Deep in the mountains of Shikoku Island, a remote town is the hidden home of Japan's expert indigo dyers, who for centuries have used local crops to dye paper and cloth Japan's favourite shade of blue.
The people of the small mountain town Mima have indigo running though their veins – initially founded for the trade, the town's indigo producers continue ancient dyeing traditions to this day. However, in Japan, only a select few craftspeople still keep these centuries-old processes alive, making a trip to Mima a must for any travellers seeking to experience truly unique craftsmanship first-hand.
But why has Mima become synonymous with Japan's famous shade of blue? It's all because of the Yoshino River, which runs through all four prefectures of Shikoku and into the Seto Inland Sea. Depositing rich soils along its banks, the river gifts Mima with an abundance of persicaria tinctoria; from which the famous indigo dye is produced.
In Mima, travellers can visit historic workshops, studios, fermenters and craftspeople that each work to turn this naturally occurring pigment into beautiful crafts that have become synonymous with the nation of Japan over the centuries.