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Shibuya Museum Holds Historical Kimono Exhibition & Free Live Demo Workshops

Shibuya museum holds kimono exhibition

To celebrate its 80th birthday, the Kyoto Dyeing and Weaving Cultural Association will be holding a special kimono exhibition at the Shibuya-based Bunka Gakuen Costume Museum from 15th July to 28th September.

Take this chance to learn about the history of the kimono through the beautiful displays. The museum will host free workshops where you can try out different traditional fabric dyeing techniques.

Exhibition of women’s clothing from Kofun to Showa period

shibuya museum kimono - woman in purple kimono
Image credit: Andre Benz

Kimono is Japan’s traditional dress. In particular, women’s kimonos are beautiful one-pieces that often feature floral patterns and are tied together with an obi belt.

Over the centuries, the traditional clothing has gone through several style changes. Through carefully curated displays, the upcoming kimono exhibition will document its evolution, starting from ~1,500 years ago.

shibuya museum kimono - museum kimono collection
Image adapted from: 公益社団法人京都染織文化協会 and 公益社団法人京都染織文化協会

The exhibition spans 2 floors. On the 1st storey, you’d find Bunka Gakuen Costume Museum’s collection of notable kimonos from the Edo Period (1603-1867) to the early Showa Period, which started in 1926. The exhibition will allow visitors to appreciate the intricacy of Kyoto’s weaving practices up close.

shibuya museum kimono - recreated old kimono
Image adapted from: 公益社団法人京都染織文化協会, 公益社団法人京都染織文化協会, 公益社団法人京都染織文化協会, and 公益社団法人京都染織文化協会

The 2nd floor showcases kimono styles from the Kofun Period, which spans from 250 AD to 538 AD, to the early Meiji Period, which started in 1868. While the kimonos displayed are modern recreations, they still provide a faithful representation of how the traditional dress looked like back then.

Live demonstrations and seminar

There will be various workshops held over the course of the exhibition. These workshops will educate participants on the different traditional dyeing techniques, and allow them to try out said techniques for themselves.

Image credit: 辻が花染め工房

One such demonstration is the Tsujigahana workshop, which will be held on 31st July 2021 and 28th August 2021. “Tsujigahana” is a special fabric dyeing method that was invented during the Muromachi Period (1336 -1573). By participating in the workshop, participants can experience using the tsujigahana method to create a photo frame.

These workshops are free. However, you’ll need to pay the museum entrance fee, as well as register online beforehand. Check out the list of workshops here and book your slots here.

old photo obi belt
Image credit: Wikimedia Commons

On 31st July 2021, the association will also be inviting university lecturers to share more about the Dyeing and Weaving Festival, which was a historical event held in Kyoto. You can also learn more about Japanese clothing culture in the olden days through the talk.

The seminar will be held online through Zoom. The organisers will be releasing the link for the talk in mid-July. There will be a capacity of 300 attendees for this event.

Getting to the Shibuya museum kimono exhibition

Japan’s traditional dress is more than pretty clothing. Rather, the clothing is reflective of Japan’s history as a whole. You can learn more about them by heading down to the Bunka Gakuen Costume Museum this summer.

Address: 3 Chome-22 Yoyogi, Shibuya City, 151-0053 Tokyo
Opening hours: Mon – Sat 10AM-4.30PM (Closed on Sundays, public holidays & from 7th-17th Aug)
Admission: Entry tickets cost ¥500 (~USD4.52) for the general public, ¥300 (~USD2.71) for university and high school students, and ¥200 (~USD1.81) for middle and elementary school students.

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Cover image adapted from: 公益社団法人京都染織文化協会, 公益社団法人京都染織文化協会 and 公益社団法人京都染織文化協会