Around the fourth day a kind of skin starts to appear on the surface of the liquid; this is known as 'Ai-no-hana' (flower of the indigo).

This indicates that it is time to make the second addition of lime (Naka-ishi).

(9) Add 'Fusuma'

The starch in the fusuma (wheat bran) provides food for the bacteria. It needs to be cooked with water first.

When I asked Mr. Murata "Can't you add fusuma directly in the powder form?" he answered immediately "Could _you_ eat it that way?" He states that Fusuma is alive and strongly recommends that you use your common sense when you have any questions about Aidate!

(10) Add ash lye


Ash lye is added every day to maintain the alkalinity. A large 'Ai-no-hana' can be seen floating on the surface of the liquid.

(11) Tome-ishi

When the Ai-no-hana indicates that enough indigo has dissolved into the liquid, lime is added for the third and final time. (Tome-ishi).

The solution is now ready for use and dyeing can begin the next day.


This is the perfect condition for dyeing.

A professional dyer can tell the maturity of the solution from the color of the Ai-no-hana, the skin layer color, smell, .... etc.

Kosoen has eight of these traditional vats and each has its own numbered lid.

Mr. Murata says that the solution in each vat is alive and has its own condition; an entire batch could be ruined by putting the lid from another vat on it. The orange square shows the location of the electric heater which maintains the temperature of the solution in the vats.

to Aidate Part1