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Kaga Yuzen: Traditional Art on Kimono


©Kanazawa City  

HOME > Japan’s Local Treasures > Kaga Yuzen: Traditional Art on Kimono


An exquisite dyeing technique reflecting the beauty of nature in Kanazawa

Kanazawa City, Ishikawa Prefecture


©Kanazawa City


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 reflects the splendor of nature with realistic natural scenes characterized by gentle gradient colors and real-world motifs such as plants and flowers with leaves nibbled by insects.
In the past, there used to be iconic seasonal sights called Yuzen Nagashi, literally meaning “floating silk.” Artisans soaked Yuzen silk fabrics in rivers to wash off the glue and excess paints used during the coloring process. This is no longer to be seen, with the growing popularity of indoor artificial river machines, but instead you will find carp-shaped windsocks with gorgeous designs floating in Asanogawa River by the famous Higashi Geisha District at 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.


©Kanazawa City

How to get there

Take the direct JR Hokuriku Shinkansen from Tokyo Station to Kanazawa Station (about 2 hours and 30 minutes).


Asanogawa River and Higashi Geisha District: Higashiyama, Kanazawa-shi, Ishikawa-ken


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