Craft-Inn-Te-indigo-room-tapestry

 Craft Inn 手 [té]: An Immersive Art Experience in Yame, Fukuoka 

Yame: a City of Crafts and Tradition 

A lot of people come to Japan for the glitzy lights and bustling craze typically found in the streets of Osaka and Tokyo. But far away on the island of Kyushu, a small city called Yame offers visitors a very different scene. 

In Yame’s Fukushima District, traditional white-washed buildings line the quiet streets with small craft stores interspersed. Walking by, one may see a craftsman inside, working diligently to perfect their trade. This was an area of merchants and crafts during the Edo period that continues on today.

No maid cafes, towering Karaoke clubs, or mega malls here. Instead, a blanket of calm and quiet fills the air. Since Kyushu, let alone Yame, Fukuoka, is rarely a spot people add to their Japan itineraries, it is a hidden gem, especially for those interested in Japanese art, architecture, or tea.

When my mother came to Kyushu, I decided to take her to Yame as we both have an interest in crafts and were looking for a unique experience without all the crowds.

We stayed at Craft Inn 手 (pronounced Craft Inn Te), a traditional Japanese inn that offers immersive art visits. It was a wonderful place that made the trip to Yame worth it!

Continue reading to see what the trip was like.

While in the area we also visited to a local indigo workshop for a hands-on indigo dyeing experience. See the video below for a peek at our indigo weekend!

Book your stay at Craft Inn 手 [té] here!

This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission if you purchase through my links, at no extra cost to you. Please read the full disclosure for more information. Additionally, I received a discount for this stay as I am affiliated with the establishment. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Craft Inn 手 [té] – Traditional Inn in Yame

Craft Inn 手 [té] is a Japanese-style inn that immerses its guests in a world of traditional Japanese crafts, particularly those of woodwork, bamboo-work, indigo textiles, lanterns, and washi paper. 

Indigo dyed table

Inside the renovated traditional buildings, guests will find welcoming and spacious two-story rooms filled with furnishings and decorations that highlight the work of the local craftspeople. 

Washi Room – lounge

There are three different rooms you can stay in at Craft Inn Te: the Washi Room, the Indigo Room, and the Bamboo Room. True to their name, each showcases crafts and furnishings made by local artisans.

Bamboo Room – lounge

A stay at Craft Inn Te is different than at ryokans since here, the purpose is to interact and immerse yourself in the art.

Sip Yamecha (tea made in the Yame region) and enjoy sweets over a beautiful, indigo-dyed table, or cozy up with a book about Kyushu crafts while sitting atop a handwoven bamboo chair.

These are just some examples of how you can enjoy yourself and the uniquely designed spaces at Craft Inn Te.

The Indigo Room

With such distinctive rooms to choose from, it was hard to decide where to spend our night. However, because my mom has a hobby in quilting and patchwork, and blue is my favorite color, the Indigo Room seemed the perfect choice.

Upon entering the inn, you are greeted with rows of books and products made by local artisans. These can be browsed during your stay which makes for leisurely reading, albeit mostly in Japanese.

Books and products to browse

When I first entered the Indigo Room, its beauty and size left me in awe.

Craft-inn-te-yame-entryway

The room was clean and spacious, and accented with pieces of art one could tell was bursting with history and story. 

Tatami room

Unique to the Indigo Room was a breathtaking indigo-dyed woven tapestry, hand-woven seat cushions featuring striking geometric designs, and other touches of indigo-dyed art.

Indigo-dyed, hand-woven tapestry

Tatami Room

The first floor of the room features a big tatami area for dining and relaxing. In the center of the room is a large wooden table, tinted deep blue as it was dyed in indigo.

Tea and sweets on an indigo-dyed table

Atop this table, learn to brew delicious local tea yourself and enjoy the colorful breakfast in the morning. 

Bathroom

Wood floors lead from the tatami room to the bathroom. The main star here is the large cedar bath which was made by a local bucket producer. When filled, is a great place to unwind from the day.

Craft-inn-te-yame-bathroom

Bedroom and Lounge

Upstairs, past the wooden sliding doors is the sleeping space where fluffy futon beds await.

Craft-Inn-Te-indigo-room-bedroom

Up here, there is also a small space for lounging – complete with another indigo-dyed table. 

Craft-Inn-Te-upstairs-lounge
Upstairs lounge space

It was at this table that my mother enjoyed flipping through books about the building’s renovation and of various Kyushu crafts.

I realized that Craft Inn Te was not only a place to enjoy and relax, but a place where I could deepen my learning and appreciation for Kyushu crafts. 

Traditional mud wall plastering

In the evening, after a relaxing time in the cedar bath, I cozied up in the provided room wear. While yukatas – long thin robes – are typically provided at ryokans, at Craft Inn Te, soft cotton shirts, flowy Monpe pants, and a poofy and warm hanten jacket were provided.

Hanten room wear

The hanten jacket is the Japanese equivalent of a short western bathrobe. It is warm but easy to move in, making it perfect winter wear for around the home. I loved the hanten jacket so much, I highly considered purchasing one for myself. 

Room notes: Stairs separated the sleeping room and bathroom and the walls were a little on the thin side. The streets of Yame were relatively quiet so it was not a problem, but if other guests are noisy, you may be able to hear them.

Meals

Dinner was not included in the room, so we went to Hayama, an izakaya that specializes in duck dishes. We ordered a grilled duck set as well as a hot pot set. It’s not often that I get to eat duck, so I enjoyed the treat and was full by the time we left.

Grilled duck

If you aren’t a duck fan, here are some other places to check out: Tsuruya (udon), Hitosara (a restaurant owned by a sake shop), and Sakata (another izakaya). Places can fill up, so make reservations early.

Our booking did include breakfast which was served in the first-floor tatami room the next morning. Removing the lid from the bamboo basket, we were met with an assortment of colorfully prepared, nutritious dishes. 

Breakfast

It was fun to try all the small bites of food, savoring the flavors and unique textures of each. Breakfast in Japan is much different than in Western countries, so this is a great way to experience an interesting cultural difference!

Getting to Craft Inn Te

While the easiest and most direct way to get to Craft Inn Te is by car, we were still able to arrive by public transportation.

Using the JR Line:

Using the Nishitetsu Line:

Things to Do in (and Around) Yame

In addition to staying in the Indigo room, my mom and I had the chance to participate in an Indigo dyeing workshop tour and experience. This was arranged for us through the staff at Craft Inn Te which made things easy and straightforward.

Indigo-dyed-art-panels

Learn more about our experience here! (See the tour page and sign up yourself here)

Yame is also famous for its high-quality gyokuro green tea and draws enthusiasts from around the world. With a car, you can visit specialty tea areas like Hoshino Furasato Tea Museum and view the sprawling tea fields at the Yame Central Tea Plantation.

If you have a bike, you can peddle your way there too! (Bikes with gears or electric bikes recommended).

Make, taste, and purchase Yamecha near Craft Inn Te at places like Maruyasabou and Yabeya Konomi Honke, the oldest tea wholesaler in Kyushu, dating back to the 1700s.

If you are into indigo dyeing and weaving, here is another fantastic experience where you get to dye and weave your own small indigo coaster.

When it comes to souvenirs, Unagi no Nedoko is the perfect place to stop by. Here you will find a wide assortment of products made by local producers. If you liked any of the products in the room during your stay at Craft Inn Te, you can most likely find them here to purchase for yourself.

There are two Unagi no Nedoko stores along the same street. This one sells mostly home goods, while this one sells more clothing items.

There are other small shops around the town area, so make sure to explore!

I picked up a beautiful paper lamp at a store called Cocolan. It features delicately hand-painted designs on a soft washi background.

Final Thoughts

I’ve stayed in various ryokans around Japan, but Craft Inn Te is certainly special in how traditional Japanese crafts and culture can be enjoyed in such an intimate way.

From the delicious breakfast rich in color and nutrients to the furnishings that highlighted the indigo work of local craftsmen, the entire experience was overall very lovely. My mom said it was her highlight of the trip!

It is a great place to connect with crafts and knowing that there are two other rooms I have yet to stay in, I look forward to trying them out next time I am in Yame. 

Sound like a place you want to experience yourself? Book here!

Other Fukuoka Day Trips and Weekend Trips

I hope this guide was helpful in learning more about a fantastic place to stay in Yame, Fukuoka! This area makes for a great weekend trip especially if paired with tea tasting or an indigo experience.

See my recommendations for other trips in and around Kyushu below!


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