Artisans of Tokyo: Chusen Dyeing

artisans of tokyo

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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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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.