What is the difference between Western and Japanese umbrellas?
Western umbrellas use plastic and metal for the structure and nylon or vinyl for the skin. Japanese umbrella uses bamboo for the structure, and paper for skin. The reason why Japanese umbrellas don’t get wet is because of the plant oil coated on the surface of the paper. The paper is unlikely to stretch and is very heavy, so it needs more than 30 pieces of bamboo to support the skin, whereas Western umbrellas use only 8. When you look at the inside of a Japanese umbrella, you’ll see the pieces of bamboo are spread radially and the paper transmits light. It’s beautiful.
The Japanese umbrella is used for traditional events
In Japan, cheap and disposable Western umbrellas took over the market, because Japanese umbrellas are handmade by craftsmen and are expensive. At the convenience store, you can buy vinyl umbrellas for around 500 yen. However, Japanese the umbrella plays an important role in traditional festivals and events. Have you ever seen a large vermillion colored umbrella outside and shrines and temples? This is called a Nodate umbrella, and is used for outdoor tea ceremony.
You will also find this umbrella at candy shops, shrines, weddings at shrines, and temples.
Use a Japanese umbrella for walking the town!
You can experience a little different atmosphere if you use a Japanese umbrella on a rainy day in Japan. Even though Western umbrellas are becoming more popular, some shops are pushing modern Japanese umbrellas on young people. “Hiyoshiya” in Kyoto has collaborated with a famous fashion brand that is known among young Japanese women. They also produce other products such as lamps that use the same techniques for making Japanese umbrellas. You can find some mini umbrellas for decorations.
Address：Dodocho, Teranouchi Horikawadori Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture 602-0072, Japan
Closed on：Saturday, Sunday and New Year
Access：15 min walk from Subway Imadegawa station.
1 min walk from JR Kyoto station by city bus No. 9 and Horikawaterenouchi stop by No.12