shibori day!

shibori day!

By Patricia Belyea

ARIMATSU JP  Visiting Arimatsu, the mothertown of shibori, ranks high on the Bucket List of most textile lovers. You take the train for a short half-hour ride out of Nagoya, get off at Arimatsu station, and turn up the street with the traditional buildings. Shibori-style noren in almost every doorway signal that you’ve arrived!

Over four centuries ago, shibori tie-dyeing began in Arimatsu. Natural fibers were bound with thousands of micro knots using fine threads, and dyed with natural indigo. Historically only artisans in Arimatsu were allowed to make and sell shibori fabrics. This encouraged the craft to grow into a vital local industry.

At the heart of the old district sits the Arimatsu Narumi Tie-Dyeing Museum. For only 300¥ ($3 USD), you can ascend to the second floor of the Museum to see shibori experts nimbly knotting fabric. In the room next door, you can view examples of tie-dyeing patterns and products made with shibori fabrics. If you are fortunate, the ticket taker will change the informational video to the English version for you to watch.

On the ground floor of the Museum, you’ll find a large gift shop and a Russian-Japanese cafe that serves lunch and coffee service. Up and down the main street, you can discover more shops with stunning examples of shibori work and cafes with a wide range of fares.


Victoria and I managed to squeeze one more memorable activity into our Shibori Day. The fashionable Mocha Cat Cafe in Nagoya gave us access to 20 felines of different breeds and personalities. Once we secured our purses and shoes in lockers, we entered the enormous space filled with elegant cat perches, carpeted platforms, and raised raceways.

With a charge of 300¥ ($3 USD) for every ten minutes in the cafe and a mandatory drink fee of 350¥ ($3.50 USD), a short peek was planned. To our surprise, we stayed a whole hour—enjoying every moment of cat contact. (At 6pm, dinner bowls arrived. Then we just couldn’t leave as it was a compelling feeding frenzy to watch!)


You may also like

soaring stitches: blog book
soaring stitches: blog book
By Patricia Belyea WAUCONDA WA  Over a year and a half ago, I started writing a book about creativity for quilters. M...
Read More
colorful philippa naylor
colorful philippa naylor
By Patricia Belyea WAUCONDA WA  I was completely taken by Bird By Bird at the 2014 Festival of Quilts in Birmingham ...
Read More
summer fun: koinobori
summer fun: koinobori
By Patricia Belyea WAUCONDA WA Koinobori decorate the landscape of Japan from April to early May, culminating in the ...
Read More
my one-yard challenge
my one-yard challenge
By Patricia Belyea WAUCONDA WA  I challenged myself to make a baby quilt using just one yard of yukata cotton and sti...
Read More
four garden quilts
four garden quilts
By Patricia Belyea WAUCONDA WA  On April 13, Jane Sassaman wrote this Instagram post: I have put together a few texti...
Read More
joe cunningham: quiltmaking as a way to be free
joe cunningham: quiltmaking as a way to be free
By Joe Cunningham SAN FRANCISCO  When I started making quilts 40 years ago I learned that there were certain tech...
Read More


Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published


6 comments


  • Patricia Belyea
    Virginia—Arimatsu is a special place and definitely one you should visit. It is the vortex of all things shibori! PB

  • Virginia Koster
    What a wonderful experience! I have been studying Shibori techniques for 17 years and would love to visit Arimatsu.

  • Patricia Belyea
    Janet—So glad you can follow along. Traveling with Victoria, of course she found a cat cafe! PB

  • Patricia Belyea
    Janet—We are blessed to have a 14-day itinerary. Next up is Kyoto! PB

  • Janet Larson
    Wonderful day! Thank you for sharing. I hope to do a trip like yours… my spirit is with you.☘

  • Janet Wright
    We didn’t get to Arimitsu—but I really wished we had. What a special treat—a "cat"cafe. I envy you.

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published