While Tokyo’s Ameyokocho is the best place to buy some of the world’s outstanding denim products, almost none of it is produced there. In fact, most Japanese denim comes from an area far-removed from the nation’s capitol city; the distant prefecture of Okayama.
Over 100 family-run indigo and dyeing factories operate in Okayama-ken. The majority of them are clustered in Kurashiki city’s Kojima district. Within Japan, Kurashiki-shi is famous for its denim production. Especially notable are two local brands: the world-reknown Momotaro brand as well as Eternal.
To travel there from Tokyo takes about 3-and-a-half hours by bullet-train and local express, but a visit is well-worth the time. Kurashiki’s Kojima district is well-suited to be the denim capital of Japan, as it has been a center for textile production since the days of the samurai. Interestingly, it is also responsible for producing 70% of Japan’s school uniforms, making Kojima the main source of clothing for youth at both work and play.
Stay tuned for Part 2…