Dye Clothes “Japan Blue” in a Castle Town
Create your own indigo-dyed item with the help of an artisan, passing down over 400 years of family technique
Gujo Hachiman is a historic castle town located in Gifu Prefecture that has been a heart of Japanese indigo dying for over 400 years. Watanabe Somemono Traditional indigo dye continues to uphold its family traditions of using natural indigo dye, which contains naturally occurring insect-repelling and antibacterial properties, over chemical dyes to give products a signature blue color, known as “Japan Blue.” A visit to this indigo workshop, which has been operating for 15 generations, will let you experience high-quality dying technique for yourself.
Optionally assisted by an English interpreter, the master craftsman at Watanabe Dyehouse will help you create your own custom-dyed t-shirt or stole. You can choose from a number of options, including fabric, dying patterns, and color gradient. Watch as repeatedly submerging the cloth into the dye and exposing it to air creates a deep cobalt hue in a magic-like process. You will learn about the various techniques for creating fantastically designed indigo fabrics, such as binding, pressing, and wrapping, and apply your newfound knowledge to create your own signature piece.
As you wait for your masterpiece to dry, you can choose to add on a guided tour of the vicinity. The well-preserved historic architecture, reconstructed Gujo Hachiman Castle and lush gardens of the Jionzenji Temple offer you a glimpse into daily Japanese life of times gone bye, but which nevertheless still influence modern living.
Access: From Tokyo Station, take the shinkansen bullet train to Nagoya Station, about 1 hour and 40 minutes. Take the train to Gifu Station, about 20 minutes, and then take the highway bus to Gujo Hachiman Jokamachi Plaza, about 1 hour and 10 minutes.
Watanabe Somemono Traditional indigo dye
approx. 120 min. or more