Artisans of Tokyo: Chusen Dyeing

artisans of tokyo

By Patricia Belyea

TOKYO JP  An advertisement in a subway car alerted me to the Tokyo Traditional Crafts Fair at Takashimaya adjacent to Shinjuku station. Only two stops from my hotel, it was easy for me to scurry over to the department store to see the Fair.

Not waiting to find an elevator, I took the escalator up eleven floors. As I hopped off the moving stairs, I could see the Fair ahead. Many of the 46 artisans were working on projects in their booths.

As soon as I took an interest in a craft, a welcoming English interpreter was at my side. With the help of my newfound friend, I was able to ask questions and gain more insights into everything around me.

Here’s a sampling of some of the booths with the artisans (or representatives) and their wares:

There are also Handicraft Workshops offered daily. Sanae Naito taught Chusen Dyeing on Friday, the day before I arrived. Today (Tuesday) there are two workshops: Rattan Basket Weaving and Fabric Picture Framing. Plus 30-minute tours of the venue at 1pm and 4pm each afternoon—with English and Chinese interpreters.

Gathering so many Tokyo craftspeople in one place and supplying interpreters for face-to-face conversations thrilled me. Then adding the special price of FREE made the Fair a phenomenal gift for me who’s so interested in traditional Japanese arts.

The Fair runs through to tomorrow night, the eve of the Tokyo Quilt Festival. Are you are in town early for the Festival? You might want to squeeze this into your schedule of sights to see!

Billed as the 62nd Fair, this is an annual event. If you miss the Fair this year, I expect you’ll be able to discover it next January at Takashimaya Shinjuku Store.

62nd Tokyo Traditional Crafts Fair
Takashimaya Shinjuku Store 11 Floor, 5-24-2, Sendagaya, Shibuya-ku

January 18-23, 2019
10am to 8pm 
The Fair closes at 6:30pm on the last day.

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  • Patricia Belyea
    Vera—Japan and the Tokyo Quilt Festival rank high in many quilters’ Bucket List. I hope to lead a tour in January 2020 and I’ll put you on the Interested Folks list so you can learn about it. PB

  • Patricia Belyea
    Lolly—This artisan show was so ready for us English-speaking guests with the interpreters and tour guides. Hopefully you will be back to enjoy this another January. PB

  • Patricia Belyea
    Linda—It is one of my goals to encourage others to discover the wonderful textile treasure and the Tokyo Quilt Festival in Japan. So glad you made it last year! PB

  • Vera P Nunnally

    I so enjoyed your photos of this show. It’s on my bucket list.

  • tpmgmd50
    Missed this by a few hours. Saw the sign advertising it at Haneda Airport. The Museum of Traditional Crafts in Kyoto was wonderful and another great way to appreciate Japanese traditional crafts. So glad you were able to enjoy this.

  • Linda Steiner
    One artist appreciates another. What luck that you were there in time to enjoy it!! After reading your blog I decided to attend the Tokyo Quilt Festival last year. I totally enjoyed it and hope to do it again someday!! Thanks for the encouragement to do it.

  • Patricia Belyea
    Thanks, Janet! I am truly blessed. PB

  • Patricia Belyea
    Donna—Complete serendipity! So sorry you can’t join me here. PB

  • Janet Wright
    What a fantastic opportunity. I envy you being able to take advantage of this and also the Quilt Show. Have fun, dear friend. See you in May!

  • Donna
    What a thrilling and serendipitous find. If only my teletransporter were working!