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Weaving Traditions: Textile Exploration in Kyoto

I have always been fascinated by the enchanting allure of Japanese culture and craftsmanship. There is a quality of timelessness that draws me into a world where ancient traditions blend seamlessly with modern innovation. A world where aesthetic expression finds its voice through the handiwork of its craftspeople.

Traditional skills—such as kimono making, lacquerware, porcelain, and blacksmithing—have been passed down for generations. Each region of the country draws upon its own natural resources, resulting in unique craftsmanship that resonates with sustainability-minded consumers.

Ultimately, crafted items, designed with longevity in mind, gain character and quality over time.

Shortly before I retired from my "day job" a year ago I discovered that there where small group traveling experiences to Japan to study textiles. "Say What? Where do I sign up?"

An exhaustive Google search found several options and, in the end, I was fortunate to find an opening with Esprit Travel for this May. The tour was to be based in Kyoto, the undisputed cultural seat of Japan, and was focused on the Textiles of Kyoto. Perfect!

This launched me into a whirlwind of excitement and preparation over the last year. I watched YouTube videos on Japanese craftsmanship, read books, signed up for Japanese on Duolingo, took on-line classes on how to take and edit travel pictures on your phone, and was generally obsessed with preparations.

May 19 I flew from Chicago O'Hare on a 13 hour Japanese Airline flight to Toyko, Haneda airport. From there I had another 1 hour flight to Osaka, Itami airport and, finally, a 45 minute taxi ride to the Cross Hotel in Kyoto. I had arrived.

The following 10 days totally exceeded my expectations. The level of expertise and detail that Esprit and it's staff gave us was remarkable. Workshops, gallery visits, visits to artist's studios, the food, the shopping, the scenery, the people..........amazing.

On the long flight home from Tokyo to Chicago last Friday, I thought a lot about all that I had experienced.

Now, with over a thousand pictures, a head full of new information and ideas, and a heart full of love for this rich culture, I have decided to document it all in this blog.

This is my first attempt at a blog so please bare with me!


I hope you will enjoy what I have to share even a tiny bit as much as I enjoyed my first trip to Japan.

For more information about Esprit Tours please check here:

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03 Ιουν

Looking forward to reading about all your experiences!

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