Step into the world of Japanese craftsmanship, on an exclusive tour of the Taketsune velvet weavers' workshop. See how they preserve the craft of gorgeous wana velvet, used for the very finest kimono coats — and even try part of the process yourself!
• The workshop is not wheelchair accessible • COVID-19 prevention measures are in place, including disinfection of equipment and facilities, hand washing, and mask-wearing requirements for guides and participants - Participants must be aged 15 or older - Please do not touch anything in the workshop without permission
Meet the artisans keeping a local industry alive, on a behind-the-scenes tour of the Taketsune workshop in Nagahama, Shiga Prefecture. Taketsune has been preserving the heritage craft of wana velvet ever since their founding in 1919 — but the tradition is much older than that. Wana velvet is the specialty of Nagahama, an elegantly patterned fabric of pure silk. Traditionally used for the best “furisode” kimono coats, the over-400-year-old craft was most famously used for the trademark red cloak of feudal warlord Oda Nobunaga. There once were weavers’ workshops throughout Nagahama, but today Taketsune is just one of two manufacturers keeping the craft alive. On this tour, you'll meet Takada Norie, the CEO and sixth-generation director of Taketsune. She'll show you around their workshop, introducing you to the art and the history of wana velvet, and the people who keep the craft alive. Depending on the day, you might meet the 96-year-old grandmother still working in the fields! This tour is available every day except Sundays. Start times are 13:00, 14:00, 15:00, and 16:00, and they roughly following this example schedule: 13:00 — Arrive at the Taketsune weavers’ workshop, meet the staff 13:05 — Hear about the history of wana velvet and the local textiles industry 13:15 — Wana velvet workshop tour 13:35 — Hands-on experience of the “harinuki” stage in the wana velvet weaving process 13:45 — Introduction to items made from Taketsune’s wana velvet: coats, bags, and textiles 14:00 — Choose your wana velvet face mask; tour ends