Japanese Batik – Japan Series

Would it even be an OiOi Arts trip if it didn’t feature a batik class along the way?!

My finished Roketsu batik!

While in the beautiful Kyoto I visited the Roketsu Dyeing Studio…

in the Yamamoto district and had a great afternoon creating my own Noren (Japanese style batik curtain).

Made up from two panels, joined only along the top seam, they are traditionally hung in the entrance way to buildings, most commonly: restaurants.

All images belong to OiOi Arts


I began with the white cotton fabric, and after selecting my designs, was given a quick lesson on working with the wax, before I began drawing up my own piece!

In Japanese Roketsu batik, a paintbrush is used to apply melted, hot wax directly to the fabric. The brush is shaped like a really elongated teardrop so you are able to achieve varying line thicknesses, depending on applied pressure. I really liked this method of batik as I felt in control and gave it the most fluid, non restrictive application- perfect for beginners! In the past, with both Indonesian and Laos batik, a lot more skill and precision was needed!

All images belong to OiOi Arts


After completing the outline with 2 coats of wax it was time to flip the fabric over and fill in any gaps on the reverse, before using more painterly brush strokes to fill in the background with the wax to give a bit of depth and texture to the work, after the dyeing process.

All images belong to OiOi Arts


After the wax application it was time for the dye bath. I submerged my noren into the huge vat containing indigo (room temperature), and using a wooden stick, manipulated the fabric slowly in the solution, ensuring the dye was being applied evenly.

All images belong to OiOi Arts


Next it was into boiling water to remove the wax, before finally being submerged into the cold bucket to seal and rinse off any any residue. The fabric was then ironed dry to complete the process!

All images belong to OiOi Arts


The studio was incredible, well worth a visit if you’re ever in KYOTO! In the main studio, huge ornate wooden rollers adorn the walls, with a large selection of finished works on display, which give it a real feeling of being a traditional artisan studio. The workshop area is stained blue from years of activity and just has a great atmosphere. The family run studio is so welcoming and even though english is limited we managed to communicate just fine. I thoroughly enjoyed my time here… getting acquainted with ANOTHER batik process!

Roketsu Dye studio in Kyoto


Planning a visit to Kyoto? Make sure Roketsu Dye Studio is on your list!

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