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Kumihimo

The Japanese Art of Weaving - Kumihimo

Title image that says Kumihimo

Japanese Traditional Craft “Kumihimo” – The Charm of Kumihimo from the Jomon Era

What do you imagine when you hear the word “Kumihimo”?

Kumi-himo is a cord made by weaving several beautiful threads together.

These cords are used for kimono obijime (a thin cord tied over the obi sash), haori (a jacket to wear over the kimono), and other Japanese decorative items.

More recently, kumi-himo is being used in a variety of purposes such as: key chains, earrings, bracelets, and other everyday items.


A picture of several Kumihimo braids hung on a display rack in a boutique and crafts store

Today we would like to introduce a specific type of Kumihimo that developed in Kyoto, the Kyoto Kumihimo.

Kumihimo has been used for more than 1,000 years, and there are various ways to braid them for different purposes.

The design changes depending on the way it is braided. There are said to be as many as 3,500 different ways of braiding kumihimo.



A beautiful presentation of a pink Kumihimo braid with a painted clamshell art piece

A strong and durable kumihimo is made by weaving dozens of threads together, crossing them diagonally.

The threads used include raw silk, silk threads, and cotton threads, which are dyed to produce vibrant colors with gentle but deep tones.

These beautifully colored yarns are further processed through 3 more steps before being assembled into a kumihimo.

The process up to the assembly is just as important of a task than the final assembly.



Kumihimo braided with many different colors including navy, pink, yellow, and red.

This beautiful multi-purpose cord is a traditional Japanese craft that has famously appeared in the movie “Your Name” where Mitsuha, the main character is shown to be weaving a kumihimo.

Influenced by the tea ceremony in the Muromachi period (1336-1573), the spirit of “wabi sabi” (to sense beauty from mundane or simple things) has developed within the Japanese culture. Following the trends of Japan, the kumihimo has also developed over the long period of its history. It may be true when they say it has the power to bring people together.

If you are interested in making your own, consider visiting one of the locations that offer the experience in Kyoto!

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