By Patricia Belyea
KYOTO JP I often exaggerate and say there’s a temple around every corner in Kyoto. That’s not true but it certainly seems so with over 1600 temples in the ancient capital.
Some temples sprawl, like Mibu-dera — with its expansive grounds, conical stupa, sub temples, playhouse, retirement tower, childcare center, cemetery, dragon fountain, and garden full of stone jizō.
Small neighborhood temples possess a special charm. At Saiho-ji, its golden Buddha and lotus blossoms on the altar radiate calm and beauty. Elegant flower motifs, colored by Kyoto’s traditional yuzen-dyeing technique, decorate the ceiling.
Seven Buddhist temples stand between storefronts in the downtown shopping arcades. Yatadera Temple, with its red lanterns, golden cow, jizō, and tiny graveyard, offers a convenient place to worship in the hubbub of the city.
A little harder to find are the city’s two fabric stores!
SOU SOU Original Fabrics
Shinkyogoku Shopping Arcade
The founder of Sou Sou, Katsuji Wakisaka, worked for Marimekko as its first Japanese designer. Influenced by his time in Finland, Wakisaka fused bold patterns with the culture of Japan when he returned home.
Different from other stores, Sou Sou only sells its own fabrics—vibrant, fun, and woven from Ise-Momen cotton—in a variety of weights and widths
Location 1: Shijo Dori, between Fuyocho Dori and Gokomachi Dori
Location 2: Teramachi Shopping Arcade
Within a quick walk from one another, both locations of Nomura Tailor are quintessential fabric shops.
The mother shop on Shijo Dori bursts with three floors of fabrics and notions. Not all of the fabrics are Japanese—pristine Liberty of London floral cottons, classic Scottish tartans, and more imports share the shop space.
The smaller outpost of Nomura Tailor, smack dab in the middle of a tourist shopping arcade, features colorful quilting cottons, fat quarters, yarns, craft supplies, and notions—the ultimate grab-n-go inventory.
Kyoto is definitely the religious center in Japan. But it has just enough gorgeous fabrics to supply the needs of the most devote quilter.
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ABOUT US: Okan Arts, a petite family business, is co-owned by mother-daughter duo Patricia Belyea and Victoria Stone. Patricia and Victoria sell Japanese textiles online, host creative quilting experiences, and lead quilting & textile tours to Japan.
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