The Tale of Orihime told by Karamushi no Sato in Showa Village where traditional culture lives and breathes

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Showa Village - ramie producer

If you drive along the mountain road, you will suddenly come to a settlement with a row of brightly-colored roofs. This is Showa Village, and the depth of its natural environment used to stop traffic and as well as the distribution of goods. It is because of this, the story goes, that the women in the village mastered weaving and other handicrafts.

Showa Village is the habitat for ramie that is a perennial plant in the family Urticaceae. The craft of cultivating ramie, extracting the fibers, and turning them into thread has been passed on down many generations.

Passing on the craft with “Orihime” textile worker recruitment

Thread is made by stripping the ramie, extracting the fiber, splitting it into thinner fibers with your fingers, and linking them together while twisting. This arduous task used to be the winter work of women. The long-developed craft of weaving is then added to make complete textile products.

Starting in 1994, young women from around the country are being recruited to become “Orihime” textile workers. The textile workers who developed their skills during a homestay make their debut one after another. Some have even gone on to become professional textile artists. Many choose to remain in the village. This new program to develop successors restored the brightness to Showa Village.

Try weaving ramie yourself

At the Orihime Exchange Center that exhibits rows of ramie textiles, you can also try weaving on a loom for yourself. It takes about 20 min. to make a coaster.

Until you get used to it, it is a bit difficult to work the loom that you do by moving your hands and feet at the same time, but please try out this traditional skill that creates textiles out of a single thread.

How about trying the experience below to create a travel memory?