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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 center of Japanese indigo dyeing since the 16th century. Watanabe Somemono (Dyehouse) continues to uphold the family tradition of using natural indigo dye, which contains naturally occurring insect-repelling and antibacterial properties, over chemical dyes to create a signature blue color known as “Japan Blue.” A visit to this indigo workshop, which has been operating continuously over the centuries, will let you experience this high-quality dyeing technique for yourself. 



Assisted by an English interpreter, the master craftsman at Watanabe Dyehouse will help you create your own custom-dyed t-shirt or scarf. You can choose from a number of options, including the fabric, dyeing patterns, and color gradient. Watch as repeatedly submerging the cloth into the dye and exposing it to air creates a deep cobalt hue in an almost magical 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 local historic architecture, reconstructed Gujo Hachiman Castle, and lush gardens of the Jionzen-ji Temple offer you a glimpse into the daily Japanese life of yesteryear while still influencing modern living.


Access: From Tokyo Station, take the Shinkansen bullet train to Nagoya Station (about 1 hour 40 minutes). Take the train to Gifu Station (about 20 minutes), then take the highway bus to Gujo Hachiman Jokamachi Plaza( about one hour 10 minutes).


Contribution to Sustainability

In 2021, the Nagara River Basin in Gifu Prefecture was selected as a Green Destinations Top 100 location. Nearby in the city of Gujo , aizome indigo dyeing has been passed down for 15 generations at Watanabe Somemono Dyehouse using naturally sourced materials. You can take part in this cultural heritage while learning the craft firsthand.


Watanabe Somemono Traditional Indigo Dye


737 Shimadani, Hachiman-cho, Gujo-shi, Gifu-ken


Approx. 2 hours or more




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