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Jofu, High-Quality Plain-Woven Linen

Jofu (上布) is a type of extremely precious fabric for Japanese summer Kimono (着物), which is exquisitely plain-woven with superfine linen.

Echigo Jofu (越後上布) from Niigata (新潟) prefecture, Oumi Jofu (近江上布) from Shiga (滋賀), and Miyako Jofu (宮古上布) from Miyako island of Okinawa (沖縄), are very famous among other types of Jufu produced, and most of them are designated as protected cultural properties of Japan.

The origin of the term Jofu is said to be Kenjofu (献上布, fabrics presented to the king). Miyako Jofu was once handled as taxable articles, and only selected skillful village women were able to be engaged in manufacturing Jofu for the King of Ryukyu Dynasty.

Today, Jofu is regarded as a very luxurious handcraft, since it takes a day for skilled weavers to weave 8-11 inches of Jofu. Plus, not many Jufu are on the market. The time and effort to make this exquisite work of art is beyond imagination. You will be amazed if you feel the pleasantly cool texture of it in your hand.

I visited Miyako island to purchase one for myself, but couldn’t afford. Jufu Kimono were so expensive and I bought a pouch instead.

The color of the sea of the island is called Miyako blue. Miyako Jufu is listed as four top Jufu of Japan.

Click here to see a Blog by a former MAIKO, “Do You Know?”.

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