The term Tama ori refers to the specific weaving methods of the Tama area west of central Tokyo. The many kinds of Tama ori include omeshi ori, characterized by the fine wrinkled patterns on its surface; futsu ori, a multi-layered textile with reversible patterns; and mojiri ori, a lacey fabric with warp and weft parallel instead of perpendicular.
Visit the Sawai Textile Workshop in the tranquility of Hachioji, easily reachable by direct train from Shinjuku in central Tokyo. Here, you'll visit the workshop of award-winning Tama ori weaver Sawai-san. Watch his team practicing their craft, preserving the heritage of the Tama area—and then try it for yourself!
Hachioji City in Tama has a long history of silk and fabric production, and was once known as the 'City of Mulberries' due to mulberry leaves' importance to silk production. Hachioji was a leader in textile production during the Meiji period (1868–1912) thanks to the essential clear waters of the Asa and Aki rivers, a lack of arable land, and the proximity of Tokyo City and Yokohama Port—important trade hubs.
In modern times, with fewer people wearing kimono and other traditional clothes, holdouts like the Sawai Textile Workshop survive by adapting. Sawai-san, for example, has gained recognition by collaborating with such Japanese fashion brands as Comme des Garçon and Issei Miyake. He has produced original works featured by the Museum of Modern Art, and participated in Google's Project Jacquard, working on conductive yarns for smart clothing—garments made of fabric integrated with hardware and software.
On meeting your host at the Sawai Textile Workshop, you'll start the tour with a presentation on Tama ori. You'll then tour the workshop, and see loom weaving as it is carried out daily by Sawai-san's team. Lastly, your host will lead you in a hands-on weaving experience where you can make a placemat. After some 30–60 minutes of work, your piece will be ready to take home as a memento of your trip.
Duration: 2 hours
Opening hours: 10am to 5pm
Tama Ori Workshop Tour and Placemat Weaving
Adult/Child: 6 years old and above
Upon purchase of the ticket, you will receive an email confirmation with e-ticket/e-voucher within two days. Tours and tickets are subjected to availability and are not confirmed until a second confirmation email is received.
Sawai Textile Workshop in Takatsukimachi, Hachioji, Tokyo.
Address will be sent to you with booking confirmation