25th Quilt and Textile Tour to Japan:
January 13–25, 2016
Quilters’ Express to Japan (QETJ) is owned and operated solely by Susan Ball Faeder, and combines her two passions: textiles and Japan. The Japan~uary 2016 offering is Susan’s 25th Textile Tour of Japan since the creation of the business in 1988. There are many shopping opportunities on QETJ tours, but the true aim is an educational one: to gain an in-depth cultural perspective of Japan through the beauty and history of its indigenous textiles and fabrication methods, both past and present.
The “Japan~uary 2016” tour is a “tried-and-true” repeat of eight near-identical January tours. We’ll visit five cities during our 13 days together. The first four days are devoted to Kyoto, the “old” capital, still the aesthetic hub of Japan and therefore a great place for our study of Japanese textiles to begin. Our introduction to Kyoto starts with a morning of culturally significant sightseeing at three locations. In the afternoon, we explore the Kiyomizu neighborhood of porcelains, local crafts, and delicacies. While in Kyoto, you will also experience a hands-on workshop in Yuzen stencil painting and visit Aizen Kobo, the studio of a world-class Japanese indigo dyer.
We leave Kyoto behind to embark on a three-day journey towards Tokyo. A short train ride brings us to Nagoya, where we then transfer by private motor coach to the town of Arimatsu, the home and heart of Japanese shibori. You will visit the local museum to learn about Japanese tie-dyeing, enjoy a private workshop in this time-honored technique, and explore the local shops and architecture before transferring back to Nagoya for the night. Our second destination is a picturesque lake town resort at the base of Mt. Fuji where you can enjoy bathing in restorative hot spring waters or a long walk before our traditional Japanese evening meal together. The third day is our Silk Day and includes both the Itchiku Kubota Kimono Museum, to learn about the fabrication method known as tsujigahana, and also a small local museum dedicated to the Japanese silk weaving style tsumugi.
The last city on our tour is Tokyo. Our introduction to the “new” capital begins with morning sightseeing in the Asakusa area, to stroll the lovely Sensoji Temple grounds, and wander among the shops filled with crafts and souvenirs. In the afternoon, we’ll visit Amuse Museum to view and touch a collection of vintage hand-made indigo clothing. On another day we’ll explore the delightfully international neighborhood of Azabu, including a stop at Amy Katoh’s Blue & White shop known for hand-stenciled yukata cotton fabric. Our tour comes to a close with two full days Tokyo International Great Quilt Festival, unquestionably the largest quilt show in the world. The quilt show is a shopping mecca, but also a remarkable opportunity to experience a cross-section of the Japanese quilt world. Join Susan for her on-site talk, “The Development of Quilting in Japan,” meet some of Japan’s top sensei, and consider how the Japanese quilting world is like ours—and not!
Feel free to email or call Susan at (570) 522-7480 with your questions pertaining to either tour. Once a group has met the minimum number of 10, participants will receive notice. Participants will also receive a series of pre-departure emails from Susan with information about weather, clothing, money, customs, etc., as well as a list of websites with hotel and contact information and a packet with tourist information and maps.
Photo, top: S. Faeder, detail, Shibori Kimono, Designed and Produced by K. Takeda & Co., Ltd., 2015, Arimatsu, Japan