Elm-Yukara ori: woven woollen fabric of Hokkaido



Elm-Yukara ori is an entirely hand crafted textile of Hokkaido that is typically used for items such as kimonos, obi sashes, haori coats, bags, rugs and cushions. The main material is locally made wool that is hand dyed, spun into threads and woven on a loom using the ‘tsumugi’ technique. It is a light, warm fabric with designs that are inspired by the picturesque scenes of nature in Hokkaido, a northern island of Japan, and the patterns of traditional folklore. Up to two or three hundred colors may be combined in any one work, creating a textile that resembles an oil painting.

Although ‘Yukara’ is an Ainu word meaning lore, legend or epic poem, the textile is a relatively recent product of Hokkaido and is not a traditional Ainu fabric. (Ainu is the language used by indigenous people of Hokkaido.) Yukara-ori was created by textile artist Aya Kiuchi from Asahikawa City, Hokkaido during the 1950s; in 1962 she established a full scale manufacturing house. Kiuchi chose the word ‘yukara’ in the hope that the craft would endure and be passed on to future generations. Her work has been widely acclaimed both nationally and internationally. In 1977 she received the highest award at the Japan Folk Crafts Public Exhibition, and in 1978 she was awarded first place at the Hungarian International Textile Biennale.

This small coin purse with two compartments is a fine example of elm-yukara woven wool.  It was found at a temple market in Osaka.


ERUMU-YUKARA (ELM-YUKAR) ORI | Dyeing and Weaving. (2018). Kimono.or.jp. Retrieved 7 January 2018, from http://www.kimono.or.jp/dictionary/eng/erumu_yu-karaori.html

Yukara-Ori Textile | Authentic Japanese product. (2018). Japan-brand.jnto.go.jp. Retrieved 7 January 2018, from http://japan-brand.jnto.go.jp/crafts/textiles/2760/

和の用語の全てを集約した総合着物辞書きもの用語大全. (2018). So-bien.com. Retrieved 7 January 2018, from http://www.so-bien.com/kimono/


Please visit my Etsy store to see my collection of vintage and antique Japanese treasures.

Vintage kimono silk cushions

  • I spent a few days last week in Brisbane with my sister, Anne.  She had recently attended a cushion making workshop and I asked her to teach me using my vintage kimono silk.  After several hours work we ended up with this gorgeous pair of cushions!
Vintage Japanese silk and cotton kasuri cushions
Vintage Japanese silk and cotton kasuri cushions: front and back view

Continue reading Vintage kimono silk cushions