Japan Textiles Tour
27 August – 6 September 2017

Japan overview collage

Shibori, indigo dyeing, sashiko, boro, saori weaving, yuzen, kimonos, geisha, tea ceremonies, temples, shrines, onsen… and much, much more

Are you fascinated by Japanese textiles?  Join our small group of like-minded textile-enthused women for the experience of a lifetime, travelling to Japan to visit specialist handcraft museums and artisan indigo and textile studios, undertake hands-on weaving, shibori workshops and yuzen stencil dyeing workshops, visit sashiko, indigo, silk art and kimono galleries, explore magnificent scenery and architecture and experience traditional Japanese culture. Plus so much more.

This 11 day women’s textiles tour, hosted by ‘retreat|recreate’ and fully escorted by an English-speaking local guide, commences with four days in Tokyo where highlights include a wander through one of the city’s fabulous flea markets, visits to museums including one specialising in boro textiles, shopping in Tokyo’s famous Fabric Town and undertaking a saori (freestyle handloom weaving) workshop.  Our itinerary includes Tokyo’s best temples and shrines and of course includes time to explore the Shibuya, Shinjuku and Harajuku districts.

Leaving Tokyo, we will visit one of Japan’s premier sashiko embroidery studios and spend the night on the shores of a beautiful lake with spectacular views of Mount Fuji.  A visit to a fascinating kimono and silk art gallery in the wooded hills nearby is included before we head to Kyoto.  There we’ll stroll the famous Philosophers Path and take in some of the most important Zen temples in the country, including the justly famous Golden Pavilion. We’ll take workshops in yuzen stencil-dyeing (optional) and shibori dyeing (included), experience a traditional tea ceremony and visit a handmade fabrics museum. A highlight will be an evening wander through beautiful Gion, enjoying its traditional wooden houses and tea shops and maybe glimpsing local geiko and maiko (geisha).  A special day trip into the mountains takes us to a rural village of traditional thatched-roof farmhouses where we are privileged to be able to meet a master indigo dyer and visit his workshop and gallery. This particular dyer has been described as one of the most seminal textile artists of today. Our final day in Kyoto includes a visit to the magical Fushimi Inari Shrine and an optional onsen experience (hot springs bath) before our farewell dinner.

The itinerary is a full one to ensure value for money however some free periods are built in. The tour also begins on a Sunday and ends on a Wednesday, allowing guests to extend their time pre/post tour by a day or two if they wish to pursue additional activities (eg. more shopping, ceramics/papercraft/other artisan studios and workshops, myriad other cultural experiences such as palaces, museums and galleries). A list of suggested shops, venues and activities will be provided to guests closer to departure. Our tour partner can also assist with pre and post tour accommodation and flights if required.

Included in price

  • local English speaking guide throughout the tour
  • all transport, sightseeing attractions (museums, galleries, etc), two hands-on workshops (shibori and weaving) and excursions as per the itinerary
  • 10 nights accommodation as per the itinerary
  • meals as per the itinerary (daily breakfasts, 1 lunch, 3 dinners)
  • luggage transfers from Tokyo to Kyoto
  • return shared airport transfers

Not included in price

  • international airfares
  • visas if applicable (not required for Australian, NZ, Canadian, UK & US passport holders)
  • travel insurance (required)
  • early check in or late check out
  • meals and drinks not included in the itinerary
  • expenditure of a personal nature
  • tips and gratuities
  • activities listed as optional (yuzen stencil dyeing workshop on Day 7, onsen bath on Day 10)

Things to note

  • the tour comprises 10 nights/11 days and operates from Sunday 27 August – Wednesday 6 September 2017. The opportunity exists to extend your trip by extra nights at our hotels in Tokyo before or Kyoto after the tour;
  • the shared shuttle airport transfers may not be included in the price if you book pre/post tour accommodation at hotels other than those used in the tour;
  • retreat|recreate strives to offer culturally, environmentally and economically sustainable tours. To this end, we: engage local guides; partner with a wholesale tour operator whose values align with ours; use public transport where possible; patronise local women’s co-ops and associations where possible; include a carbon offset in the tour price;
  • retreat|recreate’s tours are offered in partnership with a fully licensed, globally recognised and well resourced tour operator for your (and our) peace of mind;
  • the final detailed itinerary with locations and venues will be providedupon booking;
  • our Tokyo, Kyoto and lakeside hotel accommodations are rated 3-4 star. We also stay one night (Day 6) in a traditional ‘ryokan’ Japanese inn where guests sleep on futons on the floor. Please note the single supplement does not apply at the ryokan accommodation as rooms will be shared;
  • please consider your mobility/fitness levels when booking. The tour comprises travel on public transport, private coach and walking. Ryokan accommodation comprises futon bedding on tatami mats on the floor;
  • our group size is approximately 12 women;
  • retreat|recreate’s tour groups welcome women from all over the globe and embrace all ages, origins and personalities. Flexibility and a sense of humour are encouraged when travelling as part of a group.