2019 Tokyo Quilt Festival

2019 tokyo quilt festival

By Patricia Belyea

TOKYO JP  I met up with Sachiko Yoshida when I first arrived at the Tokyo Quilt Festival. Sachiko, an honored sensei, has taught for 30 years in the Tokyo area. Behind us is Connections, Sachiko’s newest masterpiece.

Sachiko and I took a stroll around the Wa and Original Design competitions to see some of her students’ work. All her students’ quilts radiated with asymmetric designs, gorgeous old silk kimono fabrics, and precise hand stitching.

Wa Category

Wa refers to harmony in Japan. Everyone’s lives and interactions aspire to be tension-free and thoughtful of others. It’s a gracious form of selflessness.

Here are two winning quilts from the Wa competition:

Original Design

Many of the Original Design quilts this year were much freer than ever before in Tokyo. See for yourself.

Traditional Category

Once again, non-stop Wows in the Traditional Category. Check out a few of the most charming.

New Quilts by Japanese Artists

This invitational category includes the works of 52 leading contemporary quilt artists from Japan. Sachiko’s quilt was in this exhibit. Here are some of those outstanding quilts.

Noriko Nozawa Spring is in the Air

Fukuko Tanaka VIVA!! AFRICA II

Misako Imamura Congratulations!

Reiko Naganuma What Autumn Forest Tells Me

Noriko Hasegawa Listen!

Grand Prix Winners

This is a big deal every year. The winners are behind roped barricades and it's almost impossible to get a photo through the crowds.

Hand Making Award : Sachiko Takatani

Japan Quilt Grand Prix First Place: Hitomi Mishima

Japan Quilt Grand Prix Second Place: Kyoko Takeda

There is so much more to see yet if I add any more photos to this post, I’ll break your digital device!

To see the Special Exhibits at the 2019 Tokyo Quilt Festival +click here

To see close-up details of the quilts in the major exhibits at the 2019 Tokyo Quilt Festival +click here


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38 comments


  • Sima Katz
    The quilts are beyond fabulous. Count me in if you lead a tour to the festival in 2020.

  • Patricia Belyea
    Elizabeth—I hope you do venture to Tokyo to see the show. The Japanese quilters really dedicate themselves to their joy of quilting. The exhibits are wonderful to see. PB

  • Elizabeth cunningham
    Exquisite and inspirational quilts.Maybe I will get to visit one year soon.

  • Deanna Aday-Keller
    Stunning group of quilting eye candy

  • Patricia Belyea
    Janet—Yes, it is delightful to see the quilts each year. I am also getting to know a few of the sensei and their students, which makes it even more fascinating! PB

  • Patricia Belyea
    Nancy—Many quilts that show at Tokyo Quilt Festival are exhibited in the big shows in the US—especially at Houston and Paducah. PB

  • Patricia Belyea
    Patti—This year the Festival was delightful. I look forward to returning next January and reporting again. PB

  • Patricia Belyea
    Mrs. Plum—Yes. It is wonderful to see everything in real life. Another facet of the experience is the energy. On Opening Day, about 50,000 quilters visit the Festival. It’s like the vortex for quilting in the universe! PB

  • Patricia Belyea
    Aime—There is a high chance that I will be leading a tour to the Japan and the Tokyo Quilt Festival in 2020. I’ll put you on the Interested Folks list so you can hear about it when the details are secured. PB

  • Patricia Belyea
    Pm—Armchair travel is a beautiful thing. Real travel, with all its rewards, is expensive and often arduous. PB

  • Patricia Belyea
    Sherry—So true. Every quilt show in the US shows amazing long-arm stitching prowess. Long-arm machines are just not part of the quilt community here. PB

  • Patricia Belyea
    Shasta—Thanks for your enthusiastic interest! PB

  • Patricia Belyea
    Linda—Yes, for us visitors. I do wonder how exhausted the sensei and students much be to keep up this high level of wonderment each year. PB

  • Patricia Belyea
    Lynn—I may be leading a tour for the 2020 Tokyo Quilt Festival. I’ll put you on the list of Interested Folks and let you know in the coming month, if that is truly happening. PB

  • Patricia Belyea
    Martha—Wow, wow, and wow. I agree completely. PB

  • Patricia Belyea
    Terry—So glad you enjoyed the Festival. It is easy to amaze with quilts of such calibre. PB

  • Patricia Belyea
    Nancy—Many salaryman husbands work ridiculously long days. So the wives do have hours and hours to stitch. How wonderful that they found quilting! PB

  • Patricia Belyea
    NanRom—You’re welcome. I have been reporting on the Tokyo Quilt Festival for a few years and love to see what is here each time. PB

  • Patricia Belyea
    Darnney—You DO get around. So glad you could make it back to Tokyo for the Festival! PB

  • Patricia Belyea
    Michele—How fortunate for you to have lived in Japan. You are familiar with the spirit of the Japanese and their commitment to any endeavor. These masterpieces would not be possible without that high level of commitment. PB

  • Patricia Belyea
    Susan—My pleasure. PB

  • Susan Cherry
    mAGNIFICENT! THANK YOU FOR SHARING

  • NanRom
    Thank you for posting – much appreciated!

  • Michele Rook
    Thank you for posting the photos. Having lived in Japan, and my familiarity with Japanese artisans in all fields, they are truly dedicated to their craftsmanship in so many areas. Their attention to detail, colors, and yet the simplicity/complexity of the artistry is phenomal and I might add very enviable to endeavor such projects.

  • Darnney Proudfoot
    Just back from Tokyo Quilt Festival. Thank you for your amazing pictures. My camera did not work, although I tested it before I left. The grand prize winning quilt was beautiful, and the techniques were fascinating and inspiring. Hope to see you soon.

  • Nancy Hower
    What beautiful work, hours and hours of work. Thank you for sharing with us.

  • Terry Peart
    Thank you, that was fun and truly amazing.

  • Martha Wacker
    Wow! Thank you for being there and sharing these quilts with us. Each one deserves so much scrutiny. So much creativity!!

  • Lynn
    Thank you for posting such beautiful and inspirational photos. It would certainly be wonderful to be part of a tour or the quilt show and Japan with you as a guide !

  • Linda Moran
    what a joyous delight!

  • Sherry
    I am so glad to see that hand quilting is still strong in Japanese quilting! Here in the US we’ve become so dependent on long-arm machines that it is rare to see any hand quilted work. Thanks for sharing and I can’t wait to see your next installment!

  • Shasta Matova
    Wow these are incredible quilts! Thank you for sharing them. I look forward to seeing more!

  • Aime Augsburg
    I am blown away by those quilts. The talent and skill is beyond my wildest imaginations. Will you lead a tour next year? That would be amazing! Keep me informed!

  • Pm Weizenbaum
    Thank you so much for taking us to Tokyo with you! This is a marvelous experience, even from afar.

  • Mrs. Plum
    Thank you, thank you for sharing this mind-boggling creativity and workmanship! I can only imagine the visual impact of seeing them in real life. They are each so unique.

  • Patti Bach
    Thank you! Can’t wait for more!

  • Nancy
    Thank you SO much for the photos. I am in awe of these artists! How can we have these quilts tour the US? PLEASE!

  • Janet C. Wright
    WOW!!!! What a joy to see these quilts. I envy you—being able to see them all. The workmanship is incredible. Definitely the most creative in design that I have ever seen. How lucky you are to be able to be there.