1.866.316.7268 [email protected]
WPCS 2.1.3
1.866.316.7268 [email protected]
WPCS 2.1.3

Discover Japan: Watercolor Pen & Ink Art Retreat


Take this journey through Japan with an award-winning artist, Lorraine Watry. With 25 years of experience, Lorraine will help you to develop your own style of watercolor pen and ink artwork. From light sketching to Plein air painting Lorraine will guide you by providing personalized instruction, demonstrations and group critiques. This art retreat welcomes artists of all levels. Beginner to advanced students can collaborate and encourage each other in a creative atmosphere.


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October 30, 2020
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Tour Factors

Tour Immersion in Culture
Cultural Immersion
Tour Pace
Tour Physical Activity
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Tour Details

Between the imperial city of Kyoto, and the shogun’s city of Tokyo, lies Central Japan. This area of Japan epitomizes the extremes and contradictions of Japan today. The densely populated coastal belt city of Tokyo is a stark contrast with the beautiful natural scenery of the mountainous central area. Though readily accessible, central Japan is still remote enough to have retained traditional lifestyles and architecture. These unique destinations will provide the perfect backdrop for your artistic expression and adventurous spirit.

*Please note: This is a special departure and requires a minimum number of 12 participants. We will send a group announcement to all those who have registered as soon as the minimum number of participants is reached.

Lorraine Watry, NWSMeet your Instructor 

Lorraine Watry is a Colorado contemporary realist painter of water-scapes, landscapes, and reflective objects. Lorraine’s paintings are characterized by bright colors, dramatic light and realistic reflections. Lorraine likes the challenge of painting reflections in water, glass, and metal.

Lorraine has a Bachelor of Fine Art from the University of Colorado in Boulder. Lorraine began working with watercolor 25 years ago. She taught multi-level watercolor at Pikes Peak Community College for several years. Lorraine is in her 10th year of teaching watercolor and drawing to classes at her studio and other venues. Lorraine enjoys passing on her love of the watercolor medium to her students.

Lorraine was recently filmed as a featured artist by “Colour in Your Life” an Australian art TV show. The show aired Nov. 22, 2018 on Youtube & will be sent to over 300 channels around the world.

Lorraine has achieved Signature Status in the National Watercolor Society, Rocky Mountain National W. S., Colorado Watercolor Society and the Pikes Peak Watercolor Society and has paintings juried into many National and International Exhibitions.

Lorraine has an 8 page article in the June/July 2019 issue of the International Artist Magazine. Lorraine’s painting, “Tadpole Takeout”, won 2nd place in the International Artists Magazine, ‘Wildlife’ competition, and is published in the Oct/Nov 2018 issue. She has also received recognition from art publications including – The Artist Magazine, & Pratique des Arts.

Gliding Through A Sunset © Lorraine Watry

Gliding Through A Sunset © Lorraine Watry

  • 26 Hours of Art Workshop Time
  • Experience teamLab Borderless - Mori Building Digital Art Museum
  • Private workshop at Pigment
  • Stay at a Japanese-Style Ryokan
  • Shirakawago - UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Kenrokuen - Rated as One of Japan's Three Best Gardens
  • Tea Ceremony
  • Japanese Calligraphy Class
  • Private Meet a Maiko Session
  • Reserved Seat Train Tickets on all Inter-City Travel
  • Meeting service at the arrival airport
  • Sending service to the appropriate train station
  • Baggage transfer
  • Electronic version of Tour Handbook and Japanese History
  • Airfare is NOT included
  • A printed itinerary is not included
  • Alcoholic beverages, soft drinks and desserts are NOT included
  • Travel Insurance is NOT included
Tour Destinations
  • Tokyo
  • Hakone
  • Takayama
  • Shirakawago
  • Kanazawa
  • Kyoto
  • Nara
Expand All

Day 1Arrive in Tokyo

After clearing customs and immigration (which can take up to an hour and a half due to increased tourism to Japan), you will be met at Tokyo’s Narita Airport by a Samurai Tours meeting assistant. They will purchase a limousine bus ticket for you and help you board the bus to the hotel. No meals included.

Travel: 1-1/2 Hours; Walking: Light

Day 2Tokyo – teamLab Borderless, Pigment Workshop, Asakusa

After breakfast, you will start the day with a Welcome/Orientation meeting. Next, the licensed, English-speaking guide will escort the group to the teamLab Borderless – Mori Building Digital Art Museum. Mori Building Digital Art Museum uses 520 computers and 470 projectors to create an immersive experience for everyone. The artwork communicates, influences and intermingles with other works all while you are moving in and out of each room. Lose yourself in an ever-changing landscape that you take a hand in creating. After free time at the museum, the group will stop for lunch at a local restaurant. After lunch, the group will travel to the popular Pigment lab. A simple and elegant store made almost entirely of bamboo was designed by world-renowned artist Kengo Kuma. Here you will find quality materials. The wide variety of supplies include pigments in 4,500 hues, 200 kinds of sumi ink sticks and 50 types of isinglass (including original formulas). You can find paintbrushes and calligraphy brushes made with squirrel, weasel and other types of hairs. Here the group will enjoy a private workshop to create their own original paints. Next, we will travel to the nearby Asakusa area. Here we will tour the Nakamise-dori, Senso-ji Buddhist Temple and the Asakusa Shrine where you will learn about Buddhist and Shinto Japanese religious practices. Take some time to get pictures and select a place to work for the upcoming art workshop. We will return to the hotel, where you will receive the train tickets for the entire tour. Breakfast at the accommodations and lunch at a local restaurant included.

Travel: 1 Hours; Walking: Heavy

Day 3Art Workshop - Asakusa (Sensoji Temple)

Today the group with have the first 4-hour art workshop at Sensoji Temple. After a brief painting demonstration, the group will select a location to paint. Lorraine will travel to each student to discuss their work. The group will have a short break for lunch (on your own). After the workshop the rest of the afternoon is free. Breakfast at the accommodations included.

If you are ready for more inspiration, visit one of the many art museums in Tokyo on your own.

Tokyo National Museum
Founded in 1872, this museum is the oldest and one of the most significant national museums. Featuring one of the largest and best collections of art and archaeological artifacts in Japan, a visit here is essential for travelers interested in the long history behind Japanese art. Good English information and audio guides are available.

Nezu Museum
This museum’s collections feature pre-modern Japanese and East Asian art. The Museum collection covers many genres of art and crafts created by ancient calligraphers, ceramicists, armor makers, metalworkers, textile makers, painters, lacquerware craftspersons, sculptors and others, and includes many archaeological artifacts. All exhibits have explanations in English.

Tokyo Metropolitan Teien Art Museum
Housed in an elegant art deco building, this museum is surrounded by beautifully landscaped grounds, including Japanese and Western-style gardens. Visit the museum website for a list of current exhibitions.

Gallery hopping in Roppongi is a great way to get a high concentration of art galleries and visit two major art museums, Mori Art Museum and the National Art Center.

Day 4Free Morning in Tokyo; Travel to Hakone Yumoto Onsen

Before leaving Tokyo, you will prepare your luggage to be transferred to Takayama, and will be traveling to Hakone and Takayama with an overnight bag only. You should prepare your overnight back with enough items for 3 days and 2 nights. This morning is a free morning to enjoy the world-class city of Tokyo. Go shopping for that perfect souvenir, visit the Meiji Shrine dedicated to the Japanese emperor of the 19th century, or wander through the trendy Shibuya or Harajuku districts where you will more than likely see interesting and far-out fashions. You will meet back at a predetermined time and location to travel to Hakone Yumoto Onsen, where we will stay overnight. Here you can enjoy the thermally-heated mineral baths at the ryokan. Breakfast and dinner at the accommodations are included.

Travel: 1 1/2 Hours; Walking: Light

Day 5Art Workshop - Hakone Shrine Complex and Lake Ashinoko

After breakfast, we will travel to Hakone Shrine Complex and Lake Ashinoko where we set up for a 6-hour workshop. You will have the opportunity to select multiple locations or continue to work in the same area. In the afternoon, there will be a break for a painting demonstration and a bento box lunch. After the workshop, we will have some free time to explore Hakone on your own. The group will meet back at the accommodations for dinner and participate in an optional art critique. Breakfast at the accommodations, bento box lunch and dinner at the accommodations are included.

Travel: N/A Hours; Walking: Light

Day 6Tour Hakone- Hakone Ropeway, Lake Ashi Sightseeing Boat; Travel to Takayama

After checking out of the accommodations, we will have free time to tour Hakone. Hakone is famous for its natural beauty and the view of nearby Mt. Fuji (weather permitting). Many different forms of transportation (electric train, funicular, gondola and bus) are available for getting around Hakone including the Hakone Sightseeing Boats on Lake Ashi. In good weather, passengers aboard the sightseeing cruise can get a fine view of Japan’s most famous peak, Mount Fuji, and enjoy Hakone’s rich scenery reflected on the lake’s calm surface. After returning to Hakone Yumoto and picking up our overnight bags, we will continue on to Takayama. Takayama, in the middle of the Japan Alps, with its traditional inns, shops, and sake breweries, has managed to retain its traditional charm. We will have dinner at the accommodations upon arrival in Takayama. Breakfast and dinner at the accommodations included.

Hakone Open Air Museum
Hakone Open Air Museum successfully attempts to create a harmonic balance of nature and art by exhibiting various sculptures on its grounds in combination with views of the surrounding valley and mountains.

The museum has various different sections and exhibition spaces outdoors and indoors. The Picasso Exhibition Hall is one such space and showcases two stories of paintings, sculptures and ceramic works by the artist in addition to photos of him at various points during his life.

(PLEASE NOTE: High winds and/or heavy rain can, and will often cause cessation of services on the Sightseeing Boat cruise.)

Travel: 5 Hours; Walking: Medium

Day 7Art Workshop - Takayama Old Town or Sakurayama Hachimangu Shrine

After breakfast, we will travel to Takayama Old Town to start the 6-hour workshop with a short sketching session. After some time in Takayama Old Town, the group will travel to Sakurayama Hachimangu Shrine where you can set up to paint the oldest shrine in Takayama. There will be a short break in the afternoon to enjoy a bento box lunch. After the workshop, we will have some free time to explore Takayama on your own. The group will meet back at the accommodations for dinner and participate in an optional art critique. Breakfast at the accommodations, bento box lunch and dinner at the accommodations are included.

Travel: N/A Hours; Walking: Light

Day 8Travel to Shirakawago; Free Time in Shirakawago; Travel to Kanazawa

Before leaving Takayama, you will need to prepare your main luggage for transfer to Kyoto. We will be traveling to Kanazawa with an overnight bag only. Please prepare your overnight bag for 3 days and 2 nights. After breakfast, we take a public highway bus to the valley of Shirakawa-go. Shirakawa-go is the home of many Gassho-zukuri (Praying Hand) style homes, which have been moved here from the surrounding area. These homes were first used as long ago as the 18th century and are still being used today. We stop for a short time to explore some of these traditional farmhouses. In the afternoon, we catch another public bus to the city of Kanazawa. Kanazawa, located on the northern coast of Japan, was once controlled by one of the wealthiest families in Japan, the Maeda Clan. They were admirers and sponsors of many traditional arts, and these arts flourished under their sponsorship. Many of these arts are still being practiced today in Kanazawa. Breakfast at the accommodations included.

Travel: 2 Hours; Walking: Light

Day 9Art Workshop - Kenrokuen Garden

We begin the day with free time in the Kenrokuen Garden. This garden is considered to be one of the three best gardens in Japan and was initially constructed in the 17th century. After enjoying the garden, we will set up for a 4-hour workshop at the gardens. After the workshop, we will have some free time to explore Kanazawa. Breakfast at the accommodations included.

For your free time, there are many great attractions in Kanazawa.

Kanazawa Castle
Reconstruction of the castle’s former main entrance gate, the Kahoku-mon Gate, was completed in spring 2010. Its upper floor can be entered free of charge and contains some displays about the gate’s history and construction. In 2015, the Hashizume-mon Gate and the Gyokuseninmaru Garden were added. The pretty garden features a central pond and a circular walking path.

Ishikawa Prefectural Museum of Traditional Arts and Crafts
The museum is housed in a 2-story building located at the outer perimeter of Kenroku-en Garden. This museum displays famous handicrafts and products produced in Ishikawa Prefecture. Gold leaf and dyed silk kimono (using the local Kaga Yuzen technique) are some of the numerous products on exhibit.

21st Century Art Museum
The 21st Century Museum is a popular museum which exhibits contemporary art by acclaimed artists from across the world. Well known, permanent installation includes Leandro Erlich’s “Swimming Pool” and James Turrell’s “Blue Planet Sky”.

Travel: N/A Hours; Walking: Light

Day 10Travel to Kyoto, Kyoto – Nijo Castle, Kinkakuji (Golden Pavilion), Nishiki Koji, Tea Ceremony, Japanese Calligraphy Class

After breakfast, we will travel by Shinkansen to Kyoto. Once we arrive in Kyoto we will start the day at Nijo Castle. Built-in 1603, it was the Kyoto home of Tokugawa Ieayasu, the first Tokugawa Shogun. The ostentatious style of construction was intended as a demonstration of Ieyasu’s prestige, and to signal the demise of the emperor’s power. The finest artists of the day filled the castle with delicate transom woodcarvings and paintings by the Kano School on sliding doors. One of the castle’s most intriguing features is the so-called “nightingale” floors. To protect the Shogun from real or imagined enemies, these floorboards creak when stepped on. Next, we will visit Kinkaku-ji. Kinkaku-ji, also known as the Golden Pavilion, is one of Kyoto’s, as well as Japan’s, most recognizable attractions. The gleaming building covered in gold leaf seems to float on the aptly named Mirror Pond, especially on a sunny day. After lunch, we will participate in an authentic tea ceremony. The regimented discipline of the tea ceremony has been practiced for more than 400 years, and at one time was considered mandatory for Samurai as an aid to train the mind. After the tea ceremony, we will travel to a Japanese Calligraphy workshop. Under the expert eye of a master calligrapher, you will try your hand at writing Japanese characters. Return to the accommodations and retrieve your main luggage. Breakfast at the accommodations and lunch at a local restaurant included.

Travel: 3 Hours; Walking: Heavy

Day 11Kyoto - Free Time, Private Maiko Dinner

Before leaving for the day, you will need to prepare your main luggage to be sent forward to the airport. If you would prefer to keep your luggage and take it with you to the airport, you can do so. If you will be sending the luggage, you will need to keep enough items for three days/two nights. The morning and afternoon are free. In the afternoon, we will meet back at the accommodations and travel to the Gion Geisha district. Here, in a teahouse, we will attend a Meet a Maiko session. (A Maiko is a Geisha in training.) She will perform a short dance, answer any of your questions and pose for pictures with you. You will have the opportunity to sketch and paint with Maiko present. After this we will enjoy dinner. Breakfast at the accommodations and dinner at a local Japanese restaurant included.

Travel: 1/2 Hours; Walking: Medium

Day 12Art Workshop - Nara

We will begin the day traveling by train to the nearby city of Nara. Nara was the original capital of Japan in the 8th century before it was moved to Kyoto. We will start our tour of Nara by walking through the heavily forested Nara Park. Here, we will find numerous temples and shrines hidden among the trees. Along the way, you can also feed the famous Nara deer. The deer have been in Nara since the 7th century, and roam freely protected by Buddhist traditions. At the far end of Nara Park, we will find Todaiji. Originally built in 752, the main hall is the world’s largest wooden building, despite the fact that the current building, built-in 1692, is only two-thirds the size of the original building. Inside the building is Japan’s largest bronze statue of Buddha (it is almost 50 feet tall). Here we will set up for the final 6-hour art workshop. After the workshop, the group will travel back to the accommodations in Kyoto. The group will meet to participate in the final optional art critique. The art critique will be followed by a special Sayonara dinner. Breakfast at the accommodations, bento box lunch and Sayonara dinner included.

Travel: 2 Hours; Walking: Medium

Day 13Return Home

It’s time to say goodbye. You will be escorted to Shin Osaka Station. From there you will travel to either of Osaka’s Airports (Kansai/Itami). Breakfast at the accommodations is included.

Travel: 1 Hour; Walking: Light

Walking level descriptions:
Light – 0 to 2 miles on level ground
Medium – 2 to 4 miles on level ground or 0 to 2 miles on hilly ground
Heavy – 4 to 6 miles on level ground or 2 to 4 miles on hilly ground

Dates & Pricing
DatesPrice (land only) / Single Supplement
(All prices are per Person)
StatusAssigned Lodging
Oct 30, 2020 - Nov 11, 2020
  • Local, licensed, English-speaking, Japanese guides
  • Meeting service at Tokyo’s Narita Airport or Tokyo’s Haneda Airport and transfer to the accommodations in Tokyo
    • The meeting service will meet you at the airport and provide you a transfer to the accommodations in Tokyo
    • Meeting service can only be provided between 6am and 9pm. If you arrive at a time outside of these hours, we will need to provide alternative directions for you to get to the accommodations on your own.
  • Sending service to Osaka’s Kansai Airport (KIX) or Osaka’s Itami Airport (ITM)
    • If you will be leaving from Tokyo’s Narita Airport or Haneda Airport, there will be an extra $150 fee per person for the train tickets from Osaka to one of these airports.

For those requiring meeting or sending services on other than the scheduled arrival/departure dates, there will be a $100 fee for the meeting service from the airport into Tokyo or the sending service to the Kyoto train station.)

  • Lodging for 12 nights in Japanese-style ryokans or western-style hotels
  • Meals
    • Japanese-style or Western-style breakfast every morning (Please Note: Some ryokans offer Japanese breakfasts only.)
    • Five Japanese-style lunches
    • Six Japanese-style dinners (including Sayonara dinner at the end of the tour)
  • The appropriate amount of free time to allow you to explore and discover your own personal Japan.
  • All transportation costs when traveling with the group. (Transportation costs during scheduled free times are the tour member’s responsibility.)
  • Admission fees to the destinations and activities listed in the Tour Highlights column on the right. (Itinerary specifics subject to change)
  • Electronic version of itinerary
  • Baggage transfer from the accommodations in Tokyo to the accommodations in Takayama (one bag only)
  • Baggage transfer from the accommodations in Takayama to the accommodations in Kyoto (one bag only)

Each tour member receives an electronic copy of our tour handbook. This handbook is full of tips and suggestions taken from our Japan travel experiences that allow you to better plan and prepare for your trip, and therefore enjoy your trip even more. The tips and suggestions included cover everything from how to save while exchanging money, what to pack, some basic Japanese-language tips, general etiquette do’s-and-don’ts, ryokan customs, etc.


  • Airfare is NOT included
  • A printed itinerary is not included
  • Alcoholic beverages, soft drinks and desserts are NOT included
  • Travel Insurance is NOT included