dyeing the hands
the cold night
Yamamoto Roketsu Dyeing Studio
Roketsu is one of Kyoto’s traditional textile dyeing methods which is also known as wax-resist dyeing. Wax is applied on a cotton fabric to leave a design and when the fabric is dyed in the indigo, the area applied with wax blocks the dye and leaves white. The roketsu dyeing needs over 20 steps before completion, if using the traditional method.
Yamamoto Roketsu Dyeing Studio is the only place in Japan where visitors can experience the entire roketsu dyeing process. The friendly and kind owner who is a craftsman of roketsu dyeing for kimono textiles for over 50 years will provide you with instruction.
Hundreds of roketsu-dyed textiles are hung all around the studio. Young and old, Japanese or foreigners, an educational excursion for students or just a bit of fun for a day, trying traditional Japanese crafts with your own hands will add another unforgettable memory to your stay.
At Yamamoto Roketsu Dyeing Studio, people can choose a textile from different sizes (see below) to create a handkerchief, bandanna, T-shirt, or noren (Japanese curtain). Then, select a design from the hundreds of different stencils, from traditional Japanese scenes, to the latest anime characters, or creating their own designs is also OK.
How to dye a textile with roketsu is not difficult: First, draw a rough sketch of design on the cotton, then slowly trace the outline of the sketch with a brush that has been dipped in the hot wax. The next part of the process is the dyeing; the fabric with the design is dyed in a vat of indigo solution – crumpling the material gently while moving it through the dye to crack the wax. The fabric will emerge from the dye-vat almost black, and go into boiling water to remove the wax. Finally, the material is washed in water, and when it is dried and ironed, the design magically comes to life.
Tel: 075-313-1871; Open: 10:00-18:00; Closed: Wed.; Access: Kyoto City Bus #73, get off at Nishikyogoku and walk about 5 min., or take a taxi from Kyoto Stn. (about 15 min.); The studio is in a residential area (south of Takatsuji, west of Tenjingawa River)