Kimono has very complicated rules and it is a major task to coordinate all the pieces properly when you wear the complete outfit! The core of the basics of Kimono is known to be, “a dyed Kimono goes with a woven Obi (the thick waist band), a woven Kimono goes with a dyed Obi.” The former is for formal wear and the latter is for casual wear.
A woven Obi is called Nishijin-ori (Nishijin weaving), while a dyed Kimono is called a Kyoto-yuzen, originating in Kyoto. Nishijin-ori is the most sophisticated and lavish Obi you will find in Japan. Nishijin-ori‘s origins are with the Yasushi family, who immigrated to Kyoto from China around the 5th to 6th century and introduced how to make silk textiles to the local people. By the 8th century, the royal court had created an official branch to supervise the textile artists and their production. In other words, this was a government owned and operated industry. These artisans used to live together around Chouza machi, Kamigyo ku, Kyoto, which became a textile Mecca. Between 1467 and 1477, Kyoto suffered a long period of civil war between the East and the West, and many artisans fled Kyoto. As a result, the whole industry was almost extinguished. However, after the war, the artisans returned to Kyoto and revived the textile industry in the area of Imagawa, Omiya, which used to be the fort for the West. Nishijin’s literal translation is the West fort. Since then, the name has been used for the method of weaving to create designs and patterns using dyed threads in Kyoto.
The Obi is the most famous product of Nishijin-ori. Its threads come in many colors, including gold, and it is glamorously thick and rich, not to mention quite heavy as well. Nishijin Obi are rather expensive items, but one is enough to last for a lifetime. Nishijin-ori neckties are also very popular today. Their quality and craftsmanship are remarkable. Nishijin also receives orders from famous couture designers around the world. Key holders, wallets, bookmarkers and accessories that are made of Nishijin-ori are also great items to own and enjoy for a long time.
Nishijin Textile center
414 Minamiiritatemonzen-cho Imadekawa Horikawadori Kamigyo-ku Kyoto-shi Kyoto-fu
Kyoto city hall
488 Kamihonojimae-cho Nakagyo-ku Kyoto-shi Kyoto-fu