Japan Textiles Tour
10 – 22 September 2018

Japan overview collage

Shibori, indigo dyeing, sashiko embroidery, boro textiles, saori weaving, yuzen painting, botanical dyeing, kimonos, geisha, tea ceremony, temples, shrines, onsen …

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 and textile museums, enjoy five hands-on workshops (saori weaving, shibori, botanical dyeing, wax and indigo dyeing and yuzen fabric painting), visit sashiko and indigo artisan studios, indulge in fabulous fabric and textiles shopping, explore magnificent scenery and architecture and experience traditional Japanese culture. Plus so much more.

This 13 day women’s textiles tour, hosted by retreat|recreate and fully escorted by a local Japanese and English-speaking guide, commences with five days in Tokyo where highlights include visits to handcraft and textile museums including one specialising in boro textiles, shopping in Tokyo’s famous Fabric Town and experiencing Tokyo’s best temples and shrines.  Of course we also include time to explore the Shibuya, Shinjuku and Asakusa districts.  Two of our classes (saori weaving and wax & indigo fabric dyeing) are held in Tokyo. Plus we’ll take you to our favourite shops, a folk arts & crafts museum and a truly inspiring sashiko artist’s home and gallery.

We travel by bullet train to Japan’s traditional shibori village where we’ll enjoy a shibori (Japanese tie dye) class before spending the night in Nagoya.  We continue on to Kyoto to stroll the famous Philosopher’s Path and take in some of the most important Zen temples in the country, including the justly famous Golden Pavilion. We’ll have private classes in yuzen painting and botanical dyeing, experience a traditional tea ceremony and wander through beautiful Gion one evening, 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. On the way back we’ll stop at the beautiful bamboo groves of Arashiyama and enjoy an onsen (hot springs bath). We’ll visit a silk textiles centre, another indigo master’s studio, a museum specialising in the handcrafts of Kyoto and the house and studio of a famous ceramicist in the pottery district. Our final day in Kyoto includes exploring the city’s best monthly flea market plus a dusk visit to the magical Fushimi Inari Shrine before our farewell dinner.


  • twelve nights accommodation as per the itinerary
  • meals as per the itinerary (daily breakfasts, 3 lunches, 3 dinners)
  • local English speaking guide throughout the tour
  • all transport, sightseeing attractions (museums, galleries, etc) and excursions as per the itinerary
  • five hands-on workshops and classes
  • luggage transfers from Tokyo to Kyoto
  • arrival airport transfer

Not included 

  • international airfares
  • travel insurance (required)
  • early check in or late check out
  • meals and drinks not included in the itinerary
  • personal spending
  • tip for guide
  • optional onsen (hot springs bath)
  • departure airport transfer

Things to note

  • the tour comprises 12 nights/13 days and operates from Monday 10 – Saturday 22 September 2018. The itinerary is a full one to ensure value for money, however some free periods are built in. The opportunity exists to extend your trip by extra nights at our hotels in Tokyo before or Kyoto after the tour;
  • the arrival airport transfer may not be included in the price if you book pre tour accommodation at a hotel other than the Tokyo tour hotel;
  • 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;
  • your retreat|recreate host on this trip will be Susan Rees-Osborne. Our local guide will be confirmed closer to departure;
  • TripAdvisor rates our hotels at 3.5 star. We also stay two nights 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 may be shared;
  • please consider your mobility/fitness levels to determine if this trip is right for you. The tour comprises travel on public transport and involves much walking. Participants need to be able to manage their own luggage. The weather may be warm to hot. Ryokan accommodation comprises futon bedding on tatami mats on the floor;
  • our group size is 12 women;
  • retreat|recreate welcomes women from all over the globe – all ethnicities,  backgrounds, beliefs and cultures.  We welcome women of diverse sexualities and those who identify as women,   Flexibility and a sense of humour are encouraged when travelling as part of a group. 

What our travellers had to say about this trip:

I had the most amazing time in Japan on retreat|recreate’s textile tour. What an extraordinary place full of contrasts. We enjoyed several workshops including saori weaving, indigo dyeing etc, visits to artists studios, museums, fabric and yarn shops, magical temples and shrines, and tasted the most delicious food. Our local guide was absolutely delightful, very organised, knowledgeable and fun! I now have 12 new friends in my fellow travellers and look forward to the next time I join retreat|recreate on tour.  Sue – Japan 2018 

I have been on two retreat|recreate tours now (Bali & Japan) and both have been totally memorable. Everything is so well organised, the tour group is small and attended by kindred spirits. Susan and Susan have thought of every detail and make every effort to create and execute a fabulous textile and cultural experience. Can’t wait to go on the next one.   Melinda – Japan 2018 and Bali 2016