Oyama Honba Yuki Tsumugi Craft Museum
Get your kimono on in style.
A few steps away from Oyama station is the Oyama Honba Yuki Tsumugi Craft Museum. This bright space with vaulted ceilings offers visitors a crash course in yuki tsumugi (hand-woven silk) history and technique. A loom dominates the center of the room where, at a moment’s notice, demonstrations will take place.
On the right, staff will also show how silk thread appears almost magically from a — literally — light as air flossy silk. Unlike regular silk, which consists of five strands twisted together, yuki tsumugi is a single, untwisted thread.
Perhaps of greatest interest, though, is the opportunity to rent a kimono made of the legendary yuki tsumugi fabric. Kimono in muted solids, stripes or intricate botanical patterns are displayed like works of art around the room with matching obi. An earthy green kimono with a dazzling spring yellow and orange obi is particularly striking. Its natural undulations of fabric conveying a sense of movement and light just under the surface. Another, in a deep blue with a traditional tortoiseshell-shaped pattern worked through it, is more sedate, but still stunning.
For a mere ¥2,000 a day, visitors can don a kimono with the help of professionally-trained staff and stroll about town. A short walk away (although the mincing steps required in the kimono make it a bit longer), is Oyama’s Machi no Eki where local specialties such as sake, hatomugicha (Job’s tears tea), kanpyou (dried gourd) udon and assorted crafts can be found.
From there, stroll down the zelkova and gingko tree-lined road to Suga Shrine, established about 1000 years ago. Note the two carved oak wooden deities in front, before wandering the peaceful interior grounds. Finish with a bowl of kaiun (“lucky road”) udon at Syourin. Its rich broth is dense with thick slices of fried pork, eggplant, two kinds of mushrooms, carrots and more. The obi will feel a bit tighter afterward, but the easy meander back will take some of the pressure off.