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KYO KARAKAMI Experience (Traditional Wood Block Printing) - KARAMARU -

Have you ever heard of Japanese traditional handcraft "KARAKAMI"?

This beautiful craft can be seen mostly as interior decors in temples, inns, or hotels in Kyoto.

KARAKAMI is Japanese traditional handmade papers with wood block print patterns. Patterns are printed on the paper by hand-pressing wood blocks whose engraved surface are tinted with pigments such as KIRA (mica powder) or GOFUN (white powder made of shells of scallops or oysters).

The technique came down from China (aka KARA at that time) in NARA era of Japan, and by HEIAN era, it became highly appreciated among noblemen and women as letter pads, waka poem notes, or even for SHOJI (paper screens) of their residences.

Different from machine printings, hand-pressed printing gives tasteful warm texture on the papers. Its beauty is deepened by the ever-changing kaleidoscope-like reflections of lights. Still today, KARAKAMI is highly appreciated and treasured as Japanese traditional craft for room decorations such as FUSUMA (sliding door) papers or wall papers.

Speaking of KARAKAMI, a KARAKAMI experience studio "KARAMARU" has opened on August 26.

The studio is located within a eight-minutes distance on foot from YUMEYAKATA.

(FYI, there are two kinds of KARAKAMI, namely KYO KARAKAMI made in Kyoto, and EDO KARAKAMI inTokyo.)

Since its grand open, the studio has been drawing a lot of attention from multiple TV stations and other media, gaining a surge in popularity.

As a staff member of the tourist information center, we, Haku and Cho visited KARAMARU to experience the world of KARAKAMI.

There's such an eye-catching sign in the front!

Inside the studio is filled with relaxed ambiance.

Nice.( ๑❛ᴗ❛๑)۶♡٩(๑❛ᴗ❛๑ )

The products are so pretty! Must check the accessory boxes and notes all made of KARAKAMI, as well as the stamps of KARAKAMI patterns.

As we enter the room, tools and materials are already prepared on the table. Already excited! The class starts by watching a seven-minutes video which introduces the history of KARAKAMI.

The video is finished, and......

Let's make KYO KARAKAMI (^-^)!!!

First we choose a pattern out of nine types. The experience plan includes pigments of gold and silver, as well as color papers out of more than ten types of variations.

Please try to invent your own combination. It can be a really nice souvenir for your friends!

The studio staff members will give you advice according to your preference♪

HAKU (left) takes "Ume no Maru (plum flower circle)" and CHO (right) "NOTAN KARAKUSA (tree peony and arabesque).

First, we start with wetting the pattern on the block by wiping it with wet towel. Note that the print will be blur if the patter is not wet enough.

Pigments of gold and silver are included in the plan. Both are shiney and very beautiful.

Let's apply your favorite color on the sponge with a brush...

and gently tap the sponge over the pattern surface to apply the pigment equally.

After applying pigment all over, gently press the paper with you finger over the pattern surface. Using fingers gives it a soft and mild tone with slight irregularity of color spots.

To make the print more glamorous, pigment is applied twice on the paper.

Please be careful not to displace the paper from the first position when you flip it. Apply the pigment on the block once more, and press the paper on it gently...

It's done!

Looks very good!!

It's very beautiful and interesting to watch its glittering reflections changing depending on the viewing angle!

This is FUUUUN(*^^*)♪

We try one more time!

Next we try difficult patterns using different color paper and pigment.

We are serious...!!

My second piece is done!

Patterns look enhanced on this darker paper! It's interesting that impression is such different by the color combinations!

DO you like our KARAKAMIs?

It was our first try, but the outcome is good enough♪

The completed KARAKAMI can be used as postcards, or you can use it as letter pads.

Can be a very good souvenir!

If you wish to experience, take a look!

Please bring the flyer distributed at YUMEYAKATA Tourist Information Center, and get a free gift of KYO KARAKAMI product.

In the picture above, we are wearing YUMEYAKATA kimono☆

Reservation for KYO KARAKAMI Experience can be made at YUMEYAKATA Information Center. Why not?!


KARAMARU (Next to the MARUNI building)

KYO KARAKAMI KIT experience course

■Fee: 1800 yen/ppl

■OPEN: Everyday (except Sundays, Mondays and Japanese national holidays)

*Reservation required. By 3 pm of the previous day.

■Location: Nishi Nyusenji 460, Takatsuji yanaginobanba nishi iru, Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto

■TEL : 075-361-1324



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