Seeking traditional textiles in Tokyo

Terri has a friend visiting Japan in spring.

“She is a fashion designer, and very interested in ethnic textiles. I seem to remember a museum opening in Tokyo sometime last year — something to do with Asian textiles — but can’t remember any details. Any ideas?”

I think you may be thinking of the Iwatate Folk Textile Museum that opened on Nov. 3. The address is Iwatate Bldg 3F, Jiyugaoka 1-25-13, Meguro Ward (phone number (03) 3718-2461). It’s open Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and the entrance fee is ¥300. Home page (in Japanese, but the map is helpful) at

Exhibits — selected from some 7,700 pieces collected from mainly India and Afghanistan, but also Turkey and Peru, by Japanese enthusiast Hiroko Iwatate over 40-odd years — change regularly to give everything the chance to see the light of day.

The current exhibition, which runs until May 1, showcases embroidery.

If Terri’s friend wants to see traditional Japanese textiles in Tokyo, the best place to go for starters in the Nippon Mingeikan in Tokyo’s Komaba, just a short ride from Shibuya on the Inokashira Line. See for details.

Angela Jeffs is a freelance writer and writing guide ( Ken Joseph directs the Japan Helpline at and (0570) 000-911. Send queries, problems and posers to

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