$3975 usd
Mon Oct 9, 3:00 PM - Thu Oct 19, 6:00 PM (EDT)

Join us for 12 Days in Japan (rescheduled from May 2022)

Immerse yourself in an old Japanese textile tradition, while experiencing the excitement of Tokyo and the beauty of the mountains on this tour and retreat.

Located in the beautiful mountain village of Fujino, just outside of Tokyo, this 12 Day retreat is a master class introduction to Japanese textiles with a focus on indigo dyeing using shibori techniques and katazome stenciling. This workshop is perfect for designers, crafters, and anyone who enjoys or wants to learn about shibori stitching and dyeing. For those individuals considering setting up an indigo vat at home, this is an excellent opportunity to learn to make and maintain a non-fermented indigo vat. The material covered in the workshop is also a hands-on introduction to Japanese culture in general. The ideas and technical approaches to textile work share the same ethics and standards as Japanese artistic disciplines.

Everyone will need to arrive in Tokyo on _____( TBD) If possible we will meet at the airport, otherwise, you will need to meet at the hotel. Everyone should arrange to stay in the same hotel. (it makes it easier for us to all meet in the mornings before we head out for the day in Tokyo). I will try to get a hotel that also serves breakfast.

We will then travel by train to a mountain village outside the city for intensive indigo- dyeing workshop and cultural retreat. Our host and teacher has lived in Japan for over two decades and is an expert in Japanese textile crafts. We will stay at his 150-year-old silk-farming house where we'll learn about indigo dyeing using the Japanese techniques of shibori (resist) and katazome (stencil) dyeing. We'll also enjoy delicious home-cooked Japanese meals and unique cultural experiences.


An immersive, multi-day, hands-on introduction to the ancient Japanese tradition of indigo- dyeing using shibori and katazome dyeing techniques (You will come home with many completed projects!

Savoring and appreciating old Japanese textiles made by anonymous craftsmen gives you a glimpse into a distant, rich, unique cultural heritage.  It is a refreshing break from our consumer lives to know that people dedicate their lives to creating these unsigned masterpieces. There have been and are still artisans to whom self-promotion is an unknown practice. 

The workshop is for ten days. Once unpacked at the farmhouse, we start working on projects…… until it is time to pack to go home.

This workshop is a great introduction to general indigo dyeing and Japanese textiles. 

This is an excellent opportunity to learn the basics for those considering setting up an indigo vat at home. 

The material covered in the workshop is also a hands-on introduction to Japanese culture in general. The ideas and technical approaches to textile work share the same ethics and standards as Japanese artistic disciplines. I’ll share my insights into Japanese culture, history, and other wonderful things that have kept me in this country. 

The goal is to have the otters leave the workshop with a good-sized pile of indigo dyed fabric that can be used in future sewing projects. Ideal for quilters. I will share 29 years of experience working with indigo for each step of the dying process.  By the end of ten days, you will clearly understand how indigo works with the various additives of different kinds of dye vats and the reaction of indigo with different kinds of fabric.  

Most shibori techniques take many hours of preparatory stitching and binding. Our time is limited, so I will send each workshop member a small box with several shibori homework pieces to prepare before you arrive in Japan. The homework box will also contain some persimmon tannin paper and a special cutter knife to cut them with.

On a sunny day, we will visit my katazome teacher at his working studio. You will witness the astounding techniques and skills and the values and aesthetics that make Japanese textiles so interesting. This will also be an opportunity to learn more about and use (and smell) naturally fermenting indigo.

We will visit the Japanese Folkcraft Museum in Tokyo (http://www.mingeikan.or.jp/english/ ). This is the place to get back to the source of where everything Japanese derives. Understanding the origins of Japanese crafts and feeling and absorbing the subtle seasonal nuances will give you further insight into things Japanese. We will also visit several antique Japanese Textile shops in Tokyo.

Farmhouse Details:

The house sits on a relatively steep hill. It is not precisely ramshackle, but it was initially a barn...The guest rooms on the third floor were completed ten years ago. The rooms are comfortable and cozy. There are two bathrooms on the first floor and two showers/baths on the first floor. There is WiFi at the farmhouse. The staircases are not long but relatively steep. 

:Please be in reasonable physical shape. There are stairs and plenty of walking etc

There are two rooms on the first floor where I prioritize the stair-challenged and the hip replacement otters.

The farmhouse has five newly remodeled bedrooms on the upper level sleeping two persons per room in single twin beds. Double occupancy is required due to limited space. The shared bathrooms include two standard showers, a traditional Japanese bathhouse, and 3 Western-style toilets. Free wi-fi is provided.


There are healthy snacks, drinks, and fruit in the kitchen. If given notice in advance, I can try to accommodate some diet restrictions. Vegetarians ok.  We have tried over the years to accommodate all the food issues. I am sorry, but allergic-to-everything vegans...this is not the workshop for you. On the small scale of the live-in workshops, it is simply too difficult for us to handle particular dietary needs. Please tell me about any diet issues, and I will discuss them with Hiro, our beloved cook. He has the last word. Food is a big part of the workshops. We sit down and eat three meals a day with each other. 

I am a no-red-meat ( a slice of bacon a few times a year) vegetarian myself with a few allergies. I understand food issues but have to be reasonable with the cook. He can’t make three separate meals every evening. Please let me know well in advance of any dietary needs. T

 Breakfasts are simple: eggs, toast, cereals, fruits and yogurt, good coffee and tea. Simple with almost no processed foods is the policy. Some Japanese food but good old home cooking. No smoking in the house itself. The washing machine runs every day. It is cool until the end of May and from mid-October, so a warm sweater and your favourite warm socks are necessary.

2023 Fee : Approximately $3975pp

  • Includes

    Fee includes:
  • *    All fees for the workshops include materials.  
  • *    The homework box!
  • Ten nights accommodation at the farmhouse, double occupancy.) 
  • *     All breakfasts.
  • *   All transportation in Japan. From the time we meet on Monday morning until and including the return train tickets back to Tokyo station on day ten. Including trips to Tokyo. When we meet, Bryan will hand you a pre-paid train card and ask you to return it on the last day. 
  • *Folkcraft Museum Entrance fee.
  • *Cost of Indigo workshop in Hachioji.
  • *We have plenty of beer and wine at the house, but if you are a  heavy drinker or have some expensive taste in alcohol, there is a liquor shop not far away!
  • Admin fee for organizer


Excludes Airfare from USA (or your home city) to Narita Airport, Tokyo, Japan

  • Ground transportation from airport to hotel via Narita Express Train to Shinjiku (Approx. $32 each way)
  • Meals on travel days to/from Japan
  • Hotel in Tokyo
  • Personal sundries/shopping
  • Art supplies, textiles, papers
  • travel insurance
  • restaurant meals-- Some dinners will be decided on that particular day according to how we feel. Dinners in are covered. Dinners out are not covered. All restaurants will be reasonably priced

Any travel after workshop is completed ( there is a small group doing extended travel- itinary is availableExcludes:

Payment Terms:

·This trip is sold out- However you may join the waitlist. Currently the only way to participate is to buy out someone who is already registered and canceling their registration.

· All subsequent payments must be made with a check drawn on a US account or a bank transfer. You can pay with Venmo, a credit card or PayPal but any credit card or transaction fees will be added to your final payment. Thank you for your understanding on this. We simply cannot absorb the credit card fees on all of the payments. Note: Payment schedule has been suspended until we receive actual trip date verification)

FINAL PAYMENT MAY 2022- this final amount will be calculated according to yen value and adding any credit card fees- FINAL INVOICE WILL BE SENT OUT IN MAY 2022- FINAL PAYMENT will be due June 1, 2023 BY CHECK OR BANK TRANSFER

Refund Policy: Deposits are non-refundable and will be sent to Bryan to confirm your spot.. Balances paid are are ONLY refundable if the spot can be filled by someone on the wait list or you find someone to take your place and this new person pays you what you have already paid. We recommend purchasing private travel insurance if you are concerned with the possibility of cancelling your trip. (Note: must have correct insurance to cover pandemic


Travel to Japan:

  • Fly into Tokyo to arrive at least 3 days in advance
  • Arrive Japan in early evening; Take Narita Express train to Shinjuku Station
  • Check in to hotel; Dinner on your own

Day 1-: October 9, 2023 (Guide: Bryan)

Meet our guide & instructor, Bryan Whitehead, 10am

Take train to Fujino


Day 2-9- Workshop

Day 10- October 19, 2023- Leave Farmhouse

If you are returning to Tokyo, you will need to make a hotel reservation near Airport

Extended Stay
Anyone wishing to stay on in Tokyo or to continue to a new destination in or out of Japan on their own is welcome to do so. Everything beyond the workshop with Bryan is on your own. I can provide suggestions for additional sightseeing, shopping and trips. I will be continuing the trip for an additional time after leaving Fujino, if you are interested in going on the trip I am planning I will look for group rates for rooms and workshops, otherwise it is up to you to plan your extended trip

  • Travel Expenses: Hotels
  • Restaurants: Approx. $15 lunch, $25 dinner
  • Trains: Rail Pass or Bullet Train ( you will want to figure this out depending on where you are traveling)
  • JR passes must be purchased in US
  • WIFI
  • Tours and Workshops ( will need to prepay many)

  • Suzanne Connors
  • 3366934606