It’s possible to learn about various traditional crafts and Kyoto culture at venues around the city. For yūzen dyeing head to the Kodai Yūzen-en gallery (daily 9am–5pm; ¥500; w www.kodaiyuzen.co.jp), located on Takatsuji-dōri, southwest of the Horikawa Shijō junction. Ask to see their introductory video in English, first and then, if you’re inspired, you can try yūzen hand-dyeing for yourself, on a handkerchief or table centrepiece (from ¥1600). Two blocks west of the Nishijin Textile Centre, on Nakasuji-dōri, you can learn about another hand-dyeing technique at the lovely old Aizen-kōbō workshop run by the Utsuki family (Mon–Fri 10am–5.30pm, Sat & Sun 9am–4pm; free; reservation essential at weekends; t 075/441-0355, w web.Kyoto-inet.or.jp/people/aizen). Aizen-kōbō’s owner, Kenichi Utsuki, gives explanations in English of the intricate and time-consuming techniques involved in indigo hand-dyeing. The cloth is dyed with natural indigo and then sun-dried to give it a glorious, rich shade of blue or green. The Kyoto Handicraft Centre offers demonstration classes for beginners in cloisonné (enamel-work) and woodblock printing (¥1890 for 1hr; book at the ground-floor information desk 1–4pm). The Uzuki Cooking School in northeastern Kyoto holds classes in seasonal Kyoto cuisine, mostly on weekday afternoons. The enthusiastic English-speaking instructor, Emi Hirayama, brings you into her own kitchen and takes you through the steps of creating a delicious four-course meal (¥4000/person; w www.kyotouzuki.com). Finally, WAK Japan (¥3500–5500/person; w www.wakjapan.com) offers 55-minute courses with English-speaking female teachers in tea ceremony, kimono, calligraphy, flower arrangement and musical instruments at their machiya school near the Imperial Palace. More expensive “home visit” lessons are also available (from ¥10,500).

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

Japan features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

Go solo: the 20 best places to travel alone

Go solo: the 20 best places to travel alone

Solo travel can be one of the most rewarding ways to explore the world. Whether you'd rather spend it on a desert island or in a frenetic new city, here are the…

21 Dec 2016 • Rachel Mills camera_alt Gallery
11 tips for backpacking Japan

11 tips for backpacking Japan

With its tech-centric entertainment, ancient temples, lightning fast rail system and traditional art forms, Japan offers a fascinating mix of the new and the o…

12 Dec 2016 • Tamatha Roman insert_drive_file Article
Japan travel tips: 13 things to know before you go

Japan travel tips: 13 things to know before you go

With its glittering royal palaces, ancient temples and sacred shrines as well as sandy beaches, some of the world’s best skiing and beautiful national parks, …

14 Nov 2016 • Freya Godfrey insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month