Indigo dyeing is a traditional Tokushima industry, and the resultant deep vivid hue called “JAPAN BLUE” is widely known around the world.
As Indigo is also known as kachiiro (the winning color), it’s also often chosen as an auspicious color for the uniforms of Japan’s sports competitors.
A place where you can learn about and experience indigo dying, Ai no Yakata is a facility located in Aizumi, Itano district, Tokushima prefecture.
For this article, I took the challenge and participated in the indigo dyeing experience!
Pure white before dyeing, I bought a handkerchief from the reception. Among other things, you can also buy bandanas and stoles, but it’s okay to bring whatever you would like to dye including T-shirts and jeans!
I should have brought my faded blue jeans… I went further inside the facility, and there it was, the space for the experience!
The director explained the dyeing process, and then we decided the kind of patterns we’d like to dye.
My handkerchief was wrapped up so that the pattern I chose could be dyed on the fabric.
It looked like this!
I put it in the indigo dye with my own hands!
After about 1 minute, the fabric is taken out, the shape adjusted, and then put back in the dye.
This is repeated until the color reaches your preferred depth. After that, the well-dyed handkerchief is washed with cool water.
And as you do this, the unneeded color mysteriously washes off leaving the indigo, which is one of the reasons it’s called kachiiro (‘winning color’); it remains the lone winner without being washed off.
To finish off, the fabrics are ironed!
The pattern (probably) sticks properly as it was meant to!
I did the indigo dye experience using a handkerchief, but for you dear readers, do take a look at the faded t-shirts and jeans sleeping at the back of your closet and bring them with you!
Clothes you’ve stopped using might be given a new lease of life!
Ai no Yakata
Location: 172 Maezunishi, Tokumei, Aizumi-cho, Itano district, Tokushima prefecture
Closed: Tuesdays (Open on national holidays) , New Year’s Holidays
Entrance fees: Adults JPY300, Middle & High School Students JPY200, Elementary School Students JPY150
Indigo Dye Experience
Own items: JPY15 per gram (for silk, JPY30 per gram)
Parking: Available (large buses okap)
HP: http://www.town.aizumi.tokushima.jp/ainoyakata/ (Japanese)
Setouchi Finder Photo-writer: Daisuke Chiba
Daisuke Chiba / Photo-writer I was born in 1985 in Miyoshi City, Tokushima Prefecture, and now live in Tokushima City. After graduating university, I worked at a publishing company as an editor for various mooks, and in April 2014 I went freelance. I work as a photographer, copy-writer and editor, but also do product development and other stuff as well. If anyone needs me, I can do anything! Except, in spite of my being from Tokushima, dancing - I’m really bad at dancing Awa Odori!
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