Nagano Prefecture Workshops & classes

Our most recommended Nagano Prefecture Workshops & classes

Kyoto: 45-Minute Tea Ceremony Experience

1. Kyoto: 45-Minute Tea Ceremony Experience

You will take you place on the tatami, the traditional Japanese floor mat and be met by your English-speaking host, who is a licensed tea master from Urasenke, the biggest school of tea ceremony in Japan. Watch as the host carries out the ceremonial preparation of matcha, powdered green tea. Then, you will have the chance to make tea yourself, while the host informs you about the history and spiritual role of the tea ceremony and the effects each tea-making method has on its flavor. Afterwards, savor some traditional Japanese sweets Once the ceremony has come to a close, you will have the chance to take photos and see examples of kimonos and beautiful woven textiles made in the Nishijin district of Kyoto. If you'd like to wear a kimono during the experience, you can select it as an add-on during booking and take photos to remember the experience.

Kyoto: Tea Ceremony Ju-An at Jotokuji Temple

2. Kyoto: Tea Ceremony Ju-An at Jotokuji Temple

Start your tea ceremony experience by entering through the main gates of the Jotoku-ji Temple. You will pass the entrance to the Grand Tearoom on your left and a shop next to it and meet at the nearby red benches where your guide awaits. Whilst walking through the temple you are free to admire the architecture and stand by the purification fountain. Weather permitting, you are free to sit at the red benches and for a break. In the event of rain you can stand outside under the gable of the shop or wait in the Grand Tearoom. Once you have finished perusing the temple or sitting on the red benches taking in the atmosphere you are able to enter the Grand Tearoom where your instructor waits for you.  Start your tour of the Temple with a traditional purification ritual, a completely unique and insightful experience for Western visitors. Afterwards you will remove your shoes at the entrance of the Grand Tearoom and in your group, proceed inside to take your seat. Get the chance to sample matcha tea at its best. The Tea Master will guide you throughout, showing and explaining every step of the way. Throughout the ceremony you will be taught the fine art of drinking matcha tea and learn about the importance of the ceremony.

Nishiki Market Food Tour with Cooking Class

3. Nishiki Market Food Tour with Cooking Class

Explore Nishiki Market with your local Japanese guide, followed by a cooking class. It only takes 15 minutes to walk through this historical food market if you do not have anyone to explain about its history, custom and foods, but if you have someone who is knowledgeable about the market, you can easily spend hours. You can ask question about the foods you may not have seen before to your guides, and even to some shop staff to who your guide will help translate.  What is more unique about this private tour is that you can cook your own donburi (bowl) meal by the ingredients you just bought in the tour. Ingredients cost is included in the tour. You can choose from three options; Kaisen-don (seafood), Ten-don (tempura) or Oyako-don (chicken & egg).  The tour starts from the Nishiki Market Western entrance. You will be briefed about the tour then you will start the tour. Typically you should spend about 1 hour in the Nishiki Market and later you cook and eat your own donburi in 1 hour.  Tour tour is private so you can ask as many questions as you may have, and the tour moves at your pace.

Kyoto Samurai Class: Become a Samurai Warrior

4. Kyoto Samurai Class: Become a Samurai Warrior

Study the art of the samurai warrior class that ruled ancient Japan for centuries. Practice the stylized movements that make up the samurai technique as you handle a sword and uncover the discipline of Kembu. Watch a 3-minute film about the basics of the samurai. Then, suit up and take hold of your samurai sword. Learn how to bow before your sword training begins. Discover how to draw it and replace it in its protective scabbard. Get a short photo shoot in your samurai suit, and then discover how to wield the sword against a potential opponent. End with a respectful bow to your instructor, grab your souvenir photos and certificate of achievement before leaving.

Kyoto: Morning Japanese Bento Cooking Class

5. Kyoto: Morning Japanese Bento Cooking Class

Experience an authentic Japanese food tradition and prepare your own bento box at a morning bento cooking class in Kyoto. Learn about typical Japanese dishes, such as sushi, tempura and miso soup, and hear about the cultural background of the well-known Japanese "bento" takeaway meal. Traced back to the late Kamakura Period (1185 to 1333), the bento box has now become a staple of Japanese cuisine. Arrive for your 2.5 to 3-hour class and collect your ingredients, apron and utensils. Then, watch and follow your chef as they demonstrate the art of bento and explain the tricks to making beautiful Japanese dishes often found in a bento box. Once you have finished cooking your dishes, enjoy the fruits of your labor and tuck into your bento lunch.

Kyoto: Traditional Bookmaking Workshop

6. Kyoto: Traditional Bookmaking Workshop

Select your own kimono fabric and make your own book to take away with you. Be taught all the techniques and choose from a regular, advanced, or Temple Stamp bookmaking class. Visit the family-run studio of a traditional bookmaker in the Kitano Hakubaicho district near the Golden Temple. Feel welcomed in a location surrounded by local gardens in one of the few original geisha entertainment districts. Learn techniques like page stitching, sizing, and cover creation, as well as how to press a book. Select your favored patterns from kimono textiles and fabrics to design your item. The bookbinder will guide you as you glue, arrange, and assemble your own traditional Japanese book. Choose from a regular, advanced, or Temple Stamp bookmaking class. Temple Stamp books are used in Japan as passport-like proof of pilgrimage to a temple, while advanced classes will also teach embossing.

Miyajima: Cultural Experience in a Kimono

7. Miyajima: Cultural Experience in a Kimono

Enter Tokujuji Temple and have a traditional Japanese cultural experience, combining your choice of a tea ceremony, calligraphy lesson, or both, all while wearing traditional Japanese dress. During the calligraphy lesson, you'll learn about the tools used and how to draw the lines with step-by-step instructions. You'll have plenty of time to practice one or more of the Kanji, Chinese Characters, to draw. While you practice, your instructor will make a sample of your name. Once you have practiced the Kanji, practice how to draw your name in Japanese, either in Hiragana or Katakana. Select the best of your work and sign it and stamp it. It will be put into a cylinder to take home. The tea ceremony has 5 steps. First, the tea master will bring in the tools. Then, they will purify the tools, make the tea, clean the tools, and take everything back to the Mizuya, backyard. Enjoy sweets and matcha tea. Learn how to drink the tea in the correct manner and how to make the tea. Take a walk in the beautiful Japanese garden and have pictures taken.

Kyoto: Afternoon Japanese Izakaya Cooking Class

8. Kyoto: Afternoon Japanese Izakaya Cooking Class

Join an afternoon Izakaya cooking class to enjoy a great way to immerse yourself in Japanese dining culture as well as learn authentic Japanese foods that are eaten at home and in local restaurants. The cooking course consists of two parts. First, you will cook 2 or 3 dishes together with your chef and enjoy them. Then you will return to the kitchen and learn 2 or 3 more dishes before eating once more. As in many Izakaya (over the counter) restaurants, be ready to talk with your chef while cooking and eating at the same time. 

Kyoto: Authentic Japanese Art Sushi Roll Lesson

9. Kyoto: Authentic Japanese Art Sushi Roll Lesson

Make sushi rolls that look like a beautiful flower during this fun and crafty lesson with local experts. Made using rice vinegar, sugar, sesame, ginger, vegetables, and nori (seaweed), you will learn about the essential history and trivia of sushi rolls. Wear a beautiful komono and enjoy fresh Japanese tea and water during the class. Japanese sushi rolls were first created between 1750 and 1776 during the Edo period (1603-1868) when the popular culture blossomed. At that time, sushi made using sake and vinegar spread and a wide variety of foods became popular. In the early 1800s, sushi that could be made quickly using vinegar became mainstream. In the Showa period, sushi rolls began to made in a more complicated pattern. Using special recipes and ingredients, you will acquire the skills to continue making beautiful sushi rolls at home.

Kyoto: 2-Hour Maiko Makeover and Photo Shoot

10. Kyoto: 2-Hour Maiko Makeover and Photo Shoot

On this special 2-hour activity, learn about the life and art of the maiko, or apprentice geiko. Maiko are female performing artists who wear traditional makeup, hairstyles and costumes. They work in the Gion area and perform various Japanese arts such as classical music, dance and games. The maiko are apprentices and are between 15 and 20 years old. You don’t have to be in this age range to participate in the Yumeyakata Maiko Makeover project, however! The professional staff will apply your makeup, use a wig, and dress you extravagantly to look like the real thing. They'll also show you the proper maiko poses for beautiful pictures.  The package includes studio photography, so you’ll have souvenir photos to show your family and friends.

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What people are saying about Nagano Prefecture

I was lucky enough to have an entire advanced workshop to myself, with just the instructor, Mr Matsuda and the translator, Akari, who were both lovely! I loved asking Mr Matsuda about how he got into bookmaking and he was very charming and friendly. So much detail and care goes into every book he makes that at the end of the workshop I was honored to own something he helped me create! An amazing and unique experience.

We had an awesome time. First our tea-master introduced us to some traditions of the temple. After she showed us how to prepare matcha tea everyone of us tried it themselves. I can highly recommend that! We are very happy and had a very good time!

I’m an avid cook but I still enjoy the knowledge that the instructor shared about Japanese cooking. I’m so glad that my son joined the cooking class with me so that he can learn some basics of Japanese cooking.

Such an excellent cooking class! We had to best time - the food was delicious! The class was very relaxed, yet very informative. A must activity whilst in Kyoto!!

She gave me a wonderful Kimono to wear for the ceremony. The matcha and the mochi was excellent.