Kyoto’s Arashiyama is known for a quiet path through a beautiful bamboo forest. But this is a carefully-designed “forest” of acrylic poles draped with traditional kimono cloth. Visitors are enchanted by the beauty of “the forest” particularly when illuminated with the LED lights at night.
The permanent exhibit “Kimono Forest” is installed at Keifuku Electric Railroad Co.’s Arashiyama Station in Kyoto city. Each of the two-meter pillars is covered with kimono fabrics dyed in the traditional Kyo-Yuzen style originated in Kyoto. A total of 600 such poles are placed all over the tram station grounds. There are 32 different textile patterns carefully presented over each of the pillars.
The innovative display was set up in July 2013 when the station was renovated. The railroad company removed the ticket barriers so that everyone can enter the entire area of the station and enjoy “Kimono Forest.” The artwork, designed by Yasumichi Morita of GLAMOROUS co., received a global design award in Italy. In May 2014, the station won Platinum A’ Design Award of A’ Design Award and Competition in Interior Space and Exhibition Design Category, 2013-2014.
The highlight of the display is “Kimono Komichi,” a path lined with the kimono poles. After the lane, a small pond called “Ryu no Atago-ike” welcomes visitors. “Ryu” means “a dragon.” The name comes from Tenryu-ji, a temple located in the neighborhood. Tenryu-ji is a World Cultural Heritage Site. The pond takes water from a natural spring. In the center of the pond, there is a sphere-shaped art object painted with a dragon.
Kyo-Yuzen is a traditional craft in Kyoto. It refers to the dyeing technique devised by Yuzensai Miyazaki, a folding fan painter in the Edo Period. It requires elaborate manual procedures to make authentic Yuzen fabrics.
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