On my recent trip to Japan I visited Kyoto for the first time.
I have always wanted to go there, and was not disappointed once I finally arrived.
We stayed at the Three Sister's Inn Annex which is a traditional Japanese Inn where you sleep on futon-like mats on the floor. Our toilet had a place above the tank where you could wash your hands in the water as it was filling the tank for the toilet. Efficiency! We could not have found a better place to stay and already we are wondering how soon we can stay there again. Highly recommend this Inn if you are in Kyoto and want to stay where the staff speaks good English.
There were many highlights in Kyoto that had nothing to do with quilting, but my favorite shop for fabric there was an easy choice:
What: Aizenkobo - traditional indigo dye workshop. For sale are fabrics, indigo dyed garments, threads, and household goods
Where: Nakasuji Omiya-nishi, Kamikyo-ku,
Kyoto 602-8449, Japan
Tel. 81(0) 785 441 0533
When: Open weekdays 10am - 5:30 pm, (please telephone first for Saturday and Sunday visits), note I did not try to visit on a weekend.
How to get there: We took a bus line from the Three Sister's Inn, and walked from the bus stop. They have a really nice map on their web site.
Shopping: I was after fabric by the yard, of course, to use in quilting projects.
A lot of the fabric they have is available for sale by the entire bolt only, for the purpose of making a kimono.
They will allow you to purchase yardage from a limited number of fabric bolts they have. Minimum cut is 50cm and fabric is not very wide (14" or so).
The fabrics are something you'll have to save up for since they are around $85 USD / yd. I got a couple of half yard pieces, because I could not resist their beauty.
I found their fabrics to be the highest quality indigo dyed fabrics that I have ever run into and cannot wait to do something special with them.
They also had some hand dyed indigo sashiko thread, so I picked up some of that. It was pretty affordable.
If you go there, it is slightly cheaper if you can pay in cash (Japanese Yen of course).
A couple of other posts out there have more about the owners, history of the shop and the indigo dye process itself. Read more here and here.
A photo of the inside of the shop below as well as a snapshot of the outside along with the beautiful owner who allowed us to photograph her and was a very helpful and warm shop owner/hostess.
When in Kyoto, add Aizenkobo to your short list of places to stop.