Ishinomaki, Japan

Art &

Design & Artisan Workshops and Residency

Program Overview

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.

Program Dates: May 15-27, 2021

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.


Our Japanese Community

Immerse in the hospitality and traditions of Japan in a welcoming environment of art, craft, and culture.

Suggested Reading:



The Inland Sea,

Donald Richie


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

Ivan Morris


The Sound of Waves,

Yukio Mishima


Japanese Gardens: Tranquility, Simplicity, Harmony,

Geeta K. Mehta and Kimie Tada


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

Japan Temple Ceremony

What's Included?

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.​

Transportation via train from airport

International Health Insurance 

* Flight not included in price

This trip is limited to ten people*

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

Where we stay:

Hospitality and traditions extend into the accommodations in beauty, harmony, and calm. We take pride in our unique access to a lovely environment that will nurture your artistic experience.

Customs such as removal of shoes at entrances to rooms and some businesses will become part of your daily immersion into this rich cultural experience. Public sento and private onsen will provide you with a nurturing health routine and an awareness of Japanese traditions.


Please note: Room size and layouts may differ from the traditional North American standards - the two individual beds are likely to be situated closer together. 

japan room.jpg

Program Itinerary

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

and more...

*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.

Trip Details and Pricing


*Rooms are all shared

Airfare to Tokyo, Japan is not included.

PRICE: $3900 USD

Image by Dave Weatherall

Other trip details:

Other cool things to do:

Explore nature and ecology of this region with a variety of options such as Hiyoriyama Park, Tashiro Island, or Gobansho Park or just gazing at the Pacific Ocean. The Cat Island TASHIROJIMA is a rare opportunity where cats outnumber humans 6 to 1 and you'll find a cat shrine and other cat related aspects. You may love exploring the architecture and exhibition space of the Ishinomori Manga Museum as well as Manga Road. A trip to Kinkansen Island is a must where you will encounter sacred deer and legendary Koganeyama Shrine on this holy Shinto Island.

What is Shinto?


Shinto is the indigenous religion of Japan that honors the spirt - kami - in nature from the wind and the rain to the trees and earth. Shinto traditions can be found in shrines as well as the torii gates or natural objects (trees and stones) wrapped with rope. Some of the key concepts in Shinto include: purity (both physical cleanliness and the avoidance of disruption, and spiritual purity), physical well-being, harmony (wa), and reverence of nature among others.

Travel Arrangements:

AIP will email you when it is time to get your ticket. We will complete much planning in advance, and will email this to you ninety or more days before your tip. We will send more specific details once you sign up for the trip. You will be met at the airport, and we will all go to the hotel together. 


Northern Japan weather will be different than in the city. Please also be prepared to be outside as well as indoors in a variety of climate controlled environments that may be different than one experiences in the west. The average temperature are mid-to-low 60s F (high teens in C) and overnight temperatures can dip to about the high 40s F (10 degrees C). Rain is one of the elements that makes for a magical Japan so you may want to have layers or you'll be able to use one of the community umbrellas.

May 15, 3:00 PM

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Artist Immersion Program
123 Bowery

New York NY, 10002


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