Akita, Yamagata, Niigata: The Textiles and Traditions of Winter
Akita, Yamagata and Niigata prefectures are known for their bitterly cold winter weather, with very heavy snowfall. In the old days, the people living in these areas developed warm textiles to help them survive the harsh conditions. They wove fabrics that incorporated fluffy fibers from wild plants or the down of wildfowl. And they developed unique quilting techniques to make their cotton clothes thicker and more robust. They also took advantage of the snow to bleach their fabrics. On this episode of Journeys in Japan, Sheila Cliffe explores the textiles and clothing from Japan's "Snow Country."

Zenmai-hakucho-ori

Visitors can take weaving lessons at "Amasagi-mura," a tourist facility in Yurihonjo City, Akita.

Ken Domon Museum of Photography

This museum in Sakata City, Yamagata, was built to house all of the 70,000 works by Domon Ken, the master of Japanese realist photography.

Old House Café

An old house in Tokamachi City, Niigata, has been renovated to create an atmospheric café. The architectural designer who undertook the renovation has offices on floor above.

Access

To reach Akita and Yamagata from Tokyo, flights take about one hour. To Niigata, it takes about one and a half hours by Shinkansen bullet train.