By Patricia Belyea
KYOTO JP Most sightseers visit the Gion at night to catch a glimpse of geiko (geisha in Kyoto) scurrying to teahouses. This evening, four textile lovers and I headed there to visit two special shops.
Both shops, each over 100 years old, sell textiles that date from the Edo period to the beginning of the Showa period.
Our first stop was Nakamura Chingireten.
The Nakamura family sources antique textiles from all across Japan. The selection included old sake bags, silk and cotton fragments, boro, and much more. Just one room in size, the shop was brimming with treasures.
We spied Konjaku Nishimura almost exactly across the street.
Here owner Gai Nishimura greeted us as we perused three rooms overflowing with remarkable dyed textiles. Not only were there kimono and obi, but silk fragments, furoshiki, costumes, and more.
When you get the opportunity to visit Kyoto, don't be shy. Duck under the noren (curtains above the doorways) and immerse yourself in outstanding old Japanese textiles.
And if one piece steals your heart, be sure to take it home. Your support of these diligent merchants keeps their doors open for more textile lovers to come and appreciate their gorgeous goods.
TO GET THERE
Both shops are located in the Antiques District of Kyoto, just north of the Gion on Nawate-dori (one block west of Kamo River).
Nakamura Chingireten 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily
Konjaku Nishimura 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. daily, except Sunday
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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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