Festival Focus / Uncategorized

Festival Focus: Some no Komichi

For many, February is a frigid month, a month to just grit your teeth, zip up your jacket and trudge your way through a slog of icy, sleety days and cold weather. But February in Japan makes my heart sing. From bean throwing and daruma burning at the beginning of the month to the gorgeous colors of the Yamaga Lantern Festival and the emerging plum blossoms, there’s much to recommend on a winter trip to Japan.

One of my favorite events – and one that seems to fly under the radar – is the Some no Komichi Fabric Festival. This extremely local celebration, which takes place in the Nakai/Ochiai section of Tokyo’s Shinjuku ward, spotlights the area’s cloth dyeing history. As with other places across the nation, the cloth dyed here would be placed in the local waterways in the winter to help the dye set. While that’s not done anymore, the neighborhood replicates the experience by stringing long strips of kimono fabric above the river during the festival weekend in a display that’s termed The River Gallery.

DSC00504DSC00535

The shops of Nakai also get into the act and over a hundred of them hang special hand-dyed noren (curtains) over their entryways for the course of the weekend. You can pick up a map from festival volunteers (they have booths near the station) that will lead you to all of the participating doorways, collectively termed The Street Gallery.

DSC00550DSC00493

DSC00571

A local elementary school very close to the metro offers hands-on dyeing workshops, but on my previous visits, no English speakers were available.

It’s also worth strolling to the edge of the district for a visit to the Fumiko Hayashi Memorial Hall. Hayashi, who was a respected novelist, resided here until her death in 1951. The grounds are tranquil and the small storehouse in the garden always displays a half-dozen hand-dyed kimono.

DSC00560DSC00564

The event usually takes place annually on the last weekend in February. In 2018, the dates will be Friday, February 23rd to Sunday, February 25th. Get off at Nakai station on the Toei Oedo line and use exit A2.

8 thoughts on “Festival Focus: Some no Komichi

  1. I love this post and would love to re-blog it.  Would you mind?   – Evelyn MitsunagaTravel Tales amongst my Ramblings 

    | | | | | |

    |

    | | | | Travel Tales amongst my Ramblings

    True stories of our world-wide journeys interspersed with bits of my real life journey, retired now in Silicon V… |

    |

    |

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s