Junihitoe (special kimono) experience around Tokyo

Last week, I experienced wearing special kimonos. One is called junihitoe (十二単), multi-layered kimono for court ladies – this is still worn by imperial families on special occasions like their wedding ceremonies. Another one is Kariginu (狩衣), informal clothes worn by nobles when they went hunting in the old time.

Unlike normal kimonos, it is not really easy to have an opportunity to wear these clothes. This time, I had the luck to know a lady who mastered “emon-do (衣紋道)”, special dressing skills and manners to help someone wear this kimono, and she kindly invited me to experience this.

Not only just wearing these kimonos, I could learn how the nobles in the old  time behaved. For example, court ladies in junihitoe could not show their faces, ears and hands in front of people. They used a big fan to cover the face.

Men could show their faces, but instead they had to cover their heads with special hats. It is said that they did not even take them off in their bed rooms.

She is hoping to introduce this experience to visitors from abroad too. If you are interested, please contact me. Then I can tell you more details (dates, venue, how to apply, etc.).

Or if you understand Japanese language, you can also check the website of Saitama Prefectural Museum of History and Folklore as well, where her group is providing this experience several times a year.

I’m sure it will be a very special experience for you!

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Come and Witness the Coolest Bonsai in Omiya!

Do you know BONSAI ?

Come and Witness the Coolest Bonsai in Omiya!Japanese juniper bonsai named “Juun” in the Omiya Bonsai Art Museum

Bonsai – which literally means “plant in a tray” – is a form of art using trees grown in containers. Since these trees are alive, bonsai is frequently called “living art” or “art of microcosm”. Bonsai artists are required to have botanical knowledge as well as artistic sense. Now this unique art is widely known and there are lots of great artists all over the world. In Japan, it was once considered as “a hobby for grandpas” with plenty of time and money, but now is being reevaluated and getting attention from the younger generations as one of the coolest arts.

The neighborhood called “Bonsai Village” in Omiya, is a must see for not only bonsai lovers but also those who are interested in Japanese culture. It takes less than an hour from Tokyo station by train to get there. “Bonsai Village” is not a name of any touristic facility but the area with over 90 years of history, where top-notch bonsai nurseries exist. A group of professional bonsai gardeners from Tokyo immigrated here after the Great Kanto Earthquake in 1923, in search of the ideal land for making bonsai. Here, you can visit these bonsai nurseries as well as the Omiya Bonsai Art Museum which was established in 2010 to introduce the history and culture of bonsai with a collection of the most authentic and precious bonsai pieces that you can’t find anywhere else.

Come and Witness the Coolest Bonsai in Omiya! “Seikouen”, a bonsai nurseries in Bonsai Village
You may wonder how these bonsai are different from others. – Well, most of the bonsai trees here are more than 100 years old. Some of them are over 500 years old. And the significant piece is considered to be more than 1,000 years old! (Note: It depends on the season and conditions which trees are displayed.) Isn’t it exciting you can witness the trees that someone started growing such a long time ago?

The world of bonsai is profound, but at the same time, it’s for everyone. Actually, here in Omiya, the elementary school students in this area grow bonsai of their own. All you need to know is some basic manners and tips to enjoy bonsai. It’s also fun to buy a small ceramic plant from some of the nurseries, bring it back to your country and start making a small bonsai of your own using local plants in your backyard.

Art, nature, history, interior, philosophy, zen… if you are interested in any of these keywords, you will like bonsai! To see is to believe. Why don’t you come over to Bonsai village? Check out my Hikawa Shrine & Omiya Bonsai Village Tour now!


*This post is also uploaded on TripleLights Blog.