Yesterday, on my first day back in Japan, I unexpectedly found myself in Yasu, about an hour from Kyoto.
I visited the Mori family, who are one of the last families who do the traditional indigo dyeing process from start to finish: growing the indigo plants, composting the leaves to make the “tskumo” the dyestuff, and then dyeing both silk threads and washi paper. His son is the 5th generation to continue this work. It is always such an inspiration to see the great pride that Japan’s traditional artisans take in their work, the careful and precise process and the exquisite finished product. The Mori’s have the honor of dyeing the washi paper used on the tearoom wall at Katsura Imperial Villa, and have done other special dye projects for the Imperial family. Note the giant chyrsanthemum plants guarding the drying indigo threads!