Overview

This bespoke craft tour of Japan is focusing on a range of traditional crafts with the opportunity for hands on learning experiences with the masters of sashiko, temari, indigo and stencil dyeing, washi paper, and Kurume kasuri. The tour visits famous sites, cities, towns, villages and textile establishments on the main island of Honshu and the southwestern island of Kyushu. 

Your Tour Leader

 

Yves Al-Ghazi first became interested in Japanese textiles in 2017 while working closely with Jane MacDonald of BeBe Bold in Australia. Having worked previously as a research scientist on cotton plants, Yves has had a long-term interest in textile production, right down to how material is grown from seed. Yves was inspired to start BeBe Bold in France in 2018 catering to European interest in Japanese Textile.

Highlights

  • Tour the Yokohama Quilt Festival 
  • Craft a temari 
  • Visit Akie Ginza’s Sashiko Museum 
  • View the Kubota Kimono Collection at Itchiku Kubota Museum
  • Enjoy a stencil dyeing workshop with textile designer Yumi Ishikita
  • Learn traditional sashiko techniques from a talented teacher in Kyoto
  • Visit the spectacular Kinkakuji and Ryoanji Temples in Kyoto
  • Participate in a roketsu (indigo) dyeing workshop
  • Learn how to paint fabric for Yuzen dyeing
  • Visit specialist stores in Kyoto such as the hard to find needle shop
  • Enjoy an all-day aizome workshop and learn about Kurume kasuri
  • Tour the Shimogawa weaving studio
  • Learn how to make artisan paper in a washi studio
  • Visit a Yame green tea plantation

Tour Itinerary

Day 1 Sat 26 Oct Arrive Fukuoka

Make your own way to hotel in Fukuoka.

Gather for a welcome dinner and meet your fellow textile enthusiasts. (D)

Day 2 Sun 27 Oct Fukuoka - Yanagawa

Visit Shimogawa Weaving Design Studio in Yame where you can see 20 vintage looms in action. Be intrigued by the contemporary take on the traditional Kurume kasuri and take the opportunity to purchase this quality textile. Sample the famous Yame green tea when we stop at a plantation for Yame-cha. (B, D)

Day 3 Mon 28 Oct Yanagawa – Yame - Yanagawa

Travel to Yame for a full day workshop to learn aizome, the traditional indigo dyeing process used to produce the threads for Kurume kasuri. Gain insight into materials used, fermentation process, and pattern design used for this beautiful regional craft. Expand your knowledge with a visit to Unagi No Nedoko – a shop dedicated to the sustainability of its artisans and the local culture. Learn about the Monpe Project – an inspiring collaboration between Unagi No Nedoko, weavers and dyers. (B, D)

Day 4 Tue 29 Oct Yanagawa – Yame - Yanagawa

Visit Yame Traditional Crafts Centre now with a deeper understanding of local crafts. Enjoy a workshop making artisan paper. Visit a traditional weaver before return to Yanagawa. (B)

Day 5 Wed 30 Oct Yanagawa – Hakata - Hiroshima

Travel to Hakata Station for train to Hiroshima, where we visit a needle supplier. Enjoy a unique Okonomiyaki dinner experience. Not only learn to cook Hiroshima's most famous food, okonomiyaki, but also gain a deeper understanding of Japanese culture during this dinner experience. (B, D)

Day 6 Thu 31 Oct Hiroshima - Okayama

A brief visit to Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum before travelling to Yumi Ishikita’s Textile Design studio and enjoy learning her stencil dyeing technique. Continue travelling to Okayama for overnight. (B)

Day 7 Fri 1 Nov Okayama - Kyoto

Visit Koraku-en Garden, one of the top three gardens in Japan, then explore Okayama Prefectural Museum of Art. After lunch, travel by Shinkansen to Kyoto. (B, L)

Day 8 Sat 2 Nov Kyoto

Visit the Kyoto Museum of Traditional Crafts, commonly known as the Fureaikan, to be further inspired in your craft journey. Create your own Yuzen painting/dyeing masterpiece at today’s workshop. Take the chance to stroll around the Gion District and hope to glimpse geisha in this famous quarter of Kyoto. (B, L)

Day 9 Sun 3 Nov Kyoto 

Visit the spectacular Kinkakuji Temple also known as the Golden Pavilion. Enjoy the calm beauty of the UNESCO World Heritage Ryoanji Temple Rock Garden. After the sightseeing, participate in a Roketsu (indigo) dyeing workshop using a traditional wax-resist method. (B, L)

Day 10 Mon 4 Nov Kyoto

After breakfast, attend a Sashiko workshop with Ms Yoshikawa Kazue. Afternoon is at leisure. (B)

Day 11 Tue 5 Nov Kyoto – Lake Kawaguchiko

Take the Shinkansen (bullet train) to Odawara and travel by coach to Lake Kawaguchiko. Spend the evening enjoying a view of Mt Fuji from the hotel onsen (hot spring). (B, D)

Day 12 Wed 6 Nov Lake Kawaguchiko - Tokyo

Leave Lake Kawaguchiko for Tokyo making two stops along the way. Visit Akie Ginza’s remarkable Sashiko Museum in the small village of Hinohara and Itchiku Kubota Museum to see the stunning Kubota Kimono Collection. (B)

Day 13 Thu 7 Nov Tokyo

Participate in a popular temari making workshop to create a traditional symbolic gift. We then take in a panoramic view of Tokyo from Tokyo Metro Government Building followed by free time to explore and rest. (B)

Day 14 Fri 8 Nov Tokyo

A full day visit to Yokohama Quilt Festival. Tonight, gather for a farewell dinner. (B, D)

Day 15 Sat 9 Nov Depart Tokyo

Say farewells at a final breakfast to conclude the tour and follow independently made plans for onward/return travel. (B)

TOUR PRICE (LAND ONLY IN EURO)

Per person in twin share: €5,995

Single room supplement: €1,180

Tour deposit per person: €800

INCLUSIONS

  • Twin share accommodation for 14 nights at well-appointed hotels 
  • Train from Hakata to Hiroshima, Okayama to Kyoto and Kyoto to Odawara
  • Private chartered coach during tour for travel detailed in the itinerary
  • Workshops and entrance fees for activities included in the itinerary
  • An English-speaking guide for the duration of the tour
  • Meals as stated in the itinerary 

EXCLUSIONS

  • International flights to and from Japan
  • Arrival & departure airport/hotel transfers
  • Gratuities to guide and/or driver
  • Travel insurance
  • Personal expenses
  • Anything not mentioned above