Kaga Yuzen - Traditional Art on Kimono
Yuzen is a dyeing method characterized by beautiful designs featuring subjects such as flowers, birds, and human figures. Kanazawa is one of the cities known for this skillful traditional art. Kaga Yuzen in Kanazawa differentiates itself from the other two Yuzen styles: Kyo Yuzen in Kyoto and Edo Yuzen in Tokyo, with its distinct, lifelike style. For example, Kyo Yuzen uses designs that are bright and gorgeous like a painting in a frame. On the other hand, Kaga Yuzen pictures realistic natural sceneries with gentle gradient colors and real-world motifs such as plants and flowers with leaves bitten by insects, which reflect the splendor of nature.
Until several years ago, there used to be iconic seasonal sights called Yuzen Nagashi, literally meaning ‘floating silk’. Artisans soaked Yuzen silk fabrics in rivers to wash off glue and excess paints used during the coloring process. This is no longer to be seen as indoor artificial-river machine became more popular, but instead you will find carp-shaped windsocks with gorgeous designs floating in Asano River by the famous Higashi Geisha District in the beginning of May each year.
Kaga Yuzen is not only for kimono, but also available in many other forms, such as coin cases, furoshiki cloths for wrapping gifts, and shirts. In Kanazawa there are stores where you can see the work process of Kaga Yuzen, experience dyeing yourself, or try on a kimono intricately patterned with Kaga Yuzen.
Asano River and the Higashi Geisha District are 20 minutes by bus from JR Kanazawa Station.
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