Watanabe indigo warehouse

This indigo-dyed product uses a traditional kouya technique called tsutsugaki. The design is drawn on the white fabric by hand by placing glutinous rice glue, and then colored by mixing pigments with the squeezed juice of soybeans. The fabric is then soaked repeatedly in fermented natural indigo, washed in clear water, and dried in the sun.

Natural indigo contains blue pigments and components of brown and yellow plants and trees, which are fixed to the fabric by dyeing, washing in water, and drying. By repeatedly dyeing and drying, the fabric is dyed blue, and then to a deep indigo color. Natural indigo is also said to have insecticide and antibacterial effects, and has long been used in furoshiki (wrapping cloth) and clothing. 

Gujo Honzome Watanabe Dyeing Shop has been carrying on the traditional Japanese Sho-aizome for over 400 years since its establishment in 1580. Sho-aizome is a traditional dyeing technique using natural indigo as the raw material.

In recent years, as indigo dyeing using chemical dyes has become the mainstream, the number of Sho-aizome dyeing stores called "Kouya" has decreased.

They use a hand-dyeing technique called tsutsugaki, in which each piece of cloth is dyed carefully over and over again, with each pattern added by hand.

They continue to preserve the authentic indigo dyeing process, which brings out the beauty of Sho-aizome and conveys the warmth of handmade products.

The "Koinobori Kanzarashi", which is held in the cold clear stream in winter, is a winter tradition of Gujo Hachiman. The hand-dyed carp streamers made by Gujo Honzome are brightly colored and unique.

Gujo Hachiman, located in the center of Gifu Prefecture, is a castle town centering on "Gujo Hachiman Castle" built in the Edo period, and the old townscape of those days still remains strongly.

The Yoshida River, which runs through the center of Gujo Hachiman, is a tributary of the Nagara River, one of the clearest rivers in Japan, famous for its cormorant fishing and sweetfish dishes.

The waterways drawn from the Yoshida River and the valley are stretched throughout the town, and the pleasant sound of the murmuring water makes it known as a "town of water".

This clear, cold water is indispensable for indigo dyeing and has nurtured Gujo honzome.

The "Koinobori kanzarashi", held during the harsh winter months, is a winter tradition in Gujo Hachiman. Vividly colored carp streamers swim in the clear stream.

Gujo Odori, one of the three major Bon Odori dances in Japan, is also famous, and people dance all night long during the Bon Festival from August 13 to 16. 





2013 Their Imperial Highnesses Prince and Princess Hitachi, the Crown Prince and Princess of Japan, inspected the Koinobori Kanzarashi and served as the guiding tour guide.

2016 Served as a guide for their Imperial Highnesses the Crown Prince and Crown Princess during their visit.

2018 Succeeded to the 14th generation (Gifu Prefecture Important Intangible Cultural Property).

2019 Designated as an Important Intangible Cultural Asset by Gujo City.