Today we have a guest post from Michael Baxter on behalf of Takaokaya: the only traditional cushion shop in Kyoto that still makes their products by hand…
Takaokaya: Handcrafted Contemporary & Traditional Zabuton Cushions and Futon Bedding from Kyoto Since 1919
Takaokaya is a producer of handmade zabuton cushions and futon bedding in the ancient capital of Kyoto.
Their stylish, high quality range of furnishings are designed to harmonize any living space and bring the relaxing Japanese art of ‘Kutsurogi’ to your life. Koichiro Takaoka, Takaokaya’s third generation proprietor, says “People in Japan, are re-evaluating their lifestyles and what matters most to them. While mass production has brought benefits, something is missing. That is heart and soul. If we use products with heart and soul, then our lives will be made much, much richer and more meaningful!”
Takaokaya’s Popular Ojami Cushion Collections — A stylish, harmonious blend of old and new
Takaokaya products bring the Art of Kutsurogi and authentic Japanese living into your home. Takaokaya’s products are lovingly handcrafted in Kyoto by a team of meticulous artisans. The ojami is an original cushion developed by Takaokaya over the last decade. The unique shape is inspired by the ancient Japanese beanbag toy called ‘tedama’, or ‘ojami’ in Kyoto dialect.
The ojami cushion is a funky, modern take on the tedama, a traditional Japanese beanbag toy that was filled with azuki beans. Handcrafted by skilled Kyoto artisans, ojami come in a rich variety of colors, fabric coverings, fillings, sizes and shapes to suit your taste and lifestyle. Amazingly comfortable and of a unique geometrical shape, functionally these cushions are designed for posture support and correction, and to be a beautiful decorative object suitable to any living or working space.
Takaokaya Collection — Product Range
Takaokaya’s range of cushions and bedding includes zabuton and ojami cushions in a rich variety of sizes, shapes, colors, fabric coverings and fillings.
Ojami: Novel shaped cushion based on traditional Japanese beanbag toy.
Ojami Settee: Super-sized Ojami — beyond luxurious!
Ojami Flat: An Ojami to put on Western-style chairs, makes a hard wooden seat comfy and warm.
Cojami: A cute little Ojami perfect for nap pillow, yoga and meditation support.
Kyoto Zabuton: Traditional Kyoto-style square cushion.
Round Zabuton: Traditional Kyoto-style round cushion.
Gorone Nap Roll Futon: Portable and convenient size futon for afternoon naps.
Kyoto-style Futon: Traditional Kyoto-style futon, comes in summer and winter versions.
See all products here.
Pride of the Artisan: Why Takaokaya Is Special
Kyoto, the ancient capital, with more than 1,200 years of history, was the seat of the imperial household. Artists and artisans all over Japan honed their art and craft in hopes of being able to move to Kyoto and vie to serve the aristocracy and ultimately, the emperor.
Refined craftsmanship is deeply ingrained in both the DNA of Kyoto and Takaokaya. Together, these artisans have the equivalent of several centuries of experience handcrafting relaxing ‘Kutsurogi’ products. All products are truly handcrafted. The only machine you will find in the workshop is a sewing machine!
Meet Takaokaya’s Craftsmen and Women
Takaokaya’s superb craftsmen and women take pride in their work.
Fabric Cutting Team: Ms. Yoko Imura “This ojami was made in collaboration with a French fabric brand called Casamance. We are always using new fabrics, many from overseas.”
Sewing Team: Ms. Keiko Wakabayashi “I like these boomerang-shaped zabuton – they’re unusual and you don’t see them anywhere else.”
Stuffing Team: Mr. Shizuo Baba “I have been working here for two decades, so the traditional Kyoto Zabuton cushions are close to my heart!”
Close Stitching Team: Ms. Fuka Miyazaki “I know our products are very durable and comfy – after all, I lovingly hand-stitch them closed one by one!”
Kutsurogi — Relaxing in Style
‘Kutsurogi’ may be translated as ‘to relax’ or to ‘feel at home.’ In Japan, though, Kutsurogi is something more: it’s a way of life. Takaokaya has a manifesto to bring Kutsurogi to life.
Koichiro Takaoka, Takaokaya’s Third Generation Proprietor
1. We bring the Japanese ‘Art of Kutsurogi’ to your home.
2. We are committed to handcrafted products and the future of Kyoto craftsmanship.
3. We use only the finest materials.
4. We keep your comfort in mind.
5. We create beautiful, chic and stylish products.
6. We promote Omotenashi, the traditional Kyoto spirit of hospitality.
7. We value our customers.
Kyoto Takaokaya Style
Takaokaya products are designed to harmonize with both Western and Japanese interiors.
Be sure check out the Takaokaya website for their latest products, prototypes and collaborations.
Lori Bruner Okamura says
I want to know more about the modern style zabuton “ojami” and “cojami” found on your wonderful website!
My family in Hawaii watched an episode of Core Kyoto last night and I loved this adaptation of the traditional zabuton.
My Obachan arrived in Honolulu, Hawaii as a picture bride from Saka-machi, Hiroshima-ken in 1922. I remember her making futon and zabuton in the 1960s and treasure all the versions that she handsewed for me and my Barbie dolls. My love of sewing and crafting comes from my maternal grandmother who sewed for her family by necessity and always showed her dedication and caring in her craftwork.
I would greatly appreciate more information about the ojami and cojami. Are these your own designs or will I be able to find patterns online or for purchase?
I hope to one day again visit Kyoto and I will seek out your business. I wish you success in these difficult times.
Lori Naomi Bruner Okamura
Michael Lambe says
Thank you for your message. The “Introducing Takaokaya” article was a guest post written for this website by another writer several years ago. I am not affiliated with the Takaokaya company and I am not personally familiar with their products. However, you can find their website online, and they have an online shop, which ships overseas, and which includes both the ojami and cojami that you mentioned in your message. Please check this link for more information: https://takaokaya-kyoto.com/
Good luck with your search!