Last year I had the
pleasure of taking this tour as a participant at the invitation of Maggie
Backman, the 2009 tour coordinator and organizer. As a member of the Silk Experience teaching group and dyer
of silk, the trip expanded my knowledge of this most fascinating fiber. It also provided me with a wellspring
of new ideas and inspirations, which continue to provoke my work and further my
desire to learn more about Japan and its arts and crafts.
Our Japanese coordinator
for the Silk Study Tour is Hirata-san. Hirata-san makes this trip a special
treat as he too, learns and shares his family history. His great grandfather owned and ran
their own filature mill in the mid to late 1800's and his grandfather was sent
to New York at the turn of the century to be educated and from there, serve the
family's thriving silk export business. Hirata-san is an invaluable coordinator and his extra attention to
detail makes this trip extremely pleasurable.
It is with great delight that I accepted
Maggie's request to lead this upcoming tour and provide this experience to a
new group of silk aficionados. Our desire remains to foster a continuous thread
of communication and education with Japanese silk masters, educators, and
artisans that will lead each of us into a new fiber future. In this way, we
continue to offer future exchanges of silk information and provide teaching and
marketing opportunities on both sides
Silk Study Tour Cost-cash/check discount tour price $4500.00
-credit/debit tour price $4725.00
This Silk Study Tour is
limited to 18-20 participants. The
variable cost reflected above allows you to choose your most convenient form of
payment. MC, VISA, and AMEX are accepted.
What the tour price
-Roundtrip flight from Los
Angeles (LAX) to Tokyo Narita (NRT) airiports.
-9 nights at hotels (double
occupancy) with breakfasts included.
-Museum fees, class fees and
-Private chartered bus
transportation for the entire tour.
-Return trip to Tokyo Narita
Airport from Ginza district via hotel shuttle.
-Full course Japanese
traditional dinner one night while at Isobe Gardens.
-Some supplemental fees.
What the tour price does
-Flight costs to and from Los
Angeles, possible hotel charge in
-Los Angeles (night before
departure or after return).
-Meals other than those
charges, and public transportation (outside the tour- i.e. optional choice trip
to Kamakura) are not included.
Please be aware that for all
tour participants from North America, this tour departs from and returns to Los
Angeles, CA. Travel and medical insurance, which is most necessary will be
required for all participants of this tour. Participants from other parts of
the globe will meet with us at Tokyo Narita Airport. IACE (below) will be our
coordinating travel agent for the tour and can see that you are booked on
flights that will assure a smooth meet up with the group upon your arrival in
If desired, you can make
arrangements to extend your trip beyond our Silk Study Tour. Our expert tour agent specializes in
travel to Japan and will be happy to work with you to facilitate your plans. They will also be happy to quote you
prices for any travel and medical insurance.
Association for Cultural Exchange) Travel
18531 South Western Avenue
Gardena, CA 90248-3830
(310) 323-5551 contact: Hogara Kotani
Silk Study Tour Itinerary
Schedule- May 18-28, 2011
May 18 (Wednesday)
Tour officially begins at Los Angeles Airport (LAX). A non-stop
flight to Tokyo (Narita NRT) will depart approximately 2 PM.
(Airline yet to be determined)
May 19 (Thursday)
The ten hour flight means arrival in Japan later that same
day, due to crossing the International Date Line. Following our arrival
in the late afternoon, we will take a hotel shuttle to the nearby Narita Hilton
Hotel for one night of R & R.
May 19 (Friday)
Early the next morning our magic chartered coach will whisk us
away on a relaxing 2 hour trip to visit the Koyota sericulture farm, one of the
few remaining sericulture farms in Japan. There we will witness the fascinating
nurturing of the silkworms in a traditional Japanese cocoon house and meet the
delightful Koyota-san and his wife. Following lunch, a short
coach bus ride takes us to the Museum of Fiber and Technology on the campus of
Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology. This gem of a textile museum
with its wealth of information concerning Japan's 'golden years of silk
production is truly exceptional. Later, a short trip takes us to the city
of Tachikawa and the Tachikawa Palace (American style) Hotel for a two nights
May 20 (Saturday)
Following a quick 10
minute trip by our special coach, we will disembark at the Metropolitan
Research Institute in Tachikawa, where we will meet and work with a very
exceptional group of ladies for the day. Under the guidance of these
delightful volunteer ladies of the Tama Silk Life 21 group we see the
degumming of cocoons, make our own mawata squares, spin silk from mawata
by hand/machine and finally spin filament silk directly from cocoons. This
promises to be very special 'silk day' for all concerned. We will have a free
evening to explore the city or simply rest up at the hotel, following our busy
day with the Tama group.
May 21 (Sunday)
After an early morning departure from Tachikawa, our magic bus
will travel 1.5 hours to the famous Ichiku Kubota museum in the shadows of Mt. Fuji. This museum's collection
of the famous kimonos by revered designer Ichiku Kubota is an exceptional
experience for all of us silk and textile aficionados. Following lunch, our
magic coach takes us to our next adventure...this time to meet and explore the
home and studio of Fumiko Sato, a
master indigo dyer. This delightful artisan will demonstrate
traditional indigo dyeing and stretch your textile mind to its limit.
Another long coach trip to the village of Annaka will give us time to
contemplate our days adventures. At Annaka we will stay for three nights at the
charming and restful Isobe Gardens, a Japanese/American Inn complete with
traditional hot spring baths and the surroundings of a lovely river and quiet
May 22 (Monday)
Our 6th day of adventure will take us on a short 40
minute drive to the delightful Gumma Silk Center for a half day workshop
involving silk weaving and katazome (your choice) with our knowledgeable
instructors and volunteer helpers. There will be time to roam freely throughout
their informative silk museum and educational center. Upon returning to the
Isobe Garden Inn we will have free time to wander along the river near our
hotel and rest up for a traditional full course Japanese dinner- another
highlight of the trip. There will be time, following the scrumptious Japanese
meal, to soak in the amazing hot springs baths!
May 23 (Tuesday)
Just 15 minutes from Isobe by our magic coach, we will tour the
Usui mechanized filature mill (one of the few remaining filature mills in
Japan) located in the middle of a beautiful valley, with bursting mulberry
groves. The fascinating mill tour is conducted by the delightful mill manager
and is the last stop of our journey into the world of silk production.
The mill's small store has some manufactured Gumma silk products to purchase,
where we have time to ask questions about the production of the silk filaments
and their uses. Back to Annaka where the late afternoon and evening can be
spent enjoying the quiet surroundings, the special Annaka hospitality and those
spectacular hot spring baths!
May 24, 25, 26 (Wednesday, Thursday, Friday)
We will wistfully say goodbye to our hosts in Annaka and
head for the bright lights of Tokyo and its famous Ginza district. But
before we arrive we have a couple of surprises along the way! Perhaps a
dyer, a weaver, or some newly discovered artisan looking to reach out and share
their textile talent with us. (We like to leave some time for the
unexpected!) Arriving in Tokyo we
will stay at the comfortable Western style Ginza Washington Hotel, centrally
located in the fabulous Ginza district where you will enjoy two days of
exploring the city on your own or in small groups. The Ginza is the
epitome of shopping in Japan, featuring anything and everything from lowbrow to
high class. Short walking distances to many Tokyo sites and adventures await
you there. An optional side trip to Kamakura on Friday for those interested in
seeing this delightful historical city with hundreds of temples, fantastic
shopping, and the famous Daibutsu (Great Buddah) on the shores of Sagami
Bay. The side tour to Kamakura returns to the Ginza for our last night in
May 27 (Saturday)
We grudgingly depart for Narita via airport shuttle bus from the
Ginza hotel in mid morning for our flight back to the US arriving at LAX
in the 28th of May.
(Some specific details may change as needed as the tour draws near
and you will be advised as they develop.)
Early registration and payment schedule:
A $400 tour deposit is required to secure your reservation on this tour. You will be contacted upon receipt of your deposit to confirm your reservation. Up to 5 wait-listed reservations will be accepted. You will be advised immediately if you are wait-listed.
Payment in full must be submitted by
Feb. 10, 2011 and partial payments may be made up to this date.
Cancellations up to Jan. 15, 2011 will receive a $300 deposit refund.
After Feb. 15, 2011 the following cancellation fees will apply:
-30% of the tour price 31 to 59 days before departure*.
-50% of the tour price 8 to 30 days before departure*.
*cancellation must be received in writing.
-No refunds 7 days or less before departure.
In the event of cancellation by the tour operator, all payments received from tour participants will be refunded within 5 days of cancellation.
Payment types accepted:
-cash/check discount tour price $4500.00
-credit/debit tour price $4725.00
We hope you will join us in Japan next year! Please don't hesitate to contact me should you have any questions.
|Glennis Dolce |