5 star rating: Highly Recommended 6 Reviews

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  • Location: Kyoto, Japan
  • Duration:  About 1 hr to 1.5 hrs
Try your hand at the Japanese arts with your choice of a calligraphy or origami class! Take a 1-hour lesson from an expert instructor inside a beautiful Kyoto-style townhouse, and experience traditional arts in the old capital of Japan. You’ll practice calligraphy techniques with a brush and ink or learn to fold patterned paper into a variety of shapes. If you’d like, upgrade your origami lesson to include an additional hour getting dressed in a traditional kimono! Receive personal attention on this small-group tour, limited to 7 people.


  • 1- to 2-hour Japanese cultural experience in Kyoto
  • Learn to write Japanese calligraphy with brushstrokes and ink (if option selected)
  • Practice the art of origami and fold paper into small sculptures (if option selected)
  • Dress in a gorgeous kimono and wear it during your origami lesson (if option selected)
  • Small-group tour limited to 7 ensures a more personalized experience

What You Can Expect

Kyoto Small-Group Cultural Experience: Calligraphy or Origami Class

Kyoto Small-Group Culture Experience: Calligraphy or Origami Class with Optional Kimono Wearing

Meet your guide at a machiya – a traditional wooden townhouse that’s typically found in the historical capital – providing an authentic atmosphere for your calligraphy or origami lesson. (The location is just a 5-minute walk from the south end of the Kyoto Imperial Palace.)

After a demonstration by an expert instructor, you’ll have plenty of time to experiment with brush strokes or paper-folding techniques, depending on which class you’ve selected. Your English-speaking guide will translate your native Japanese teacher’s instructions as well as offer assistance during your lesson. If you upgrade your experience to include the kimono-wearing session, you’ll have the opportunity to keep it on while you fold origami. (See descriptions of each option below.)

View additional info


Option 1: Calligraphy Lesson (1 hour)
Practice the art of Japanese calligraphy, called shodo. Learn the proper way to use the brushes and liquid ink to write kanji (Japanese pictographs) as your instructor demonstrates how to begin and end each stroke. You’ll be introduced to a number of tools used, including brushes that come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Then, create your artistic composition, which requires concentration as you paint characters on the paper. After your lesson, you can take your work home with you!

Option 2: Origami Lesson (1 hour)
Experience the Japanese art of origami! This traditional Japanese craft of paper folding began in the 17th century but has been popular outside of Japan since the mid-1900s. Your instructor will demonstrate how to fold a flat, square sheet of paper into whimsical shapes and tiny sculptures such as hats, boats, animals or flowers. You'll even practice making paper cranes, a symbol of peace. A textbook featuring a variety of origami figures and techniques is made available for your reference. After your lesson, you are free to take your creations back home with you.

Option 3: Kimono-Wearing Session plus Origami Lesson (2 hours)
Before your origami lesson, you’ll be properly fitted with a traditional kimono and obi (sash). As your beautiful kimono is draped gracefully around you and the obi is tied around your waist, your guide will explain the historical custom of wearing the traditional garment in Japan. The full-length robes with wide sleeves are still worn on special occasions, especially weddings, and can be seen in Kyoto’s remaining geisha districts.

Once you’re adorned in the lovely kimono, settle in for a lesson on the art of origami! (See description above.)

Click on "View Additional Info" for the machiya location.

Customer Reviews

5 star rating: Highly Recommended January 2015

Great experience! I chose calligraphy lesson. My sensei Tomoko was very encouraging and taught me a lot about shodo. Thank you so very much.

Pauline G
United Kingdom

5 star rating: Highly Recommended September 2014

Booked this class for my husband, teenage son and self. Very enjoyable time was had by all of us. We complete three origami shapes which got progressively more difficult. We had a lot of fun and would happily do this class again.

From USD $ 32.62

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Tour code: 5163KYO1611


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