Ceramics, Sushi, and Sightseeing in Japan!

May 19th – June 3rd, 2019

$3,900 Includes: Tuition, Rail Pass, Hotels, Activities, and Select Meals. $549 deposit due upon registration, balance due 3/21/19

Take an amazing trip to Japan next summer! We’ll visit southwestern Japan, then Kyoto; going to various potteries, art museums, castles, temples, shrines, and art studios. We’ll participate in some hands-on art workshops and get to experience Japanese culture. The meals are incredible – an experience, not just food. You’ll wear a yukata, (house kimono), and truly enjoy every moment. Registration is open to any adult.   “Japan is over the top great!”

Sheri Leigh O’Connor, who has been studying Japanese for years, has been to Japan 15 times. She is the chair of the Fine Arts department at SNC Tahoe, where she teaches ceramics. Her work has been featured in the magazines Ceramics Monthly, and Clay Times , and several books. She has participated in numerous art exhibitions, including in Utsonomiya, Japan. Her passion lately has been traveling, particularly to Japan. “I’ve never taken anyone to Japan who didn’t absolutely love it!”

Itinerary – Subject to Change:

May 19th – Leave for Japan

May 20th – Arrive in Osaka – KIX airport in time for 7pm meeting, stay at hotel at the airport.

May 21st – Travel to Kumamoto by train (rail pass included)

May 22nd & 23rd – Gokanosho

  • Visit Waterfall – breathtaking!
  • Shodo Workshop – Japanese Calligraphy – learn how to write some Japanese with brush and ink
  • Bamboo Workshop – Make a variety of pieces with freshly cut bamboo
  • Gokanosho Museum – Learn about the samurai who hid in this mountain town
  • Stay at Heike-so – or Sakura-so,  very special small inns with incredible Japanese dinners and wonderful breakfasts. A unique and memorable experience.

May 24th   – Yatsuhiro

  • Kimono Experience – dress in traditional kimonos and enjoy Japanese tea ceremony
  • Koda-yaki Pottery demonstration – 15th generation potter since 1602



Golden Pavilion – Kinkaku-ji – Kyoto

May 25th & 26th  – Unzen – Small quaint town – European style architecture

  • Visit Unzen Pottery – Volcanic Ash glazed work
  • Enjoy Japanese bath house – onsen
  • Vidro Glass and Ceramics gallery/museum

May 27th – 30th – Kyoto

  • Visit Raku Museum
  • Tour of Shrines and Temples in Kyoto
  • Contemporary Art Museum
  • Kinkaku,  (the golden pavilion) – Gorgeous Zen temple and garden
  • Travel to Shigaraki – “pottery town” Meet potters, see a lot of unique pottery/ceramics
  • Travel to the temples at Nara


Hami Seiho, volcanic ash potter in Unzen

May 31st – June 3rd – Osaka

  • Visit Traditional Knife maker
  • Sakai Plaza of Rikyu and Akiko (teabowl museum)
  • Oriental Ceramics Museum

Early registration is recommended as trips fill up quickly. $549 deposit required at registration. Balance due on March 19, 2019 and non-refundable after this date.

Video from Japanese TV station featuring 2017 group











Shigaraki pottery

Potter demonstrating in Kyoto

Knife maker in Osaka

Koda-yaki inlay process


Koda-yaki style Agano Pottery in Yatsushiro – 15 generations!

Fushimi Inari Shrine Kyoto

Tea ceremony in Yatsushiro

Dinner at Yumei Hotel in Unzen

Dinner at Sakura-so in Gokanosho – fresh trout and venison

Amazing food! Cook flavorful beef while enjoying sushi and tempura! Oishi! Delicious!


Lord Ogata of Gokanosho – 49th generation of Heike Clan Samurai! – This is his Family Tree!

2018 Group Shodo (calligraphy) workshop. Everyone learned how to write their name in Japanese

Waterfall in Gokanosho

Kiyoko Koyama – Shigaraki Potter

Kyoko Koyama’s in Shigaraki – 2018 group

Just down the street from our hotel in Gion, Kyoto

Temple in Kyoto