Monday, 4 February 2013

Tokyo International Quilt Festival 2013

What a show, the biggest quilt show in the world, with between 35 000 and 45 000 visitors per day going through the doors.
The show is held in The Tokyo Dome, which is just a 5 minute walk from The Tokyo Dome hotel and conveniently close to Starbucks.  From arriving at the doors, where orderly queues are moving slowly forward, through security, where you are politely asked if it is okay to search your bag, then through the revolving doors past the lockers and food and drinks kiosks, where you are guided to the steps going down the seating area into the stadium, you are aware that this is a very well organised and well run event.

Inside the Dome

Not spectators, lunch timers

Again, not spectators, visitors resting before returning to hotels or homes 

Hardly any Westerners around, but we were immediately welcomed and given English translations of the guide maps.  Two magazines are available for purchase, one with photos in of all the quilts in the show and another with all the award winning quilts in the show.  These were duly purchased at the end of the day in order to avoid carrying around all day, also after realising that taking photos of quilts without people parts in it would be near impossible, even though at only 5ft2, for the first time in my life, I could easily see over the heads of most other spectators (LOL).

Spent the first morning going around looking at all the quilts on display, started with framed quilts, then moved on to bags before braving the crowds at the traditional quilts section. Next attempted to get a look at the award winners, but no chance, couldn't get close enough to read the names let alone see any detail, so decided to move on to Modern quilts.  By now it was time for a break, so met up with lovely Lynda from Newcastle to have a coffee and what we thought was going to be a lovely ham sandwich (turned out to be a pork schnitzel between 2 slices of bread, which we ate long toothed, having spotted the egg and ham salad sandwiches which our waiter called vegetable sandwich, which came with some lovely crisps too - we didn't get any, so made a resolution to order the 'vegetable' sandwiches tomorow).
 Now time to visit some of the vendors, with first stop Yoko Saito's stall (I have after all come to buy fabrics to do her Mystery Quilt). Spent the best part of the afternoon here, being jostled to and fro between eager customers - as polite as the Japanese ladies are under normal circumstances, if there is competition for fabric, it is everyone for themselves with elbows flying in all directions.  Having made my not inconsiderable purchases here, I head up the steps to the locker rooms to offload my bags before returning for some more vendor support and bumped into Scottish Lorna, who is very keen not to waste time talking and just get back down to shopping.
Decided to tackle sections D and E of the Vendors, before returning to the hotel for supper. Just managed it in time before the show closed at 6.30pm.

My shopping after day 1

Day 2 and I decided to do vendors in sections A,B and C first today before going around quilts on display, as I noticed yesterday that it quietened down later in the day at the quilts. Even more jostling today than yesterday, and some of the aisles are so crowded that you can hardly move.  Decided to start at the furthest point from the entrance but not really any better, so just persevered and moved slowly along.  Had lunch with Lorna, Lynda and Janette and had lovely 'vegetable' sandwiches with crisps this time.  After lunch looked at the rest of the quilts on display that I have not seen before, before meeting up with Lorna and returning to the hotel.
Had free time to do what we wanted on the third day, so returned to the show for last minute shopping with Lynda and Lorna and had another walk around all the wonderful quilts on display.
There are so many wonderful quilts on show that it is really hard to decide which photos to post here, but I have had to make a decision, so here is my selection of quilts that I have enjoyed seeing the most:

Framed or Wall hangings:

Very quirky flamingoes

Came second in this category

Royal Wedding

Love this one

The one I would most like to do

So much fun


In no particular order, some with detail

 Other more modern quilts:

Embroidered obi at the show


  1. WOW...thank you so much for not only the great pictures, but the wonderful story of your visit. I never realized that the "dome" was a sports arena, a great idea---there are never enough spaced to sit and rest! These quilts are works of art, for sure...JoAnn

  2. Thank you for your comment, the standard of the quilts were very high, I took so many photos and it was quite hard to decide which ones to put on here. I am really glad you enjoyed looking at them

  3. I loved all the detail about visiting the show and Japan. I'm an admirer of the great skill Japanese quilters exhibit at this show and would give my right arm to go to the Tokyo dome to see it in person. The crowds you describe sound intense...Are you truely able examine the quilts closely or does one have to be content seeing 5 heads back?

    1. The crowds are intense. We found that the best time to get up close to the quilts were later on in the day. It was pretty quiet during lunch times (who needs lunch?) and at about 4pm when tiredness kicks in and day trippers are thinking about journeys home (that's when I took most of my photos. The show was wonderful and worth going to Japan just for that :-)

  4. Hello - shouldn't each quilt be credited with the artist's name?

    1. Jane, you are right and if I had taken photos at any other show, I would where possible have included the maker. In Japan however, the maker's name is written not in English but in Japanese style, which unfortunately I am not able to understand or replicate

    2. Oh, of course. Interesting! I often see beautiful Japanese quilts on Pinterest with no artist identified and this is why. How wonderful for you to be able to attend the show.

    3. Very lucky indeed, would love to go again :-)

  5. Thank you for the photographs for such gorgeous work

  6. Gracias por compartir estas hermosos trabajos, esto si es arte y talento.

  7. Wonderful. Thank you. I am researching comments on the Tokyo quilt festival over recent years before deciding to go. Your words were very helpful.