Arimatsu 2011

Silk • Shibori • Steel • Kimono • Kakishibu • Katazome

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Thank you for your interest in the SFS Arimatsu Program in 2011. For overview of this tour, visit TOUR main page. The timing of this program is designed to coincide with Japan’s annual Shibori Fest in Arimatsu. This Arimatsu program will be offered annually around May/June.

Focus: Surface design intensive: silk, steel, shibori, kimono, kakishibu, katazome. Traditional skills, modern techniques, collaborative innovations.


As you consider the cost of this tour, bear in mind that Japan is one of the most expensive countries in which to travel.

  • Tour price: $400 USD Deposit + 393 000 JPY (shared occupancy)
  • Length of trip: 17-DAY tour in Japan. 20 May – 06 June 2011
  • Where: Tokyo, Kiryu, Miyama, Arimatsu. Read overview
  • Single supplement: +43,000 JPY (confirmed)
  • Included in Tour Price:
    • simple accommodations (based on shared occupancy, and in business hotels single occupancy);
    • ground transportation (mostly public transpo);
    • all workshop fees and some material fees;
    • daily breakfast;
    • some lunches and some dinners;
    • airport shuttle on your departure day
  • Not included (ie your responsibility): Airport shuttle to hotel on your arrival day; international airfare; Japan RailPass
    • Each traveler must purchase on their own a Japan Rail Pass (JPY28,300) in his/her own country before departure (RailPasses are not sold in Japan). This is to cut down the cost of domestic travel. NTA is kind enough to facilitate the activation  of JR Pass in Tokyo.
  • Eligibility: current WSN web members (membership must be current at sign up)
  • Minimum # sign-ups needed to confirm this fare:  10 ppl
    • If <10 sign-ups:  this trip will still take place, subject to a surcharge as costs will be distributed over fewer people. The outweighing benefit is having a more specialized trip with increased individual attention and service.
  • Note: When we invite local guests for meals, we share the expense amongst the group. The program begins at a hotel in Tokyo (arrival is on your own). Yoshiko will act in the dual role of program leader and often also as a guide to cut cost to minimum
  • FOR SOLO TRAVELERS: Single Supplement Surcharge may apply for solo travelers. Because our tours are based on shared occupancy, it may be necessary that those traveling alone (should there be an odd number) be put up in a single room through the entirety of the tour. This is particularly true for men traveling solo. To offset this cost, a Single Supplement Surcharge may be applied. Please consult with Yoshiko.
  • Specific questions? Email: yoshiko [AT]



1. Enroll via our Registration page

2. Download these forms.

3. Continue with instructions below.



Tour price: $400 Deposit + JPY 393 000 (Single Supplement +43,000 JPY)

Payments are broken down as listed.

  1. $400 deposit to WSN – pay immediately to secure your spot
  2. Balance to NTA
    • Payment 1 (50% balance) due MARCH 15;
    • Payment 2 (final balance) due MAY 1
    • Note: Remittance instruction in Terms & Cancellation (see pdf below)


Download all three (3) forms, print, sign, return. See above for forms.


By May 1: mail or fax a photocopy of your passport to:

Nippon Travel Agency c/o Hisa Kumagai,
International Travel Dept., 3rd Floor, Shimbashi Ekimae Bldg 1, 2-20-15 Shimbashi, Minato-ku, Tokyo 105-8606 JAPAN
F: +81-(0)3-3572-8766


Once you have made your travel arrangements, send us your flight details via this online form (launches new window)



If you need additional accommodation preceding or following the SFS tour, please email our agent at Nippon Travel Agency (NTA). Mr Hisa Kumagai, NTA Email: hisa_kumagai [at]



This online itinerary is meant as a GUIDELINE ONLY.
Confirmed travelers will receive itinerary by email.
Trouble viewing? Download pdf






0 May 20 North Americans: Depart from USA for Tokyo
1 May 21D Arrive at Tokyo’s Narita Airport. Transfer to hotel by Airport Limousine bus (your own arrangement). Instruction will be given with Travel Prep Sheet sent after #2 payment. Price: JPY 3000 ONE WAY per person, ~ 2 hours. Group meets at Shiba Park Hotel in Shiba/Takanawa area, Minato ward. (SFS PROGRAM STARTS). Take a walk in the area, perhaps encounter a Buddhist ceremony at nearby Zojouji Temple.PM: Light dinner & Orientation at restaurant 

Stay @ TOKYO (1 nt)

2 May 22B D *Pack overnight bag; SHIP OTHER BAGS TO KYOTO (1 pc/person included, additional bags for fee) Ryokan provides cotton yukata and wool hanten to sleep.AM: Tokyo to Kyoto by shinkansen (bullet train) with 1 LIGHT overnight bag. AFTRN: Explore Kyoto Station; have lunch on own. Continue JR train to Miyama, a designated cultural heritage site known for its thatched roof farmhouses. Visits to: “Little Indigo Museum”; natural indigo workstudio of acclaimed fiber artist to observe natural dye processes. *Optional: indigo dyeing experience (small materials fee) 

PM: Enjoy hot bath before dinner. Dinner at traditional Japanese inn.

Stay @ ryokan, MIYAMA (1 nt)

3 May 23B L AM: rise early for hot bath and soak up natural scenery while enjoying quiet time in picturesque rural village of Miyama: rice paddies, thatched roof houses nestled in mountainside. Shuttle to Sonobe, then JR train to Kyoto.AFTRN: Lunch on temple grounds, a unique meal of traditional monk’s food. Explore ancient capital city, traditional market, galleries. Dinner on ownStay @ KYOTO (2 nts) KYOTO
4 May 24B D EARLY AM: Optional visit to monthly flea market at shrine (weather permitting) *Option: ship extra bags to Tokyo, your final stay. Big, sturdy, soft structured bags come in handy. Shipping not included.PM: Trips to kimono maker’s home; Nishijin weaving center; so on. *Optional visit to galleries; textile suppliers. BEFORE 5pm: *Pack overnight bag for last night in Kyoto. SHIP OTHER BAGS TO NAGOYA (1 pc / person incl., add’l bags for fee)Dinner: walk to shabu shabu restaurant to dine with local artists in Pontocho district. Perhaps glimpse geisha and maiko hurrying to parties. 

Stay @ KYOTO

5 May 25B L EARLY AM: (weather permitting) Monthly shrine flea market. Then, Kyoto half-day technical visits by chartered coach. End at JR Station. Before boarding next train, grab eki-ben train station to-go lunch box for quick bite.1:30p Train to Nagoya (by shinkansen, JR). Local train Nagoya to Arimatsu. Stroll along old Tokaido Rd preserved with traditional storefronts depicted in Hiroshige’s Edo woodblock prints. *Optional visit to museums, studios, shibori demos, etc. Orientation of area, shibori workshop program, etc. at Shibori Museum lecture room. 

5-day Surface Design Intensive / Kakishibu (persimmon tannin dyeing) / Hi-tech Fabric Treatments(half-day). DAY 1: Shibori foundations, learn techniques from master artisans.

EVENING: Dinner & local activities on your own (refer to travel highlights on web). Travel to hotel on your own via local train

Stay @ NAGOYA (5 nts)


6 May 26B L AM: Day 2, Shibori Intensive (half-day). Modern interpretations of shibori and the larger world of shaped resist. Experiment with new materials, dye, heat set, and more. Reciprocal creative exchange: artisans look forward to mutual sharing of ideas and creative input. *Option to extend your work in the studio until 6pm.PM: *Option to explore local area on own: Nagoya Castle, Tokugawa Museum, Toyota Memorial Museum (Toyota automobile started as manufacturers of weaving looms), Tokoname folk pottery kiln. This is Arimatsu’s busiest time of year. As the town gears up for the Fest, they welcome and encourage you to get involved like a local – it’s the best way to see how things are done. Sit in on meetings, rehearsals, float preparations, installations, food making, etc.Stay @ NAGOYA NAGOYA
7 May 27B L AM: Day 3, Shibori Intensive (half-day). Continue exploration and experimentation.PM: *Optional to explore local area on own // immerse yourself in Festival preparations // work in the studio until 6pmStay @ NAGOYA NAGOYA
8 May 28B L AM: Day 4, Shibori Intensive (half-day). Begin to think about the work you want to create for the upcoming SLOW FIBER STUDIOS exhibition at the Fest.PM: *Optional to explore local area on own // immerse yourself in Festival preparations // work in the studio until 6pmStay @ NAGOYA NAGOYA

9 May 29B D AM: Day 5, Shibori Intensive (half-day). Continue to work on your exhibition pieces.PM: *Optional to explore local area on own // work in studio until 6pmDinner with local guests 

Stay @ NAGOY

10 May 30B D *Pack LIGHT overnight bag. SHIP OTHER BAGS TO TOKYO (1 pc/ person included; add’l bags for fee) Ryokan provides cotton yukata and wool hantenAM: Travel Nagoya to Kiryu. Lunch on own on the train.PM: Explore Kiryu – Orijuku Textile Archive to view an exhibition of Meisen Kimono from the first half of 20th century; weaving and knitting mills; local studios; Regional Textile Research Institute; and more. Dinner at local restaurant with guests. 

Stay @ KIRYU (1 nt)

11 May 31B L D DAY: continue exploration of sericulture, silk reeling / spinning, kasuri, ikat in Kiryu; sublimation printing and jacquard wool fulling. Lunch w/ guests at the unique Basho restaurant.EVENING: by mini shuttle, adventure into mountains to stay at a typical traditional Ryokan tucked away along a riverside. Relish in exquisite yet rustic local cuisine followed by peaceful sleep on a traditional tatami mat in futon coverlet.Stay @ ryokan, KIRYU (1 nt) KIRYU
12 June 1B DAY: Travel Kiryu to Tokyo by train. Technical visits via public transportation using extensive network of city subways and railways (metro card included). See important cultural works at Tokyo National Museum, Japan’s oldest and largest museum housing 87 National Treasures and 100,000+ artworks and archaeological objects.Stay @ TOKYO (2 nts) TOKYO
13 June 2B D DAY: Continue exploration of Tokyo. Wander through antique and contemporary textile shops, fashion boutiques, designers’ studios, other design shops that make Tokyo a uniquely famous.Stay @ TOKYO TOKYO

14 June 3B AM: More exploration in Tokyo on your own. If you rise very early you can visit the famous Tsukiji Fish Market.PM: Travel Tokyo to Nagoya (by shinkansen and local trains). Stops at Itchiku Kubota Museum and Keisuke Serizawa Museum.Settle in for weekend-long Shibori Fest annual tradition.Stay @ NAGOYA (2 nts) NAGOYA
15 June 4B D DAY: local train to Arimatsu. SHIBORI FEST along Tokaido Road in Arimatsu – enjoy festival floats, vendors of all kinds of shibori, crafts, food, exhibitions INCLUDING EXHIBITION opportunity to show your experimental creative work at Atsumari Gallery, right by the train stationShibori Fest, the area’s most important festival of the year, draws people from all over the country who travel just to attend this lively celebration. The town and its leaders are delighted to invite the SFS group into their community during this bustling, exciting time of year. SFS is encouraged to get involved with & up close to the local traditions, celebrations, and preparations: sit in on music rehearsals, help decorate floats, observe food preparations, etc.Stay @ NAGOYA NAGOYA
16 June 5B DAY: *Optional: visits by local train to Arimatsu. SHIBORI FEST along Tokaido Road in Arimatsu – festival floats, vendors of all kinds of shibori, crafts, food, exhibitions. OR you may opt for day trips to explore nearby destinations. Consult with travel guide, local colleagues and Yoshiko.PM: Travel Nagoya to Tokyo (by local trains and shinkansen).Stay @ TOKYO (1 nt) TOKYO
17 June 6B AM: breakfast. (SFS PROGRAM ENDS)Depart for airport or continue on to your next destination.