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April 7 - 20, 2023

 2023 Photo Journal - this way

In Japan, Nature held her breath. All longing was put to sleep in the stillness, and all was distilled into a clean simplicity. The smell of woodsmoke, the drift of incense; a procession of monks in black-and-gold robes, one of them giggling in a voice yet unbroken; a touch of spring in the air, a sense of gathering rain.”-- Pico Iyer

After more than two years of border closures, Japan has at last reopened to tourists. 

Japan: a unique culture steeped in history, moving at the speed of a bullet train. 

Through centuries of isolation, Japan claims arts, crafts, and textiles handed down from generation to generation. From 10,000 BCE’s first functional ceramic wares to today’s fine pieces of art, the essence of traditional crafts are embedded in Japanese culture. Japanese textiles, pottery and ceramics, lacquerware, metalworking, doll-making, woodworking and papermaking stand in a class of their own.


Whether you're marvelling at the geisha's fluid grace, pausing to inhale a perfectly brewed cup of sencha, or thrumming to the pulsating rhythm of Ginza, Japan has the power to captivate the most jaded traveller. On this 14-day tour timed to take in the spring Sakura (cherry blossom) festival, we will explore the best of Japan's culture, textiles, arts, crafts, and cuisine.


  • Tap into the spirit of artisans with intimate studio visits and workshops

  • FIVE hands on workshops in Washi papermaking, Kimono dyeing, Yuzen hand painting, Gold Leaf plate making, and Shibori

  • Master artisans' talks/demos on traditional textiles: Edo komon, Edo Sarasa, Kaga yuzen, Tsuzure-ori, Shibori, Sarashi

  • Demos/talks on folk crafts: Yamanaka lacquerware, Ando Japanese dolls, and indigo dyeing, 

  • Textile/arts and crafts museums and the best of formal Japanese gardens 

  • White Heron ‘Shirasagi no mai’ festival at Asakusa temple

  • Take in Zen meditation, Buddhist cuisine, and a Tea Ceremony

  • Home-visit and share meals with local families in rural Miyama

  • Explore 3 famous food markets: Tsukiji (Tokyo), Omicho (Kanazawa), and Nishiki (Kyoto)

  • Commune with nature in Mt Takao, soak in a Yamanaka Onsen, amidst the marvel of cherry blossoms *

  • Whizz off in Shinkansen (bullet train) and hop on public transportation like locals

  • Local shopping at Nippori textile street, Tokyo Antiques Market, Harajuku, and Arashiyama

  • Don a kimono and watch a Geisha show (optional)

  • Plenty of must-do experiences for first-time visitors: Arashiyama and Nara. And new ones for frequent Japan travellers 

  • Options for “non-textilers”

*A natural phenomenon whose timing cannot be guaranteed
We support Mirai no Mori, a not-for-profit organization for abused and neglected orphaned youth in Japan, supporting their growth into happy and successful young adults


Optional extension: Kumano Kodo Walking Trail 5 days 

Cost: USD 4950 pp double occupancy / add USD 1180 single supplement

***SMALL GROUP min 10/max 15***


  • Fully escorted by experienced local textile arts and crafts accredited guide, will accompany throughout

  • Accompanied by E.Y.H.O. founder-owner, Shila Desai

  • 11 nights accommodations in 3-4* hotels

  • 2 nights in Japanese Ryokan (traditional inn with natural hot springs) 

  • All transportation costs in public transport, high-speed trains, and private coach (Day 12) including airport shared shuttle transfers

  • 5 hands on workshops including materials, 4 studio visits, and talks

  • All entrance fees to museums, galleries, and studios 

  • Meals: all breakfasts, 3 lunches (Day 4, Day 9, Day 12) 3 dinners (Day1, Day7,Day 13) 

  • Luggage transfers 

What to expect

From the natural to human-made, ancient to contemporary, urban to rural, folk arts to high fashion, deceivingly simple to mind-boggling complexity . . . we will experience the many facets of this fascinating society that has evolved uniquely through centuries of isolation 

Textiles, textiles, textiles!

Through intimate studio visits and talks by master artisans, get your fix of time-honoured textile techniques of resist dyeing, dyeing with natural pigments, hand painting, brocade weaving, stencilling, "nail-weaving", and hand-spinning. As well as exciting modern textiles that embody the interplay of old practices and new technologies. 

Folk and contemporary arts & crafts

Celebrate Japan's arts and crafts culture--from mingei , the unsung heroes of everyday craftspeople to world renowned installations in select museums. Speaking of museums, we will visit several: gold leaf lacquer, 21st C. Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto Museum of Craft and Design, Indigo Museum, and more. 

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Hands-on workshops

For the deeper appreciation that comes from working on a technique with your own hands, we will take in FIVE hands-on workshops, carefully chosen to represent five of the seven major types of Japanese arts and crafts: textiles, pottery and ceramics, lacquerware, metalworking, doll-making, woodworking and papermaking.

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Sakura season

If you're going all the way to Japan, go for its most beautiful natural phenomenon. For over a 1000 years, Sakura has garnered nationwide adoration. The short, enigmatic emergence of the blooms is a meditation on life, death, renewal and the ephemeral nature of being. Celebrated in Japanese literature, poetry and art; scrolled into the swords of samurai; symbol of fallen soldiers, new beginnings and friendship.

Note: Impossible to guarantee Sakura but tour is well timed to coincide with several blooming spots. 

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Local Markets

Specialised textile markets, antiques shopping, traditional shops for notions and remnants, contemporary fabrics . . . these stops will delight the "crafty" ones! Since many places stay open until late, we will endeavour to visit them later in the evening after the day's sightseeing so you can browse at your leisure. 

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Cultural double hit

Kyoto, as the storehouse of Japan's traditional culture, is a given. Outstanding pottery, kimono, doll-making, lacquerware, woodblock printing, and more. We also visit oft-overlooked Kanazawa, with its best preserved Edo architecture, spectacular Kenroku-en Gardens, and regional crafts of gold leaf, porcelain, delicate embroidery, and colourful washi umbrellas.

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Traditional ryokans

Our accommodations include charming ryokans (traditional inns) for a taste of classical Japanese life. Tatami matted floors, shoji sliding doors, onsen (hot springs and baths), zen-inducing surroundings, and tea ceremonies remind us that no matter how modern Japan may appear, its beating heart is tradition.  

Culinary Beats 

A given on every E.Y.H.O. tour since we are huge foodies! Explore famous food markets in Tokyo, Kanazawa and Kyoto. Entire districts given over to the pursuit of the inner gourmand. Buddhist cuisine at shrines. Meals with local families and tiny eateries for connecting over the food of an exacting culture. Get ready for culinary immersion!

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Natural world, human interpretation 

Explore tucked away rural beauty spots, gorges and waterfalls, and mountainsides bathed in cherry blossoms. We will also take in exquisitely landscaped formal gardens, celebrated bamboo groves, and Shinto shrines, including a farming experience with local families in Miyama.

Must-see sights 

Whether you're a Japan rookie or old hand, certain sights are so embedded in the Japanese psyche that they bear repeat visits. Nara, Arashiyama, Deer Park, stone lantern park, giant Buddhas, Fushimi Inari shrine .... these icons of Japan will stay with you as cherished  memories long after the return home

what our travellers say

Image by Svetlana Gumerova

Sherie Y., San Fransisco

“My fourth trip to Japan and everything is better than before. Exceptional and authentic workshops, and stellar selections for itinerary, accommodations and guides. My friends that have traveled with me before are going to be so jealous when they see my photos! ” 

Image by Nicki Eliza Schinow

Mary P., California

I came away from this trip to Japan with a greater knowledge of Japanese culture, history and beauty.

I am grateful for the vision to achieve such a comprehensive trip, and particularly to you who made all the arrangements. 

Thank you!

Image by Ash Edmonds

Ruthellen H., Calif.

The content has been amazing. Yesterday’s home visits were a wonderful experience for all three of the groups. Visiting that area was a highlight of the trip for all. 
This has been a great experience for everyone. Thanks so much for all the planning!

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