By Erik OBrien
Arashiyama is without a doubt a place of beauty that attracts many people from around the world. Here you can explore experience its charms in so many ways, like the Mount Arashi itself, the big Ōi River, and of course the famous bamboo forest of Arashiyama. The fact is, there is another "forest" in Arashiyama. Although it is not as famous as the bamboo forest, it certainly will be a delight for the eyes.
Kimono Forest is a collection of gorgeous cylinder-shaped pillars framing the lane way to Randen tram station on Kyoto's Keifuku Arashiyama line, which was installed as part of the renovation in 2013. It is called a "forest" since the pillars are clustered like a forest and the kimono is displayed on each of the pillars. The Kimono Forest consists of pieces of textile displays dyed in the traditional Kyo-yuzen style. Each of the 2 meter high pillars are covered with acrylic fiber. There are about 600 of them all installed all over the station grounds. The Kyo-yuzen textile used for this exhibition was created by Kamedatomi, a long standing textile factory whose history dates back to Taisho period. These days they also produce aloha shirts with bright kimono inspired patterns.
Each pattern of kimono textile was selected by Yasumichi Morita, the artist of this project. The original idea of this installation was to "give a fresh air to the station while still keeping the old tradition". He wanted to give a new life to this station so more people will come and enjoy their time at the Arashiyama Randen line tram Station.
There are a total of 32 different textile patterns being displayed. Walk through the kimono lane and you will find a small pond called Ryu no Atago. Ryu no Atago is the energy spot of Arashiyama Station. Many people come here to pray for their dreams and life goals.
It's recommended to visit here at dusk so you can see how beautiful the Kimono Forest illuminated by the LED lights installed in each of the pillars. Too bad I didn't stay long enough there so I couldn't eyewitness the mystical light of Kimono Forest during the night, but I dare to say the view during daylight is splendid as well.
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