Fantastic fabrics

Established in 1889, Dong Xuan Market is Hanoi’s largest indoor market and is crammed to the rafters with a bewildering array of goods from fresh produce, plastic hair accessories and makeup to electronics and household appliances.

Let’s explore just a small section of it below – the fabric floor!

Being the daughter of an immensely talented, fully qualified tailor did not, alas, imbue me with any noticeable sewing talents, but I do share my mum’s love of a good fabric!

And they don’t come any better than here . . . in this maze of tiny shops and endless expanses of coloured cloth – it’s tiring work, just check out the man below if you don’t believe me!

Every colour of the rainbow is here and every type of fabric, from tulle and satin to lace and cotton.

Whether it’s patterned or plain, embroidered, weaved or stitched, you’ll find something to oooh and ahhh over (if you’re a fabric nerd like me!)

It can be hard to find space to walk between the narrowly packed in stalls, so shop owners just crawl and climb over their vast stock.

So many choices! Another place I had to be literally dragged out of . .. but never fear, there’s LOTS more markets still to come 🙂

Tiny trams and kimono forests

We’re headed to see some cheeky monkeys and a kimono forest next but in order to get there we’re heading on an adorable little tram line known as Randen.


The Randen tramline was founded in 1910. It’s been running for over 100 years and runs from Shijo Omiya to Arashiyama and Kitano Hakubaicho.

The Randen Line operated by Keifuku Electric Railroad and is considered the last tram line in Kyoto.


I get over excited by the little display of everyone’s favourite depressed egg yolk Gudetama at the tram station!

Dismebarking at Arashiyama we make a brief visit to the kimono forest at the station.


It is a wonderful display made up of pieces of colourful textiles dyed in the traditional Kyo-yuzen style.

There are approximately 600 examples of Kyo Yuzen in perspex pillars with around 32 different patterns.

It’s a fantastical, colourful slice of tradition but also whimsy. I loved it!


Also you can take a look at the Atagoike Dragon Pond. This is where people come to pray and make wishes.


Here’s a close up of just a few of the sumptuous Yuzen patterns.

The forest is lit up at night which makes it even more ethereal and beautiful. It’s also completely free to visit – tourist bonus!