The Kyoto Costume Institute

Kyoto Costume Institute

Although we have never visited the Kyoto Costume Institute in Kyoto, Japan, a friend of mine took the opportunity to do so while on a recent visit to  Japan. From the website, it’s hard to tell just what’s there to visit but my friend was in an adventuresome mood and it’s located relatively close to  his relations so he decided to take a chance- at worse, there would be no showroom or museum space and that would be that. However, as things worked out, it was an incredible experience sitting in an anonymous and non-descript setting….

First, if you’re expecting some sort of “curb appeal,” the answer was no…it could have been an office almost anywhere in Japan… 🙂

Upon entering, the receptionist and the security guard were a bit quizzical what a foreigner was doing there but after explaining that he wanted to view the collection, he was directed to the 5th Floor of the building where they have a small showroom:

Kyoto Costume Institute

Kyoto Costume Institute

From what they told my friend, apparently they stage a number of exhibits per year mostly in conjunction with another museum and that they even have a number of international travelling exhibits. The exhibition going on during my friend’s visit was 18th Century themed and he got got a few pictures for us:

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Although it’s difficult to make out, my friend told me that the condition of all the garments and accessories were either in pristine condition or close to it. My friend also noted that he was given a personal tour by one of the assistant curators and he was impressed with their complete dedication to preserving and displaying the various fashion- “The level of dedication was samurai-like.” From my friend’s description and the pictures he sent me, we are definitely impressed and now we’re making plans to one day pay it visit in person. 🙂

3 thoughts on “The Kyoto Costume Institute

  1. Was in Kyoto late last year but was unable to visit the museum due to it being closed for the New Year Bank Holiday. Many thanks for this post and definitely will want to visit this at some point.

    • A co-worker of mine graciously volunteered to check into this for me. His wife is Japanese and had family in the area so it was fairly easy for him. They don’t really publicize the place that well and it’s impossible to tell from the website (at least in English) if there’s even a show room to visit. I warned him that this might be one of these deals where their displays are done off-site and their location is strictly for work. Glad you found this to be helpful.

      • Thank you for your reply. I have a friend who lives in Japan and for a future visit, I might ask her to look into this for me. I also discovered that they have released a book about their collections published by Taschen so will check that out too.

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