Okayama Denim tour

Last summer, I had the opportunity to visit Okayama’s denim tour for the first time. Although I had heard of the place before, it turned out to be farther than I anticipated, requiring about 3 hours of travel by Shinkansen. Despite the distance, Okayama was incredibly beautiful, boasting scenic landscapes and a serene atmosphere.

One of the notable aspects of Okayama is its association with Momotaro, a legendary Japanese hero known for his sense of justice. His presence is evident throughout the region, making it a unique and culturally rich destination to explore.

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Upon arrival, I was greeted by sweltering heat, but my excitement to explore a new city and visit renowned tourist attractions like Okayama Korakuen Garden and Okayama Castle kept me motivated.

When you visit Okayama for the first time, one of the notable features you’ll encounter is the Romen Densha, an electric streetcar or tram. Riding it for the first time was a delightful experience for me, and I found myself enjoying it so much that I would hop on even for short distances.

We had a fantastic two-day denim tour where we had the privilege of visiting several esteemed denim companies and their factories, including Johnbull, Kuroki, the Industrial Technology Center of Okayama Prefecture, and Howa. This experience provided an invaluable opportunity to witness every step of the denim and jeans clothing production process. It sparked a keen interest in me to delve deeper into the world of denim fabric and explore textile factories in the future. I have a profound love for everything related to textures and textiles and am actively pursuing self-learning in this field.

Although I attend a textile class at Esmod, I find that it often feels more like a chemistry presentation, making the subject matter seem overly complex and, at times, a bit tedious.

I had the opportunity to witness cutting-edge technologies like the denim laser and denim distressing robot for the first time during the tour. However, it was disheartening to learn that these factories are facing challenges in hiring young talent due to Japan’s aging population.

Despite these workforce challenges, Okayama’s high-quality denim, crafted by skilled artisans, garners global recognition for its exquisite coloring and exceptional handling. Esteemed brands such as Gucci, Dior, Chanel, and others rely on Okayama denim, not only for casual wear but also for furniture, shoes, car seats, and more, showcasing its immense versatility and potential. During the tour, we even had the privilege of witnessing the creation of denim specifically tailored for Dior, highlighting the prestige and craftsmanship associated with Okayama denim.

In Okayama, denim is a ubiquitous sight, with jeans prominently displayed in stations and on streets. The prefectural government officials also participate in “Denim Day” on October 26, donning denim products to promote the local denim industry. Moreover, the Kojima Denim street stands out as a vibrant hub, featuring numerous jeans shops, workshops, galleries, and charming cafes.

If you ever visit, I highly recommend taking a leisurely stroll near the river, as it offers breathtaking views and serves as a magnet for painters capturing the scenic beauty of the surroundings.

I’m looking forward to crafting a garment using Okayama denim in the near future.

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