The novel coronavirus pandemic continues to make it difficult for international travel to Japan, let alone domestic travel within the country. For those who love Kyoto and appreciate its central role in the kimono industry, the situation is particularly hard to bear.

Fortunately, on February 18, 2021, a new website opened which allows you to experience the city of Kyoto and go on a simulated kimono factory tour!

Three Kyoto organizations central to the kimono industry have collaborated to create "Kyoto Kimono Story," a kimono exhibition space using the latest VR technology.

The first step is to access the site and enter your e-mail address and password.

京きもの語り (Kyoto Kimono Story)

Select English in the language menu at the bottom right

You will then be able to experience the beautiful streets of Kyoto and a simulated kimono factory tour!

The cobblestone streets of Kyoto are elaborately rendered with and the scenery is recreated with all the trees and buildings of the neighborhood. The workshop tour allows you to appreciate the actual dyeing process, the weaving of fabrics and the architecture of these historical buildings. You'll also learn the individual stories of the people involved in this craft unique to Japan.

At kimono store Tomoe, you will feel as if you have wandered into a mysterious land where time has stopped.

The high quality of the photos throughout the site gives it a very realistic feel, and the detailed explanations of how kimonos are made will make you feel as if you are really sightseeing in Kyoto or visiting a factory.

It's also fun to learn how to wear a kimono by rotating the models.

You may even recognize a familiar face. Kimono expert and kimono fashion enthusiast Sheila Cliffe, whom we've introduced several times before in grape Japan, models the kimonos. (We also highly recommend this episode of "Japanology Plus" on NHK International introducing Cliffe and her unique take on kimonos)

And once the pandemic has subsided, you'll be ready to make a visit in person!

By - grape Japan editorial staff.