Ishinomaki, Japan

Art &

Design & Artisan Workshops and Residency

Program Overview

Program Dates: May 15-27, 2021. 

Dream and create with the local artists and community builders behind the resurgence of Ishinomaki--a coastal city in the midst of rebuilding itself in the wake of deindustrialization and the 2011 Great East Japan tsunami. 


In this course, we will study a variety of artistic forms (both traditional & modern), get to know the artists who practice them, and reflect on how art functions in communities undergoing rapid demographic, social, and economic change. Along the way, we’ll take group excursions to appreciate Ishinomaki’s lush forests, scenic islands, and breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean.

Japan Temple Ceremony

What's Included?

Homestay & Hotel accommodations

​AIP Designed Experience

​Travel Guide & Interpreter 

​Workshop Instruction and  Fees, and Supplies

​Meet & Greet with Local Designers
Artistic, Curated Tour of Japan
Visits to Local Museums and Cultural Sites

​Creative Lectures, Presentations, and Workshops​

Meals included: Breakfasts and four group dinners.​

Private Transport to and from the Airport
for arrival and return flight * Flight not included in price

International Health Insurance 

This trip is limited to ten people*

Trip Highlights

Ishinomaki is a quiet regional city perched on the edge of the Pacific Ocean. It is one of the major legacy cities of Japan’s northeastern “Tohoku” region. Given its proximity to the ocean and vast farmlands, the city is internationally-renowned for its fresh seafood and sake. Despite suffering immensely at the hands of deindustrialization, suburban flight, and the 2011 tsunami, Ishinomaki has emerged over the past several years as a haven for artists, makers, and builders of all stripes. 

We will stay at a local hotel in downtown Ishinomaki, in walking distance of the train station, restaurants, grocery stores, and retail. Most workshops and our shared study/studio space are also within a 10 minute walk of the hotel. The banks of the Kitakami River, a park overlooking the Pacific coast, and countless coffee shops offer space for reflection and creativity throughout the day.


What you will do and learn. 

Acquire woodturning carving skills

Learn traditional and modern kokeshi painting techniques

Experiment with kokeshi design

Produce their own innovative kokeshi pieces


Image by Clay Banks
Image by David Edelstein

Where we stay:

As a zen-inspired building, our 4-star accommodation is all about harmony and calmness. This artful boutique retreat blends seamlessly with the cityscape, inviting you to walk Kyoto's historical paths. Please note: Room size and layouts may differ from the traditional North American standards - the two individual beds may be situated closer together.

japan room.jpg

Program Itenerary

Here is our best description of what your time will be like in Japan with AIP. 

Day 1 - Let's Meet! 

Arrive in Tokyo. Transfer from airport to Sakura Hotel Nippori. Group dinner at Sakura Hotel Nippori.

Day 2 -Train to Ishinomaki. 

Train to Ishinomaki. Hotel check-in & group dinner

Day 3 -Traditional Japanese breakfast at the hotel (complimentary) Art/Design Making Studio 1 at Tree Ishinomaki. ​Hike Hiyoriyama and out to the sea. Kameshichi Kimono Shop

Day 4 - Ishinomori Manga Museum. Oginohama & Gobansho Park Excursion. Sushi Making Workshop

Day 5 - Art/Design Making Studio 2 at Tree Tree Ishinomaki, Taiyaki Making Workshop


Day 6 - Art/Design Making Studio 3 at Tree Tree Ishinomaki. Ishinomaki architecture tour

Day 7 -Art/Design Making Studio 4 at Tree (Tree Ishinomaki). Tashirojima “Cat Island” Excursion


Day 8 -  Art/Design Making Studio 5 at Tree Tree Ishinomaki. ​Wood Working Studio at Ishinomaki Laboratory

*Note this schedule including dates is subject to change due to local weather, force majeure or new opportunities that better suit the needs of the group. This will help you get an accurate picture of what your experience will be like. AIP programs are non-refundable, due to the advanced planning required to make trips possible. We plan every detail to make sure our stay is excellent in every way. 

Trip Details and Pricing


This fantastic adventure is limited to ten guests.

*Rooms are all shared

Airfare to Japan is not included.

PRICE: $3900 USD

Image by Dave Weatherall
Let us know why you’re interested in Japan. We will keep you on our list and get back to you! 

Any questions?

Please check our FAQ or email

Suggested Reading:



The Inland Sea,

by Donald Richie


The World of the Shining Prince: Court Life in Ancient Japan,

by Ivan Morris


The Sound of Waves,

by Yukio Mishima


Japanese Gardens: Tranquility, Simplicity, Harmony,

by Geeta K. Mehta and Kimie Tada

Image by Manki Kim

 Japan is the most intoxicating place for me. The Japanese culture fascinates me: the food, the dress, the manners and the traditions. It’s the travel experience that has moved me the most. – Roman Coppola


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