Tour code: 5163KYO1611
Learn the intricate arts of Japan during a small-group origami class or calligraphy lesson, taught by an instructor inside an authentic Kyoto home during a 1- or 1.5-hour lesson. Choose between a calligraphy session, involving the methodical practice of applying brush to paper, or try your hand at origami, the delicate skill of paper folding. You can also upgrade your origami session with an optional dress-up in a traditional kimono. No matter your choice, you’ll receive personal attention during this small-group lesson, limited to just 7 participants.


  • 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

Apply yourself to the traditional artisan practices of Japan as you enjoy a 1 to 1.5-hour lesson learning origami or calligraphy from a local expert. Along the way you’ll discover the delicate beauty and supreme concentration fostered by these two elegant Japanese traditions.

Pick your preferred class time and skill from the list of options, proceeding to the machiya (traditional wooden townhouse), located just 5 minutes from the Kyoto Imperial Palace. These iconic houses, utilizing a characteristic building style of this ancient Japanese city, offer the perfect environment for your lesson. Upon your arrival you’ll meet your English-speaking guide and instructor who will oversee your lesson.

After observing a demonstration by your instructor, spend a few moments working to test and perfect your own origami/calligraphy technique. As you work to improve your skill, receive helpful tips from your instructor and translator along the way.

For those that select the kimono-dressing experience, you’ll have the opportunity continue wearing your ensemble as you fold more origami.

View full descriptions of each itinerary 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

Kylie S

5 star rating: Highly Recommended April 2016

Excellent introduction to the art of calligraphy. Smart, informative teacher and easy-to-find location. A small taste with a lovely art piece to keep at the end.

June D

5 star rating: Highly Recommended May 2015

Meiko was our instructor and she was brilliant! She guided us through the steps needed to write Japanese characters, including signing our work with our own names in Japanese, and we got to take away our work as keepsakes. It was great fun, very interesting to see how to do it properly, and Meiko's encouragement along the way made it most enjoyable! Would do it all over again for sure.

Megan C

5 star rating: Highly Recommended April 2015

Was able to make four items. Very fun!

Eva P

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.

Evie Lane P

5 star rating: Highly Recommended April 2014

This class was awesome! It was really fun to have our own personal origami instructor. A nice skill to learn that you can do at home.

Tracy S

5 star rating: Highly Recommended April 2014

Brilliant. The WAK, Womens Association of Kyoto were outstanding. My girls and I loved being dressed in kimonos and learning origami. Great afternoon, brilliant. Highly recommend. They were so gracious, excellent English, beautiful women

Ashlee B

4 star rating: Recommended April 2015

Instructor was very nice and patient. We enjoyed our calligraphy and would recommend taking the class. Great change of pace from all the walking- very relaxing and fun!


4 star rating: Recommended October 2014

Such a nice experience for my three kids under age 10. My son was hesitant but after a lollipop bribe, loved his samuri outfit. Origami session was 30 mins. Which was short. Could have spent a good hour. They displayed other examples but we only did one.

Juliet E A

4 star rating: Recommended September 2014

Similar to Taiko, it was a little intimidating trying to find this place when you don't speak the language. We did find the building easier, though. And the class was fun. We brought several origami projects plus a booklet of instructions home.

From USD $ 36.27

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