Textiles of Japan & the Festival of Quilts

Prices from £5,199


13 Jan 2020 - 27 Jan 2020
Duration: 14 nights
Ref: 20001
With: Pat Archibald


Prices from £5,199
Single Supplement: £799
Deposit: £400

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Join Pat Archibald on an extraordinary journey to the Land of the Rising Sun! A fascinating fusion of old and new, Japan’s soaring skyscrapers and high-tech innovation sit side by side with historical pagodas and traditional shrines. A country with deep-rooted cultural and religious beliefs, Japan also has a long history of textile excellence – making this tour the trip of a lifetime for quilters, patchwork and embroidery aficionados alike. As you visit Tokyo, Takayama, Kyoto and Fukuoka, you’ll explore cultural sights, meet local crafts people and take in the very best that Japan has to offer in terms of textiles. Along the way you’ll travel in the comfort of Japan’s famed bullet train and soak up the country’s physical beauty around Lake Kawaguchi in the shadow of iconic Mount Fuji. Your tour culminates with a 2 day visit to Japan’s Great Festival of Quilts where you’ll be astonished at the finesse demonstrated in the work of some of Japan’s finest quilters.


The largest show of its kind in Japan, Tokyo’s Quilt Festival is considered one of the most prestigious events in the quilting calendar. Held in the vast Tokyo Dome, the event attracts some 2.8 million visitors each year. You can expect a magnificent showcase of contemporary, traditional and miniature quilts including masterpieces from some of Japan’s best textile artists. Row upon row of booths house merchandisers from across the country where you’ll find all things quilting under one roof.


Meet your expert for this tour, Pat Archibald, at London Heathrow airport for your overnight flight to Tokyo


We'll land in Tokyo in the morning and meet our local guide before transferring by coach to our hotel. After some time to unpack and freshen up we’ll start our sightseeing with a visit to the Meiji Jingu shrine. The shrine is dedicated to Emperor Meiji, the first emperor of modern Japan. It was during Emperor Meiji’s reign that Japan modernised and westernised to become one of the world’s major powers. We’ll also get our first taste of retail therapy with a visit to ‘Blue & White’, a quirky shop presenting the best of blue and white handmade crafts.


Today we’ll visit Sensoji/Buddhist Kannon Temple in Asakusa, one of Tokyo’s districts where an atmosphere of the past survives. The temple is Tokyo’s oldest and one of the most colourful and popular. We’ll also take the opportunity to browse (and maybe buy!) in the shops in Nippori Fabric town.


This morning we travel to Nagoya by bullet train, Shinkansen, the first high speed train in the world. From the train station we’ll travel by coach to Arimatsu, a suburb of Nagoya and home of the Arimatsu-Narumi shibori. Here we’ll visit the tie-dyeing museum and enjoy a talk and workshop from one of the local experts. After the visit we’ll have some free time to stroll through the old town before continuing to Takayama.


We’ll spend a full day in Takayama today, visiting:

  • The morning market
  • Hida folk Village; an open-air museum exhibiting over 30 traditional houses from the region
  • Hida Crafts Experience, where we’ll make a Sarubobo doll
  • Festival Float Hall; where four of Takayama’s autumn festival’s floats are on display. The elaborately decorated floats are several hundred years old and beautiful examples of Takayama’s legendary craftmanship
  • Hida sashiko shop


This morning we’ll travel to Kyoto by train. Once in Kyoto we’ll go to the Nishijin area, well known for its textile industry. Here we’ll visit the Orinasukan Handmade Fabrics Museum to learn about their dyeing and weaving traditions. Our final visit of the day will be to the Kiyomizu-dera Buddhist temple, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most celebrated temples in Japan.


This morning we’ll take a sightseeing tour of Nara, Japan’s first permanent capital. It remains full of historic treasures including some of Japan’s oldest and largest temples. We'll visit Todai-ji temple, built in 752 as the head temple of all provincial Buddhist temples in Japan. The main hall is the world’s largest wooden building. We continue to Uji, where we’ll visit local quilting teacher Ms Nakazawa for a workshop and tea ceremony. Lunch is included today.


We'll enjoy a relaxing morning at the hotel before starting our sightseeing tour of Kyoto, including a visit to Kinkaku-ji (Golden Pavillion) Zen Buddhist temple, one of Kyoto’s most iconic sites. In the afternoon we’ll visit the Yamamoto Roketsu dyeing studio for a workshop using this traditional technique.


This morning we’ll visit the Toji Temple flea market before travelling by bullet train to Fukuoka, on the island of Kyushu. On arrival we’ll visit the Hakata Traditional Art & Craft Museum, where we’ll view the traditional crafts of the area including the most famous; Hakataori textiles and Hakata dolls.


We start the day in the craft town of Kurume for a workshop with local dyeing expert, Yamaai. In the afternoon we’ll visit Yamedento Kogeikan Museum & Shop and the Yumezaiku dyeing studio for a workshop on natural dyeing techniques.


This morning we fly back to Tokyo and transfer to Lake Kawaguchi, the second largest of the five Fuji lakes. From the panoramic rope way, we’ll enjoy magnificent views of Mount Fuji and the lake. This evening we’ll dine together at our hotel and enjoy a traditional hot spring bath.


This morning we’ll visit Kubota Itchiku Art Museum. Kubota Itchikuu was the artist who revived the lost art of Tsujigahana silk dyeing, used to decorate elaborate kimono during the Muromachi Period (1333-1573). In his early twenties he was so inspired by a fragment of Tsujigahana textile exhibited at the Tokyo National Museum, that he devoted the rest of his life to recreating and mastering the labor-intensive silk dyeing technique. We’ll continue through the countryside, with constant views of Mt Fuji, to renowned artist Akie Ginza’s Sashiko Museum and Shop, located in a traditional Japanese farmhouse.


Two days to immerse yourself and soak up the atmosphere of the renowned Tokyo International Quilt Festival.


It's time to say farewell to Japan as we depart the hotel and travel to the airport for our return flight to London.


Twin room: £5199 per person
Single supplement: £799
Discount for triple room: £100 per person
Please call to enquire about booking a triple room.

Deposit: £400 per person


  • Return international flights with British Airways
  • 13 nights bed and breakfast accommodation
  • Private coach transfers and guided sightseeing
  • Travel in reserved seats by bullet train
  • Entrances to museums and temples
  • Sarubobo doll workshop at Hida Takayama Crafts Experience
  • Stitching workshop in the home of local quilt expert Ms Nakazawa, including lunch and tea ceremony
  • Workshops on a variety of dyeing techniques with local experts
  • Domestic flight from Fukuoka to Tokyo
  • Western-style dinner at Mt. Fuji hotel
  • 2-day entrance ticket to the Tokyo Festival of Quilts
  • The company and expertise of Pat Archibald
  • The services of an experienced local Tour Manager


Meals and drinks unless otherwise stated, Porterage, Travel insurance.


A good degree of mobility is required for this holiday due to the amount of walking, sometimes uphill, involved in visits to the shrines.

If you have a ‘British Citizen’ or ‘British National (Overseas)’ passport, you can enter Japan as a visitor for up to 90 days without a visa. Your passport should be valid for the proposed duration of your stay. No additional period of validity beyond this is required.

Visit your health professional at least 8 weeks before your trip to check whether you need any vaccinations or other preventive measures.


Why not bring a non-crafting partner with you?
If a non-crafting family member or friend wishes to accompany you on any of our holidays, and is sharing a room with you, then the following reductions will apply to the price the non-crafter pays:
Worldwide - £75


Stitchtopia Holidays are designed with all crafters in mind, wherever you live in the world! If you would like to make your own flight arrangements and meet us at our first hotel, please let us know - we would love to tell you more about our “meet us there” holiday discounts.


For single travellers who are interested in our trips, but don’t have a friend able to come with them why not join our "Stitch Together" programme to help with the costs of a single occupancy room? We have designed a way for you to find someone to share a room with on any of our Stitchtopia Holidays.

Find out more about our "Stitch Together" programme >>

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Best Western Hotel, Takayama

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The Tokyo Dome Hotel

This 4-star hotel is within easy walking distance of Tokyo Dome, the venue for Tokyo’s Festival of Quilts. The hotel combines comfortable spaces and modern and warm interiors with playful artwork and exquisite views. Room facilities include refrigerator, kettle, safe, TV, free wifi and hairdryer. Dining options at the hotel include Italian, French and Japanese formal restaurants, casual dining salad bar and grill and a buffet restaurant offering Western, Chinese and Japanese options.