Activities - Arts & Crafts

Silk Weaving Experience (Ueda Tsumugi)
Koiwai Tsumugi Kobo : 小岩井紬工房

Sit at a 100-Year Old Loom and Make Your Own Ueda Silk Weaving.

Eastern Nagano


Description

Ueda City is home to one of Japan's top 3 silk weaving traditions, "Ueda Tsumugi". A handful of workshops proudly continue the weaving traditions, incorporating the designs into an ever-expanding variety of uses. Sit at a 100-year old wooden loom and weave your own original Ueda Tsumugi silk creation at Koiwai Tsumugi Studio.


Recommendation

Come sit at a loom at an actual working silk weaving studio and weave your own hand-made creation. Ueda Tsumugi is a silk weaving tradition with a 300 year history, and is considered one of the top 3 such traditions in all of Japan. Sericulture was a major industry in rural Japan starting in the middle of the Edo period and peaking in the Meiji era when silk accounted for 60% of Japan’s exports. Silk production worldwide declined with the Great Depression in the 1930’s. After a brief comeback post-WWII, Japan’s sericulture gradually disappeared. In Ueda City's Shiojiri neighborhood where the Koiwai Tsumugi Studio is located, you can still see many earthen-walled storehouses with their unique raised center ridges – indicating that silk worms had been grown there in the past. And the Faculty of Textile Science and Technology at Shinshu University’s Ueda campus celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2010. One of only 2 such centers in Japan, it continues to expand on Ueda’s silk history with futuristic research on fiber science and textile technology.
The Ueda Tsumugi silk weaving tradition has its roots in this local sericulture background. Its unique characteristics are in the coloring (browns derived from apple tree bark and indigo blues) and design (checkered patterns are common). The fabric is also known for its strength, which derives from the combination of single strands of silk in the weft with the thicker gathered strands (“tsumugi”) in the warp. Many examples of fabric are on display and available for purchase at the small gift shop at the family-run Koiwai Tsumugi Studio. You can ask to see their book of patterns that dates back to the Edo period. Those same patterns are still being made today. While some are used to make kimonos and in other traditional ways, the Koiwais also use Ueda Tsumugi in making vests, hats and other more western styles, too.

The Koiwais would be happy to guide you on a tour of the studio so you can see the entire silk weaving process, from dyeing to spooling, then to the weaving on the handlooms.

And, if you have the time and creativity, you too can choose the thread colors, sit at an actual loom, decide your own pattern, and pass the shuttle back and forth across the weft to make your own personal Ueda Tsumugi weaving.


Details

  •  3
  •  3
  •  20 people
Hours :
9:00-17:00.  
Date(s) :
Irregular 
Cost / Price of Admission :
2500 to weave a small place mat. 
Time Required :
40 minutes 
Credit Cards :
VISA, MasterCard, Amex
Reservations :
Required(Reservations required to confirm availability of staff. Send e-mail with your requested date and time and # of people. ) 
# of Participants :
1-2 
Foreign Languages :
English (The proprietor, Ryoma Koiwai, speaks English.) 
Luggage Storage :
Available 

Notes

Only 2 looms are available for visitors to use. Groups can take turns weaving if they wish. Groups can observe but cannot partake in weaving.


Contact

tel : +81(0)268-22-1927   Official site


Access/Location

By Train
From Nishi Ueda Station(Shinano Railway), Go right out of the station, cross Route 18 and the studio will be on the left. (6 min., 500m)
By Car
From Ueda Sugadaira IC, take Rt. 144 down 900m to Rt. 18 Bypass (Sumiyoshi signal) and turn right. Proceed 5.4km to Kami-Shiojiri Higashi light and turn right on to Rt. 18. Take 4th right (650m) and workshop will be at the end of the road.
Address
40 Kamishiojiri, Ueda 386-0042

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