tourism

Dive Deep into Kurume Kasuri: A Program for Textile Lovers

A Behind the Scenes Look at Kurume Kasuri
Tie, Dye, and Weave in One Day (7hrs)

Under the careful instruction of a craftsperson, even beginner weavers can create Kurume Kasuri
Make kasuri yarn from scratch
Transferring the design onto threads
Using indigo to dye hand-tied yarn
Untying the yarn one section at a time

Kurume Kasuri has been woven for over 200 years in the southern part of Fukuoka Prefecture. Ikeda Kasuri Kobo of Chikugo City is one of the few weavers left that continue to use traditional indigo-dyed hand-woven methods to produce this craft. This unique program condenses the three months it usually takes to complete the 30 steps required to make Kurume Kasuri all into one day. Experience main processes such as tying, indigo dyeing, and untying to create the kasuri pattern, and weave a pattern coaster using the yarn you have prepared yourself. This program is a great learning experience for those who love textiles and want to learn more about the principles behind Kurume Kasuri.

  • Weave a Kurume Kasuri pattern in one day
  • Experience the traditional techniques of tying, dyeing, and hand-weaving
  • Learn Kurume Kasuri craftmaking directly from the weaver
  • Take home a kasuri coaster made with the yarn you’ve prepared
  • Browse and shop at the Ikeda Kasuri Kobo gallery store
Daigo IkedaFourth Generation Owner, Ikeda Kasuri Kobo
Fourth generation owner of a weaving workshop that has been making indigo-dyed, hand-woven Kurume Kasuri in Chikugo City, Fukuoka Prefecture for over 100 years. After graduating from university, Ikeda worked as a salesman at the mentaiko pollack roe manufacturer Yamaya, before switching jobs and working at a towel manufacturer where he was involved in product development, quality control, and factory management. In order to pass on the craft of Kurume Kasuri onto the next generation, Ikeda also takes on various initiatives not bound by tradition, such as updating the workshop’s production systems and sales mechanisms.
Destination Info

One of the Three Kasuri Traditions of Japan: Kurume Kasuri

Kasuri is a weaving technique where pre-dyed yarn is used to create patterns in the warp or weft threads, or both. This technique, also known as ikat, is said to have originated in India and spread throughout the world, coming to Japan through Okinawa. Kurume Kasuri was invented around the year 1800 by a young girl named Den Inoue, a weaver from the former Kurume feudal domain (what is now an area in southern Fukuoka Prefecture that contains towns such as Hirokawa, Chikugo, and Yame). Though there used to be over 300 Kurume Kasuri weavers, today less than 20 remain. These makers employ a wide range of techniques, from traditional hand weaving and indigo dyeing, to production that uses power shuttle looms — this diversity in production a defining characteristic of the modern Kurume Kasuri craft.

Kurume Kasuri is woven by hand at Ikeda Kasuri Kobo

Carrying on Tradition, Adapting to the Times

Even amongst the small number of Kurume Kasuri weavers operating today, Ikeda Kasuri Kobo has been carrying on the tradition of indigo-dyed, hand-woven kasuri for over 100 years. The workshop possesses a high level of technical prowess, with some members being highly skilled craftspeople who’ve met the strict requirements needed to create Kurume Kasuri important intangible cultural properties. At the same time, the workshop has also made efforts to pass on tradition in new ways, such as opening a gallery shop in 2017 and renovating its premises to include an open, glass-walled workshop so that visitors can also learn about Kurume Kasuri production.

Ikeda dyes kasuri yarn with natural tade indigo
Program Contents

A Three-Month Process Condensed into One Day

In this program, complete the Kurume Kasuri production process, which usually takes about three months, all in one day. First transfer a design from paper onto yarn, and then hand-tie the thread in areas where the pattern will be made. After dyeing the yarn in indigo and thoroughly drying it, untie the parts that were wrapped before. After a lunch break, separate the kasuri threads and prepare them for weaving. Using a tabletop loom for this hands-on experience, thread weft yarn with the kasuri yarn to create a coaster. If all goes well, the pattern on the completed coaster will match the initial paper design.
※Please note that as the production process has been shortened for this experience, the weaving width, thread thickness, and degree of completion of the final textile will differ from that of usual Kurume Kasuri.

Weave a coaster using the yarn you dyed yourself

Rare Insights into Kasuri Making

Creating Kurume Kasuri is an extremely time-consuming process that usually requires 30 different steps. In this program, experience each part of the Kurume Kasuri production process from start to finish, including the classic indigo dyeing and weaving processes, but also rarer ones such as tying and untying kasuri yarn. Try your hand at all the major processes that go into making Kurume Kasuri, and learn the principles and structures that underlie textiles’ patterns. Through this hands-on one-day experience, you’ll be able to understand why it usually takes three months to fully weave Kurume Kasuri.

Tye the thread in areas that will become the pattern
Tour Code GFCK03
Dates Designated Dates 9:30~
※The tour will not be held on dates marked with (-) on the reservation form.
Duration 7 hours
Schedule
9:30

Gather at Ikeda Kasuri Kobo, introduction

9:45

Make and tie kasuri yarn

11:00

Indigo dyeing and untying

13:00

Lunch

※Lunch is not included in the tour price. Please bring your own lunch, or we will recommend nearby lunch spots.

14:30

Yarn splitting and weaving preparation

15:00

Coaster weaving experience

16:00

Textile finishing, shopping, workshop tour, and photos

Languages JapaneseSupplementary explanations in English via translation device or lecture board can be provided upon request. Please make a note in the message box during registration to request this service.※An English interpreter can also be arranged for an additional fee. Please contact UNA Laboratories for more details.
Participants Minimum 4 / Maximum 6
※For groups of more than 6, please contact UNA Laboratories.
Meeting Place
Ikeda Kasuri Kobo Gallery
1840 Hisadomi, Chikugo-shi, Fukuoka Prefecture
※For those coming by car, please park in the Ikedo Kasuri Kobo parking lot next to the studio, designated by a sign.
※Please note that the gallery and workshop are located across the street from each other, and that the meeting place is the gallery (brown building).
Reservation Deadline 7 days before the start of the tour
Payment Method Advance payment at the time of reservation (VISA, Mastercard, Amex, JCB)
Attire Dyes will be used in this program, so please wear clothes that you wouldn’t mind getting dirty.
Tour Conductor None
Note about Tour Conductors There will be no tour conductor from UNA Laboratories accompanying this program. Customers are responsible for managing their own itineraries.
Please Note
  • The tour will be held even in the event of rain, barring inclement weather such as heavy rain or a typhoon.
  • All photos displayed on the website are for illustrative purposes only. As the workshop is not a tourist attraction, please note that the degree to which guests may enter the workshop may differ from day to day.
  • Guests who are under elementary school age may attend the tour accompanied by a parent or guardian. However, UNA Laboratories and Ikeda Kasuri Kobo shall not assume any responsibility for accidents/injuries that occur in the parking lot and/or during the tour. Especially during the workshop visit, please keep an eye on younger guests as to not touch the equipment.
  • We advise taking out domestic travel insurance when participating in this tour.
  • This tour may be cancelled in the event that its smooth implementation becomes difficult due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In the event of cancellation, the tour fee will be fully refunded.
Cancellation Policy 20 to 8 days before the day preceding the tour start date: 20% of the tour fee
7 to 2 days before the day preceding the tour start date: 30% of the tour fee
Day preceding the tour start date: 40% of the tour fee
Before departure on the tour start date: 50% of the tour fee
After the start of tour or no-show: 100% of the tour fee

UNA Laboratories COVID-19 Policy

UNA Laboratories is committed to ensuring the safety of our customers, staff, and community. In accordance with municipal, national, and industry guidelines for the prevention of infectious diseases, UNA Laboratories is implementing the following measures:

  1. 1. Guides will wear a face shield during tours.
  2. 2. Guests are requested to wear a mask.
  3. 3. Hand-sanitizing alcohol will be provided.
  4. 4. We will check your temperature and general physical condition at the start of the tour. UNA Laboratories reserves the right to refuse tour participation if a customer’s temperature is over 37 degrees Celsius.
  5. 5. We strive to maintain adequate social distance throughout the tour, so the maximum number of participants will be capped at six.

Travel Planning: Implementation

  • UNA Laboratories Inc. (Fukuoka Prefectural Governor Registration #2-951)
  • 3-12-22-302 Yakuin, Chuo-ku, Fukuoka-shi, Fukuoka Prefecture 810-0022
  • TEL: 092-982-7956E-MAIL: tour@unalabs.jp
  • Domestic Certified Travel Supervisors:
    Aya Tamura, Noriko Yahata, Rei Watanabe
  • Business Hours:
    9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday (Closed Saturdays, Sundays, and Holidays)
  • *Requests received outside of business hours will be processed the following business day.
  • *Domestic Certified Travel Supervisors are responsible for transactions held at the sales office that processes customers’ travel. Please do not hesitate to contact the aforementioned Domestic Certified Travel Supervisors with any questions or concerns regarding the travel contract.

Tour Information

Dates
Designated Dates 9:30~
※The tour will not be held on dates marked with (-) on the reservation form.
※This program is scheduled to begin Spring 2021. If you would like to be notified when registration opens, please fill out the form below.
Duration
7 hours
Recommended Age
10+
Price
24,000 yen (tax and material fee included)
※Guests under 12 can accompany a parent or guardian on the studio visit (without textile making) for free.