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Japan 2025

$ 3900 usd
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Mon, Apr 28, 2025, 9:00 AM EDT – Thu, May 8, 2025, 12:00 PM EDT
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Japan 2025

Join us for 10 Days in Japan ( plus optional extended Japan travel)

April 28, 2025- May 8, 2025

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 10 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, 1-3 days prior to going to the farmhouse. If possible we will meet at the airport, otherwise, you will need to meet at the designated hotel. Everyone should arrange to stay in the same hotel. (it makes it easier for us to all meet in the morning 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 an 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. Bryan Whitehead ( our host) will share many insights into Japanese culture, history, and other wonderful things that have kept him living in Japan for so long. 

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. Bryan 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 Bryan will send each workshop member a small box with several shibori homework pieces to prepare before you arrive in Japan. ( about 2-3 mo) The homework box will also contain some persimmon tannin paper and a special cutter knife to cut them with. There is intensive stitching in this workshop, both before coming and while in Japan!

On a sunny day, we will visit the 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. If you are traveling with a friend please let me know so you can share the same room. Otherwise, I will try to make the best choice from within the group.


Food is a big part of this trip!

There are healthy snacks, drinks, and fruit in the kitchen. If given notice in advance, we can try to accommodate some diet restrictions. Vegetarians are 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 home-cooked meals a day with each other. 

Bryan is a no-red meat ( a slice of bacon a few times a year) vegetarian himself with a few allergies. He really does understand food issues but has 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. 

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 favorite warm socks are necessary.

2025 Fee : Approximately $3900 (This amount listed above is a placeholder and may be adjusted due to inflation )

Fee includes:

  • *  All fees for the workshops including materials.  
  • *  The homework box!
  • Ten nights accommodation at the farmhouse, double occupancy.) 
  • *  All breakfasts.
  • * All transportation in Japan, from the time we meet Bryan on Monday morning 4/28 until and including the return train tickets back to Tokyo station on day ten. (5/8) This will Include any trips to Tokyo or other destinations during our 10 days with Bryan. When we meet, Bryan will hand you a pre-paid train card and ask you to return it to him on the last day. 
  • *Folkcraft Museum Entrance fee.
  • *Cost of Indigo workshop in Hachioji.
  • * Happy Hour--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 the Airport, Tokyo, Japan

  • Ground transportation from the airport to the hotel (Approx. $32 each way)
  • Meals on travel days to/from Japan
  • Hotel in Tokyo before and after the workshop ( I will suggest the hotel for the night of 4/27/2025)
  • 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 the workshop is completed (there will be optional extended travel- itinerary available April 2024)

Payment Terms:

Deposit $500

If sending a check before 9/1/2023- please send to me at

49 Pioneer Estates Rd

Murphy NC 28906

I’ve made a preliminary payment schedule based on the projected class fee.

This is exclusive of airfare from your airport to Japan and ALL additional Optional travel after 5/8/2025.

Around April 15/2024 I will post the after-travel itinerary and recommended hotels plus other info.

with a $500 deposit, there will be 6 payments of $550 

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. I simply cannot absorb the credit card fees on all of the payments.






Final payment will be due 1/15/2025 ( will include added travel events if you are traveling with us beyond the 10-day workshop) this final amount will be calculated according to yen value and adding any credit card/ transfer fees you may have incurred- FINAL INVOICE WILL BE SENT OUT IN December 2024- FINAL PAYMENT to Bryan is due Feb 1, 2025. Please remit FINAL PAYMENTS BY BANK TRANSFER/ Venmo or Zelle

If you are considering the additional travel- we will travel another 12-14 days. You will need to purchase a rail pass for this travel. I will make a post with suggestions for rooms. Best shared. We will be staying in hotels near the stations to make it easy. I will plan a few activities at each destination and you are welcome to participate in what I plan or make your own itinerary and just meet with the group along the way. For our October trip, we are all staying at the same hotels. I made my hotel reservations and posted a listing, then everyone made their own reservations via booking.com and was able to pay for the room upon arrival. I try to select mid-priced hotels / use twin-shared rooms and those who provide breakfast.
Everyone is responsible for their own rail pass/ food and lodging during this travel time. If you want you can skip one location and meet up with us on another.

I will also create a 2025 Japan Trip FB private group

Refund policy- Deposits paid to the studio are not refunded by the studio. Once this class is filled, I will start a waitlist. If you must cancel, I will sell your space and put you in touch with the new participant directly. They will pay you directly what you have paid for the trip to date and then resume your payment schedule. This has worked well in the past and everyone has been paid quickly and in full.

We recommend purchasing private travel insurance if you are concerned with the possibility of canceling your trip. (Note: must have the correct insurance to cover pandemic


Travel to Japan:

  • Fly into Tokyo to arrive at least 1-3 days in advance.
  • Arrive in Japan in the afternoon or early evening ( shuttle or limo to hotel)
  • Check in to the hotel; Dinner on your own

Day 1-: April 28, 2025 (Guide: Bryan)

Meet our guide & instructor, Bryan Whitehead, 10 am

Take the train to Fujino


Day 2-9- Workshop

Day 10- May 8, 2025- Leave Farmhouse

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

Extended Travel Beyond Workshop
Anyone wishing to stay in Tokyo or to continue to a new destination in or out of Japan on their own is welcome to do so.

Everything before and 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 post the hotel list where we will be staying and plan some workshops and site seeing tours, You are welcome to join us; otherwise it is up to you to plan your extended trip!

  • Travel Expenses: Hotels Rooms on the 2023 trip averaged about $80pp/ Shared rooms
  • Restaurants: Approx. $15 lunch, $25 dinner ( ballpark figures depending on your tastes)
  • 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 the US ( we will be purchasing a 14-day rail pass)
  • WIFI- YOU can pre-order and pick up at the Airport upon arrival-
  • Tours and Workshops during extended travels ( will need to prepay many, )

Contact us




  • Indigo
  • Shibori
  • Stitching and Sewing
  • Resist Dyeing- Katazome and Batik
  • Intermediate