Make The Pilgrimage To Japan’s Denim Mecca

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CRAFT: Make the Pilgrimage to Japan’s Denim Mecca

As any denim-head will tell you, Japanese denim is amongst the best in the world, and all enthusiasts worth their salt will have Kojima, the birthplace of Japanese jeans, on their bucket list.

A small seaside town with a rich history in textile manufacturing, Kojima has grown to become the denim capital of Japan since producing the first pair of Japanese jeans in the mid 1960s. Check out our top things to do in Japan’s indigo mecca.

Take a Trip Down Jeans Street

With the giants of the Japanese denim industry calling Kojima home, it’s no wonder the town has focussed its retail on its most famous export. Tarmacked in blue and lined with stores from Japan’s best manufacturers, Jeans Street is a great education for indigo newbies, and for denim fanatics the perfect opportunity to pick up hand-crafted jeans from the likes of Japan Blue and Momotaro.

Kojima Jeans Street: Kojimaajino, Kurashiki, Okayama Prefecture 711-0913  

Broaden your Knowledge at the Betty Smith Museum


Iconic jeans brand, Betty Smith, is integral to the history of Japanese denim and as such hosts the country’s only dedicated denim museum. The Betty Smith Jeans Museum is a must-see for any denim lover, and offers an in-depth history lesson for those curious about how Japan came to make the best denim in the world. The museum is attached to Betty Smith’s working factory, and an on-site workshop offers the chance to create a truly one-off pair of customised jeans from an exhaustive selection of fabrics and trims.

Betty Smith Museum: 5-2-70 Kojima-shimonocho, Kurashiki, Okayama Prefecture  

Visit the Indigo Dye Houses

Perhaps the highlight of a trip to Kojima is a visit to the working indigo dye houses, or ‘aizome kobo’. Although Japan has adopted western denim production, its history lies with traditional indigo dying. Indigo factories Takashiro Senko and Rampuya both offer daily tours, and if booked in advance, the opportunity to try your own hand at indigo dying cotton. A unique experience not to be missed.

Takashiro Senko: 7-2-6 Kojima-shimonocho, Kurashiki, Okayama Prefecture Rampuya: 4-61 Kojima-ekimae, Kurashiki, Okayama Prefecture  

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