Our tour in October 2015 was fantastic...


We had great weather throughout and all had a great time exploring Kyoto's shops, temples and restaurants... These are a few of the photographs I took, I hope it gives you an idea of the variety of places and activities.


"I have enjoyed it so much. Your expert introduction to Kyoto has been invaluable and made it easy to get around.. thank you for all your guidance and patience with us (especially all the shopping!)...Thank you again for a wonderful tour. Ciao Putch"


See below for some of the photos!



Wednesday 7th

Arrival in Kyoto - there is Kyoto Tower!

We had an enjoyable dinner together in downtown Kyoto, Kaitenzushi (sushi train) as well as an orientation to Kyoto.

IMG 2439028



Thursday 8th 

Walking by the bank of Kamogawa (river) and finding our way to Kiyomizu-dera, overlooking Kyoto. Along the way, many great, cute, interesting and fascinating shops.



Friday 9th

Visit to Shoichi Kitamura's workshop for an inspiring introduction to his work.

Afterwards visiting Daigo-ji (temple) in Yamashina - away from the hordes of tourists!

That evening we had a great dinner together in one of Yamashina's Izakaya.

Kitamura san demonstrates carving

Shoichi Kitamura Studio

 Daigo-ji tower

Daigo-ji Garden

Saturday 10th

Visit to the mountain village of Kurama. Some of us walked to the mountain top temple.. amazing!

That evening we went to Kyoto Station, an architechtural masterpeice with great views of Kyoto city at night.

Kyoto tower at night

Kurama-dera top


Sunday 11th

We took in the great exhibition "Rinpa - 400 years of Kyoto Style" (sorry - no photos), visited Kawai Kanjiro's house / museum and caught the sunset at Fushimi Inari Taisha (Shinto shrine)

Kanjiros house


Fushimi inari taisha torii


Monday 12th

Shopping! At downtown Kyoto's incredible array of shops selling beautiful and amazing goods. Many of us had a wish list, so we could go straight to the shops we wanted.

brush shop


knife shop

Tuesday 13th

Split into two groups after a relaxed lunch at a small sushi bar, one group started their workshop, and the other went on a tour of specialist shops.

sushi for lunch

Richard's workshop

laquer shop

Wednesday 14th

The first group completed their workshop and the other went on a mission to Arashiyama!


Arashiyama ohashi

bamboo forest


Thursday 15th

Swapping over, the second group started their workshop with Richard Steiner while the other group visited some specialist shops in Kyoto city.

paper shop 2

Richards Door

Friday 16th

The second group completed their workshop while the first went on a guided shopping mission to a variety of art shops and others on the wish list.

That evening we had a great dinner together at a small restaurant just around the corner from our accommodation.

Julies hanga

Putchs hanga

paint shop

Saturday 17th

Leaving to return home... some of us stayed on for further adventures!


What is Mokuhanga?


Detail of traditional print "Haru Nano Higashi Genji" by Kunichika Toyohara


Mokuhanga is the traditional water based printing technique, originating in China and perfected in Japan.

A print is created through design, carving blocks for each colour, then printing each colour successively until the print edition is completed.


Mokuhanga is the Japanese word for wood block print. The Japanese characters 木版画 are 木 wood, 版 block and 画 picture.


In Japan its meaning is the print itself, but in general contemporary use it means both the print and the technique. Mokuhanga is growing in popularity worldwide as learning becomes more accessible to people outside of Japan.



Kunisada Printmaking tripty




Mokuhanga is chemical free, non-toxic, environmentally friendly, uses relatively simple hand tools and equipment and requires little space to produce beautiful work. The natural beauty of the materials - wood, pigment and hand-made paper are all retained and enhance each other. A great choice for Artists or any creative person!


no-poisons no-press




Terry McKenna Mokuhanga

This is a short video showing teacher Terry McKenna making one of his mokuhanga...

You can find more about Terry's work on his dedicated website at www.egaku.com.au

Kyoto Mokuhanga & Tokyo Ukiyo-e Tours

kyoto torii

 Find out more about these exciting, small-scale and unique tours

Tokyo & Nagano Brochure (PDF)

Kyoto Mokuhanga Brochure (PDF)

Students Login Here

Frequently Asked Questions

Are you running classes at later dates?

Yes! Our aim is to make Mokuhanga popular and accessible in Australia, so we would like to run as many courses as we can. This means repeating workshops and weekly courses. If you can't make an already scheduled weekend or weekly time, keep in touch by email, or keep watch on the website for upcoming courses as they are announced.

Do I have to make a Japanese style print?

No - you can make any style of image you prefer! Although the technique is "Traditional Japanese", your image can be anything you like, from realistic to abstract, single colour to multi colour..


The technique and medium lends itself to certain kinds of images - simplified imagery with clear blocks of colour is easiest to achieve for the beginner and fine lines and complicated combinations is better for the more experienced mokuhanga artist.


For your first print we will stress the importance of starting simply, as it is easy to become frustrated with a complicated piece in the beginning as you are just coming to terms with carving and printing.



I have some lino tools, are they OK to use?

Yes and er... no, it depends on the quality of the tools. You can carve with any tools that are sharp enough, and the Shina plywood we supply is relatively soft and easy to carve. With the cheapest tools it is not possible to get a sharp edge and you will soon become frustrated with these. It is better to use tools of higher quality - you will get better results, carving will be easier and more enjoyable, and you will progress quicker.


By all means bring the tools you have to a course and we can look at them and give our opinion. In course you can trial the student sets we sell and see if they are suitable for you.



My hands are not strong, can I carve the wood?

Some older people with weak hands or people with physical problems (such as RSI) find the intensive carving work difficult. If you are not used to using your hands, a weekend workshop can leave your hands tired / sore from holding and pushing the chisels.


If you think it is a problem you will need more time and less pressure to complete the carving and a weekly workshop might be more suited for you. The Shina plywood is relatively soft and with care you can carve a simple project. In the workshop we also have some time to assist your carving.


In the end it is your decision if you would like to try.

Will it take long to become good at Mokuhanga?

How long... well it depends how much you practice like every kind of skill. You could do one course to get the basics and then practice on your own, continuing to make your own mokuhanga, or you could do several courses and move on to more advanced levels. In reality it will take some time to fully grasp the fundamentals, become competent and consistent. Also you may have an existing skill set that you can apply - printmaking skills, art skills with other media, woodworking skills..


So, sorry there is no easy answer.


If you have never printed before it is realistic to aim for a simple, finished print from one course, but you will then need further practice or courses to develop the skills you need to make multi-colour prints with quality printing and registration and few or no errors.