Try Dyeing Items With Traditional Japanese Emblems!
Located near Kyoto’s business district of Karasuma Oike, BANBA SENKOGYO CO., Ltd. offers a Kamon (Family Emblem) Workshop to dye traditional Japanese emblems onto towels, accessory cases, bags and other items. Kamon were emblems used mainly during the Heian Period (794-1185) on Kimono and other items to represent names and peoples social status. A unique aspect of this workshop is the ability to dye items with Kamon designs actually used by Sengoku Period generals like Oda Nobunaga and Toyotomi Hideyoshi. All the items that the emblems go on to are dyed black with a dyeing technique called Kyo-kurozome, which originated in Kyoto. Black is a traditional Japanese color and the Japanese have long depicted the beauty of the color on mediums such as India-ink paintings and lacquer ware. Approximately 5,000 emblems are available. Of particular interest are the set of flower emblems that represent all 366 birthdays in existence. Try dyeing something with your own birthday flower emblem to mark your item with your birthday in the place of your name. Weekday visits do not require a reservation, and, if you select your item quickly, you can finish within 10 minutes.
Many Emblem Samples are on Display in the Workshop
These are the flower emblems representing all 366 birthdays. Choose the flower emblem for your birthday or dye an item with a custom emblem. Emblems can be made with 16 different dye colors. Each flower emblem has a meaning in the language of flowers, and only participants that dye their own emblems will receive a special paper with their birthday flower’s meaning. The papers are all in Japanese, but don’t worry, the owner will tell you what they mean in simple English. There are also samples of Kamon from Sengoku generals displayed on the wall. Don’t forget to check them out too!
The dyed-black items are located in the dye works area in the back of the workshop. The emblems go onto these items, which come in the form of coasters, tote bags, T-shirts, etc. New items are added occasionally, so depending on the day you visit, you might find something new and unexpected! Kyo-kurozome is characterized by the variety of its colors—light black, dark black and even a black that is almost green. Just looking at the items is a delight! Visitors can purchase items without participating in the workshop as well.
Once you’ve chosen an emblem, a dye color and your personal item, it’s time for the workshop to begin. First, the owner or a staff member will give a dyeing demonstration. Carefully watch what their hands do. Emblem pattern paper is placed on the item, and a special tool with dye in it is slowly pulled forward, dyeing the cloth. Be sure to keep your hand moving—stopping can cause the emblem to blur.
An original bag with your birthday emblem
This time, I chose a tote bag and dyed it with my birthday flower. If you want to add additional emblems, each additional on is ¥500. How about dyeing the birthday flower emblems of your family members too? It’ll make for a great memory. Take your finished item home in a bag with a logo of the company’s original character, Kansha-kun.
Manner & Tips
- Manner & Tips -
After the workshop, there may be dye left in the special tool used in the dyeing process. Be sure to avoid wasting the dye by returning it to its container.
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Kamon Workshop：BANBA SENKOGYO CO., Ltd. / 馬場染工業株式会社
|Address||75, Ryusuicho, Nakagyo-ku Kyoto-shi, Kyoto, 604-8242|
|Directions||8-minute walk from Subway Karasuma Line Karasuma Oike Stn.|
|Open Hours||9am - 5pm|
|Reservations||Accepted ・Reservations are generally required, but not having a reservation on weekdays is OK.|
|Closed||Saturday, Sunday and national holidays (Open with advanced reservation for parties of two or more.)|
Depending on the items & duration Item and workshop fees are separate. ・Workshop fee: ¥500 per hour (After reaching 30 minutes, ¥500) ・Cost per emblem: ¥500 ・Item fee: Depending on the items.
|Credit cards||VISA, MASTER / Accepted|
The owner and staff will generally teach the dyeing method in English. The careful demonstration given beforehand makes it easy for anyone to go through the dyeing process.
|Lanuages spoken||Japanese, simple English|
|Other||You can also dye emblems fashioned after an original logo or illustration if you bring the image base (a drawing in black ink on white paper). You will be charged an additional pattern paper fee.|