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A town of denim, Kojima

Today we visit Kojima in Kurashiki City where is famous as the birthplace of domestic denim

Kojima became a location for the production of textiles, making school uniforms and work wear in Meiji era.
In 1965, the first Japanese jeans were made there, and from then, Kojima has been known as ‘Denim Mecca’
http://www.city.kurashiki.okayama.jp/dd.aspx?menuid=9934


It takes about 20min by train from JR Okayama station to JR Kojima station
Popular tourist spots dot around, so I recommend you to rent a bike to look around
You can rent a bike at Tourist Information Office in JR Kojima station.


JR Kojinma Station Tourist Information Office
Address: 1-107 Kojimaekimae, Kurashiki City
Tel: 086-472-1289
Opening time: 9:00-17:30
Close: December 29-January 3
Price: a rental bicycle 300yen / a day


Or you can get on a ‘Kojima jeans bus’ which is a regular city bus that goes on a loop taking it to a number of denim related spots
It runs on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and holidays.
The tourist can buy a day pass for 500 yen or a one way ticket for 160yen.
www.city.kurashiki.okayama.jp/dd.aspx


At first, we visited a studio ‘Ai-nozoki’ where we can try Japanese indigo dyeing 'aizome'.
The studio is located near JR Kojima station, about 2min by bike.
IMG_0549.jpg 


A staff gave us a small lecture about aizome.
IMG_0539.jpg
I came across a beautiful aizome tapestry on the wall. The deep colour is really impressive

The dye used in aizome is produced from the indigo plant, known in Japanese as ‘ai’.
Fermented ai leaves are mixed with ash and water,  then, it can be used as a natural dye.


So, shall we try
There are two main techniques to create patterns: the tie-dyeing (Shibori-zome) and Itazime.


Shibori-zome
, a technique which tie up a fabric with strings can make various patterns.
Besides, it’s even possible to create different kind of patterns by putting small object (such as a ping-pong ball) in the fabric.
IMG_0544.jpg 


Whereas, Itazime is a way to create patterns with wooden plates.
The fabric is folded many times, put between two wooden plates and held in a vice before being dyed.
画像 685  IMG_0540.jpg 
The position of the plates decides the pattern.  


You can dye various cotton fabrics such as T-shirts, socks, scarfs, and hankies indigo blue.
...We chose a scarf (it costs1200yen)


We tried the tie-dyeing (Shibori-zome)
First, we put three balls in the scarf, and tied it.
画像 590  画像 598
 
画像 603 画像 606


Next, we decided shades of indigo.
To my surprise, there are 22 tones  The colour we chose is called ‘Tetsu (iron)’!
画像 612 


Finally, we moved to the next room to dye the scarf!
画像 613 

Can you see the natural dye ‘ai’ in the dye bath
There is a foam called ‘Ai no hana’ on the surface of the dye.
画像 614 画像 674


Wet the scarf with water, then put it in the dye bath
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Lift the dyed cloth out of the dye bath, squeezing off the water, it is left to oxidised with the oxygen in the air.

After that, rinse it in the water.
画像 624 画像 634
画像 645  画像 651
Repeat the process again and again.


Make sure that you need to check the colour after you rinsed the fabric.
Since the colour might be too dark than you expected
In our case, we soaked the scarf in the dye bath 3-4 times.

By the way… ai has an overpowering smell
maybe it’s because ai is fermented…
But we have to put up with it to dye our scarf beautifully


Ok We finished dyeing
Then remove strings and balls
画像 663 

And dry it with an iron.
画像 668 画像 670

We did it It’s nice, isn’t it
画像 677 

You can dye your own clothes (made of cotton) if you like.
In that case, the price depends on the weight of each items.
It costs 15 yen per 1g (1000yen for under 70g).


The fabric dyed with natural indigo can be washed in the washing machine, and  it won’t come out in the wash
Furthermore, it creates a colour that mellows and changes with age - something that's impossible using chemical dyes
 
I’m looking forward to seeing it


Hon Aizome Kobo ‘Ai-nozoki’
Address: 4-61 Kojimaekimae, Kurashiki City
Tel:086-473-3670
Opening time: 10:00-16:00
Close:Sundays
Price: admission free
           Japanese indigo dyeing (aizome) lesson  1200-7000yen / 60-90min
www.japanblue.co.jp/rampuya/



Then we headed for a shop ‘Momotaro jeans Ajino shop’ next.
It takes 15min by bike from the studio.

Apparently , this shop sells extremely rare jeans
I heard that only 30 pair of jeans are made a year.

Oh, a huge denim jacket and jeans are displayed on the wall
IMG_0555.jpg 
IMG_0564.jpg 

The special jeans is …made of hand woven denim
Here is a loom
画像 695 

There is a small studio in the shop so that visitors can see how it is made.
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Besides, the cotton is dyed by hand using natural plant dyes, a very lengthy process.
It has distinctive blue
画像 719 画像 696
 

The artisan waves the denim on a hand-loom rhythmically
画像 704
It looks easy, however, it needs a long time to complete it.
Normally, the artisan can weave only 70-80cm a day.
It’s very difficult and time-consuming


This is the jeans made by hand woven denim
画像 716
It’s soft, flexible and also very durable It’s totally different from other denim


Those aizome on the wall are made by the president of Momotaro jeans.画像 720 画像 721
 

The original jeans of this shop have a special patch with ‘Momotaro’, a legendary hero of Okayama
The most striking aspect of the jeans is a pocket with white lines which reminds us 'nobori' (a flag which was used in the war).
画像 740  画像 746
It’s really unique


You can also order an optional print on the back pocket (2100yen).
画像 733 
桃太郎_print1 桃太郎_print2 桃太郎print_3 
                                                                                                                                      ©Momotaro Jeans

I bought some goods made by denim I’ll show you some of them
Here’ s denim coasters (left) and mouse pads (right).
IMG_0567.jpg IMG_0568.jpg
They are suitable for a gift


I was really impressed with jeans using historical techniques and machines that require artisanal skill.
It’s worth visiting here to see them


Momotaro jeans Ajino shop
Address: 1-12-17 Ajino, Kojima, Kurashiki City
Tel:086-472-1301
Opening time: 10:00-19:00
Close: at the end of the yaer and new year holidays
www.japanblue.co.jp/momotaro/


We’ll visit Jeans Museum next timeSee you soon



A: JR Kojinma Station Tourist Information Office  B: Hon Aizome Kobo ‘Ai-nozoki’
C: Momotaro Jeans Ajino shop



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上記広告は1ヶ月以上更新のないブログに表示されています。新しい記事を書くことで広告を消せます。