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News & Updates


Welcome to the 2023 Silk Study Tour to Japan Newsletter

Finally, Japan has re-opened it's doors to tourism post COVID-19 and Hirata san and I could not be more pleased! 

All those who requested to be on the Silk Tour list have been sent this notice. I am now sending it to my email subscribers at large. There are three spots open currently.

Here I will lay out the itinerary, the cost and the requirements in order to join this wonderful tour of silk, textiles and Japanese culture. I like to say that you get to see Japan through the eyes of a silkworm- if they only had eyes! 

Who goes on the Silk Study Tour to Japan? 

Artists, makers, educators, life-long learners, writers, textilians, historians, Japanophiles, and those wanting to learn more deeply about silk and Japanese culture. Are you such a person?


Dates- 5/11/23-5/26/23

We are now ready to accept deposits to confirm your reservation in the 2023 Silk Study Tour. We expect this Silk Study tour to fill quickly as we have quite a list of interested parties due to past tour cancellations as a result of COVID-19.

Planned dates are (Thurs.) 5/11/2023 through (Fri.)5/26/2023. 

This accounts for 14 nights-up from 13 in 2019 and 10 in previous years. We just keep finding more great locations to visit and don't want to rush your experience! 

A little history...

The sericulture farm visit, a highlight of the tour, was made possible in the past through the generous help of the Tama Silk Life 21 group and the gracious hospitality of aging sericulturist Koyata san and his wife (well into his 90's now!). The Silk Study Tour to Japan is eternally in their debt for providing us with such an intimate view into their life and sericulture history. Now, we are the guests of Nobue Higashi and her husband who carry on the traditional Japanese sericulture practices at their farm. We also thank all the artisans who share their work and offer workshops to us over the course of this tour. It is what this tour was built around- an exchange of culture and information. Though some of the visits and people have changed over time, the passion for silk and textile education has not. 

Quick Links

Registration form 2023

2023 Tour Itinerary


(email me!)

Past tours

As you may know, since 2010 I have had the pleasure of coordinating this tour and again am looking forward to doing the same for the upcoming Silk Study Tour for 2023. 


Our Japan-side coordinator for the Silk Study Tour is Hirata-san. Hirata-san makes this trip a special treat as he shares his own family history and connection to Japan's silk trade. 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 was with great delight in 2010, that I accepted Maggie Backman's request to take over this tour project and provide this experience to a new group of silk aficionados every other year. Maggie (who turned 93 this year!) is still an acting advisor for the tour but no longer is able to accompany us. In this seventh excursion of the Silk Study Tour, 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, travel and study opportunities for all participants.

2023 Itinerary

Indigo dyer Fumiko Satoh

This time starting in Kamakura! 

Leaving Narita Airport upon our arrival in Japan, a chartered limousine bus will take us to our Kamakura hotel for a four night stay. We will explore Kamakura- its temples, shrines, shopping and art as well as take day excursions by train to Tokyo's Ginza and the Yokohama waterfront. Yokohama has several wonderful museums covering silk (The Silk Center), the exquisite history of dolls in Japan (Yokohama Doll Museum), as well as the fascinating history of the opening of the Yokohama Port in the late 1850's (Yokohama Archives of History). This initiated the silk trade from Japan to the West and the industrialization of Japan. 

Tokyo's Ginza District is a must see with much to offer- from the world famous "depato" stores with their glorious food basement offerings, craft exhibition floors, as well as Tokyo's Costume Museum and so much more. 

From there, our private coach arrives to whisk us away to the Five Lakes region where we will spend time with indigo dyer Fumiko Sato and take a trip to the nearby Ichiku Kubota Museum. The night is spent at a beautiful spa hotel overlooking lake Kawaguchiko and Mt. Fuji. The rest of the tour has us in the capable hands of our bus tour captains as we head to Kyoto for a four night stay in central Kyoto to further explore the textile studios, the shibori museum, shrines, and temple sales. 

Our coach awaits and it's off to Suwa Lake where we will visit the Okaya Silk Museum- at the present time, the best silk museum in Japan with its own fillature (silk reeling facility) attached. 

After one night in Suwa, we travel to Isobe where we will enjoy 3 nights in a wonderful spa hotel located along a river, traveling out by day to have workshops and meet with sericulturist Nobue Higashi and the artisans of Ton Cara for a workshop in silk reeling and cocoon arts.

Another day here has us spending a workshop day with master natural dyer Yamazaki san. Our last day in this area we will visit the World Heritage site of the Tomioka Silk Mill, a textile museum, and an antique kimono shop before back driving to Narita to pack for our flight home the following day. 

The Cost

-cash/check discount tour price $6450.00 USD

-credit/debit tour price $6805.00 USD

**NOTE** as this cost is being projected out over a year in advance, and is based on a Yen to Dollar exchange that currently is at ¥140 per $1 USD.

Thirty days before departure we will assess the exchange rates and notify you of any surcharge if the yen falls more than 10%. Last time the strong dollar allowed us to give extra honorarium to the artists and groups that facilitate such a wonderful experience for us. We were also able to include many more of the group meals outside of those outlined here (leaving more spending money for fabulous textiles!).

This Silk Study Tour is limited to 16 participants (we need a minimum of 12).  The variable cost reflected above allows you to choose your most convenient form of payment. MC, VISA, and AMEX are accepted. We prefer personal or cashier checks so as to avoid any extra charges to you.


  • What the tour price includes: Roundtrip flight from Los Angeles (LAX) to Tokyo Narita (NRT) airport,14 nights at hotels (double occupancy) with fabulous breakfasts included. 
  • Museum fees, all class fees and supplies.
  • Private chartered bus transportation for the majority of the tour and ground transportation costs for the group to specified group trips while in Tokyo area. 
  • Return trip to and from Tokyo Narita Airport.
  • Full course Japanese traditional dinner two nights while at the traditional Japanese spa resort hotels (ryokan).
  • Some supplemental fees such as garden and other entrance fees.

  • What the tour price does not include:
  • Flight costs to and from Los Angeles, possible hotel charge in Los Angeles (night before departure or after return). For LAND ONLY, cost is $5550
  • Meals other than those specified above.
  • Insurances, passport charges, and public transportation (outside the tour if you decide to go on your own during free days
  • Single supplement pricing upon request

This next Silk Study Tour 2023 may include but not necessarily be limited to the following sites and activities.

  • a visit to a traditional sericulture farm
  • a visit with an indigo dyer 
  • entrance into the beautiful museum of Ichiku Kubota
  • a night at a resort hotel overlooking Kawaguchi Lake
  • tour of a Silk Museum (or two! Yokohama optional)
  • several nights at a resort spa ryokan (inn) with traditional Japanese baths and a lovely traditional Japanese dinner
  • four nights in Kamakura area with free time to visit museums,shop and a day side trips to Tokyo Ginza and Yokohama-(optional)
  • visit to view a working silk filature mill within the Okaya Silk Museum
  • a visit to an obi weaver
  • a visit to Tomioka Silk Mill (new World Cultural Heritage site)
  • a stop at a textile museum
  • a morning at the famous Kyoto temple sales
  • a visit to the shibori museum in Kyoto 
  • a visit to the Tokyo Costume Museum (optional)
  • a visit to a washi studio (handmade papermaker)
  • a visit with a modern sericulturist 
  • tea ceremony
  • and any added invitations we may receive and accept!  

Please note- exact itinerary is subject to change.

Each place we go we have visited personally beforehand and selected on the basis of how we feel it fits into the purpose of the tour. Sometimes we are surprised by a spontaneous invitation and we may add it based on if we can accommodate it. 

raw silk

 Early registration and payment schedule:

registration form and a $500 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 3 wait-listed reservations will be accepted. You will be advised immediately if you are wait-listed. 

Payment in full must be submitted by Feb. 1, 20123 and partial payments may be made up to this date. For reservations made after this date, full payment is due at time of booking. 

If the remaining balance is not made by the required date, we reserve the right to cancel your reservation.

Cancellations up to December 1, 2022 will receive a $200 deposit refund (forfeit $300-no exception).

Cancellation and any changes due to natural disaster, weather, war, civil unrest,and order of government and immigration regulations applies regular rules below. In such an unlikely occurrence we will do everything possible to minimize the penalties stated below. 

In the case of voluntary cancellation for any reason the following rules apply: 

After Feb. 15, 2023 the following cancellation fees will apply:

-30% of the tour price 31 to 59 days before departure*.

-50% of the tour price 12 to 30 days before departure*.

*cancellation must be received in writing.

-No refunds 11 days or less before departure.

If unexpected personal situations occur during the trip,any extra cost for additional arrangements will be the individual tour participant's responsibility. Please be sure your travel insurance covers your individual needs. 

12 participants are needed to guarantee the tour. In the event the tour does not receive the required number of participants (unlikely) by January 10, 2023 all monies will be refunded. 

Other Details:

Please be aware that for all tour participants from North America, this tour departs from and returns to Los Angeles, CA. Please let me know if you desire to leave from another US location and we will help coordinate that if possible.  

Participants from other parts of the globe will meet with us at Tokyo Narita Airport. IACE will again 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 Tokyo.

Land only for participants outside the US please deduct $900.00 USD

Travel and medical insurance, which is most necessary for the well being of the tour as a whole, will be required for all participants of this tour. Please see additional COVID-19 information page as part of the application page linked above in the top right sidebar.

For the benefit of the tour as a whole, we reserve the right to accept or reject any person as a tour participant, and or remove from the tour any participant whose conduct is deemed incompatible with the interests of the group. 

While we do have a chartered bus whisking us to our various locations, there is considerable walking to be done (Japan is very much a walking country). You will be responsible for handling your own luggage at times although for the most part our charter bus will store our bags in the luggage compartment below, but you will need to be able to handle it at the airport and in and out of the hotels.  Please be aware of the physical aspects of this tour and your ability to participate accordingly. 

Tour Extension:

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 your travel insurance.

I know this is a lot of information, so please take your time to read through it all and email me any questions! 

Thank you!

Glennis Dolce

Silk Study Tour Coordinator

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