimatsu to buy shibori for gifts and personal use.
Arimatsu became known as one of the origins of shibori. The high-quality products are handmade and have beautiful patterns and designs.
There are over 100 different methods of dyeing, which include binding, twisting, stitching, wrapping, and folding. The process is quite complex and lengthy, involving several people and hours of manual labor.
Arimatsu Shibori Museum
At the Arimatsu Shibori Museum, there are daily demonstrations by master shibori craftspeople and an English video to learn more about Arimatsu Shibori. It is open daily from 9:30 am to 5:00 pm. Admission is 300 yen.
The best time to visit the small town is during one of the festivals. Festivals are held three times a year: the third Sunday in March, the first weekend in June, and the first Sunday in October.
During the festival, you can see shibori demonstrations and artists selling original works. You can buy shibori kimono, parasols, hand towels, handkerchiefs, clothing, and more.
There are also three festival floats on display. The floats are over a hundred years old and feature mechanical puppets that can perform delicate tasks, such as writing Japanese characters.
When to Go
Arimatsu is interesting to visit at any time of year. If you’re not visiting during a festival, then the best time to go is on the weekend because many of the shops are closed during the week.
How to Get There
From Nagoya Station, take the Meitetsu train to Arimatsu Station. It takes about 20 minutes. The town is just a few minutes’ walk from Arimatsu Station.
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