Explore the paper art and craft of Japan, June 16 – 28, 2024.

This is a fully booked, private tour coordinated by Helen Hiebert. Please do not share this link with anyone.


June 16: Arrive in Japan and meet at Hotel Nikko at Kansai International Airport (KIX). You can walk or take a short free shuttle ride to the hotel.

Echizen June 17 – 20:

We will travel together by train to Echizen on June 17th, a village with over 1500 years of papermaking history.

In Echizen, we will visit 5-6 papermaking studios, where we will see various stages of production – from cooking to sheet formation – as well as finished products. Each mill has a specialty, such as large-format sheet formation, pulp painting, pulp pouring, and water manipulation. We will have a nice walk to the only shrine in Japan that is dedicated to Kawakami Gozen, the goddess of paper. We will also try our hand at making washi (Japanese paper) at the paper museum.

Our guide/translator in Echizen will be Nick Cladis, who lived in Echizen for six years. He is an interdisciplinary artist and papermaker and is currently the papermaking specialist at the University of Iowa Center for the Book. I met Nick in Echizen in 2019, when he gave my husband and me a fully packed one-day tour. That’s where the seed for the Japan Paper Tour was planted. Listen to my podcast interview with Nick.

Gifu/Mino June 21 – 23:

We will travel together by train to Gifu on June 21st, and then by bus to Mino later in the day.

In Gifu, we will visit the Ozeki showroom where the lanterns designed by Isamu Noguchi in the 1950’s are on view. I hope to secure a visit to the factory to see how they make these akari light sculptures. We will also visit a local shop that sells traditional paper umbrellas. We are staying at a traditional ryokan in Mino, which is next door to the Washi Nary Store. We will also visit the Mino Washi Museum.

Our guide in Gifu and Mino will be Andrew Dewar, who has lived in Japan since 1988. Soon after arriving in Japan, he rediscovered his childhood love of paper airplanes, and has been flying and designing them ever since. He teaches papercraft at schools, community centers, and museums around the country and has more than 40 publications about origami, paper toys and paper planes. Andrew is also the a kindergarten principal and library director. Listen to my podcast interview with Andrew

Kyoto: June 23 – 28

We will travel together by bus back to Gifu and then on to Kyoto by train on June 23rd.

Masato Fujiwara is a tour guide and is coordinating the bulk of this tour. He will be our guide and interpreter in Kyoto. He is the husband of Sarah Brayer, an American paper artist who has lived in Kyoto for more than 30 years.

In Kyoto, we will spend our mornings touring sites, such as gardens and temples and a wonderful Bamboo Grove, and after lunch we will visit artist studios and paper shops. We’ll have plenty of time to wander around on our own in the afternoons as well (our formal tours will end by 3pm). We will take a day trip to visit a traditional indigo dyer. Our tour will conclude with a visit to Sarah’s studio and a special catered dinner and geisha performance at Masa and Sarah’s lovely home on our final evening in Kyoto. Listen to my interview with Sarah Brayer on Paper Talk.


All accommodations will be booked for you.


* Cost: $5,300 or $6,300

$500 deposit due July 15, 2023

$4800 (shared room) $5800 (private room) balance due January 1, 2024

* Price is subject to change due to potential increase in hotel rates for 2024, currency fluctuations, government taxes and fee increases or unforeseen circumstances.


Registration Form

Please find registration and payment information on the following registration form, which you will need to download, print out and submit with your deposit.

PDF Registration Form

If you have any questions contact Helen at helen@helenhiebertstudio.com.