What to do in Ginza: Check out the newest experience in Tokyo, Japanese traditional indigo-dyeing ai-zome

What to do in Ginza: Check out the newest experience in Tokyo, Japanese traditional indigo-dyeing ai-zome

There are many ways that visitors can experience Japanese culture when they come to Japan. While traveling itself is exciting, it is also important to develop unforgettable memories in the process. In the age of mass production, exploring the heart and soul of Japan through hand-made experiences will definitely be a highlight of the journey.

What about making a souvenir for yourself or your loved ones? In this article, we would like to introduce you to indigo-dyeing ai-zome, a Japanese traditional experience creating everlasting memories.

Ai, the dye used for indigo dyeing

The raw material necessary to produce the dye is the indigo (ai) extracted from the plant. There are various types of indigo, but traditional hand-dyeing method ai-zome is using a plant belonging to the Polygonaceae family.

The leaves are dried and fermented to make the dye. When immersed in the dye liquid, they turn slightly greenish-blue, and are exposed to the air until the desired tint of blue is finally obtained.

* The OKUROJI store uses synthetic indigo that allows you to enjoy stable dyeing.

Experience indigo dyeing at the secret spot

The indigo dyeing workshops are offered at the Mizuno Dyeing Factory Hibiya OKUROJI store. Located in the elevated passageway in the heart of Tokyo’s Ginza Hibiya district, the store looks like a secret base, safely hidden in the big city.

The store also sells original t-shirts and masks.

Make your own ai-zome products

* The experience will be explained in Japanese and simple English.

This time, we decided to dye two t-shirts and tenugui. Tenugui is a hand towel made from cotton that is less bulky and dries faster than ordinary towels. You can use it like a handkerchief or decorate it with a frame as a piece of art.

Items to dye can be brought in or purchased at the store.

* Chemical fibers such as polyester and acrylic can not be dyed.

First of all, you need to tell the staff about the color intensity and pattern you would like to do. Before the procedure, the item should be tied with rubber bands or folded.

There are many different shapes of t-shirts available, depending on the desired pattern. If the rubber band doesn’t hold firmly, the dye will soak through and the desired pattern will not appear.

Indigo pigment used in ai-zome is extracted from a member of the family Polygonaceae. First, soak the fabric into the water and wring it out.

Immerse it in the dye liquid for one minute to avoid any contact with the air.

After 1 minute, take out the soaked fabric, squeeze it lightly, spread and expose it to the air for about 1 minute to make the oxygen do its job.

This will create a light gradation pattern. If you want to have a darker color, repeat the process of dipping it in the dye liquid and air-dry.

After dyeing, rinse the fabric well with water, soak it in acetic acid for color fixing, and rinse it again.


It takes 1-2 hours to complete the process. Make sure you dry it thoroughly when you return to your place to stay. After the fabric is completely dried, wash it with a mild detergent and let it dry again to consolidate the color.

Booking, fees and important points

How to make a reservation

Reservations can be made at the Hibiya OKUROJI store.

Please make a reservation directly at the store here (OKUROJI Mizuno Dyeing Factory TOP page) or by phone.

Currently, the indigo dyeing experience is conducted about three times a month. Please also check the website (OKUROJI Mizuno Dyeing Factory TOP page) for details and inquiries. Please note that opening hours may be changed depending on the COVID-19 situation.


T-shirts and stoles: 6600 yen
If you bring your own, the basic charge is 44 yen (including tax) per gram.~4,400 yen for 100g or less

Prices are subject to change.


The indigo dyeing experience involves handling water, so bring your own towel to wipe your hands.

Rubber gloves and aprons are available for rent, but you are recommended to wear clothes and shoes that will not be affected in case of dye liquid splashes.

About Mizuno Dyeing Factory

Based on the concept of “Dyeing the world with excitement,” Mizuno Dyeing Factory produces indigo-dyed products, from design to dyeing and sewing.

In addition to the indigo dyeing workshops, the Hibiya OKUROJI store accepts orders for products that have long been close to Japanese life, such as towels and happi coats.

These are some of the products that Mizuno Dyeing Factory makes using traditional Japanese techniques.

In Japan, traditional Japanese fisherman’s flags tairyo-bata flown by boats indicate a successful day of fishing. The flags with flashy, bold designs are meant to be easily spotted from ashore. In recent years, more and more people are using tairyo-bata for celebrations.

The factory also makes traditional Japanese coats called happi, usually worn during festivals or by craftsmen.

Noren, short curtains that hang over the entrance, have been used as a signboard for merchants from the Edo to the Meiji and Taisho periods. Its simple beauty is embedded within the Japanese culture.


Mizuno Dyeing Factory’s indigo dyeing experience is a new tourist attraction in Ginza and Hibiya that can be easily experienced in the urban setting. If you’re looking for an authentic Japanese experience, look no further!


Address G04, 1-7-1 Uchisaiwai-cho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-0011, Japan
Transportation By train:
6-min walk from JR Yurakucho Station and Shimbashi Station (Hibiya Exit) Tokyo Metro Ginza Station and Hibiya Station
5-min walk from Toei Subway Uchisaiwai Station
Official website https://www.hanten.tokyo/