Affordable Japan - amazing group trips with a ceramic artist who is wildly enthusiastic about Japan!
Discover out-of-the tourist-zone places. See iconic temples in Kyoto. Enjoy nature in scenic mountains. Watch artisans at work. Savor sake, and enjoy incredible meals that are an experience, not just delicious food! I'm eager to share Japan with you and so excited to be taking tour groups again!
"You don't have to be a potter, you just have to love pottery!"
The tours include potter's studios, museums, and supply shops, but we'll also be doing a lot of sightseeing and hands-on art workshops in a variety of mediums. We'll see iconic temples, shrines, and traditional gardens. Along the way, we'll eat food that is exceptional both in presentation and flavor.
The tours are action packed, not recommended for people with mobility issues or physical fitness limitations. Each tour is different, but some days may include walking up to 15,000 steps a day. Some activities are physically demanding, may require good balance and stability, such as hiking a trail to view waterfalls.
Anyone is welcome age 20 and up! Private tours may include all ages. Spouses, friends, and family love the tour too!
Hand dyed by Master Ogata
Konnichiwa! Hello! I'm Sheri Leigh O'Connor, a Japan enthusiast! I have been taking people on tours to Japan for over a decade. I've been there over 20 times and speak enough Japanese to get us from point A to B, and shop! While in Japan, you'll meet kind, talented, authentic people I've met over the years, from tour guides, to indigo dyeing artists, to potters, to artists, and other creative individuals. I'm always excited to return for another visit.
Forming Trip2Japan LLC is a dream come true! Please join me on an ARTsome tour with Trip2Japan!
I was invited to go on an "Inspection Tour" in Japan by the Kumamoto government's department of tourism. It's in Kyushu, located in southwest Japan. I, and two other ceramics professors, were generously hosted on an eye-opening trip! Our guides took us to intimate inns, to homes of Samurai descendants, onsens (bathhouses), and other extraordinary out-of-the-way places that gave us deep insights into the culture.
I experienced "real Japan" not just touristy Japan. Since then, I've been joyfully taking people interested in ceramics, art, and history on different tours of Japan. We've visited different locations during various seasons, and I absolutely love each and every trip! You will too! It's affordable, educational, and ARTsome!
I was a ceramics professor for over 30 years, 24 at Sierra Nevada College, then University, where I'm now Professor Emeritus. I'm currently a practicing ceramic artist, specializing in pop art sculpture. For more information about my work, please visit: sherileighceramics.com.
I'm thrilled to now concentrate on the most interesting part of my academic career-- traveling to Japan! I first went to Japan in 2000 and became a devotee.
I have led university travel classes, community groups, and custom tours to Japan. I'm more than happy to answer any questions that you may have, and will provide lots of information prior to your trip, so you are prepared for travel in Japan.
Why is it so cheap? It's just me, no employees, and low overhead! I want nothing more than to take enthusiastic folks on multiple trips to Japan! With my years of experience arranging tours, I'm able to keep costs low by using public transportation: trains, busses, subways, and ferries. We'll travel on bullet trains using Japan's excellent rail pass. All transportation during the tour is included in the fee. There is no supplemental fee for single rooms! Single or doubles are the same price (except for tours including Gokanosho, where there will be shared rooms for two nights). Hotels are at least 3 stars, but often 4 and even 5 stars, if they have a rating. (The family run inns in Gokanosho aren't rated.)
Tour itineraries vary in locations, activities, and time of the year. Japan's gorgeous scenery changes with the season and geographic location.
The trip involves a lot of walking! It's not suitable for people with mobility issues. In addition to a lot of walking, participants hop on and off trains and busses with their luggage, hike on uneven trails, and are often on their feet for long periods. Some trips include trekking to view waterfalls, hiking in the mountains, and sitting on tatami mats for extended periods of time.
I have relationships with experienced tour guides who arrange activities, local studio visits, and transportation. They are enormously kind and generous.
I'm an artist. Yes, most tours of Japan will include amazing Japanese art, but chances are your tour guide will not be an artist. I've been all over Japan and have taken groups to Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, Fukuoka, Utsonomiya, Nikko (with its amazing temples), Nagano, Zao, Yudanaka (where there are adorable snow monkeys!), Mashiko (home of the famous potter Hamada), Shigaraki, Kumamoto, Odawara, Hakone, Takeo Onsen, Yatsushiro, and more.
On the group tours, you'll visit remote areas, stay at Ryokans (traditional Japanese hotels), enjoy onsens (Japanese baths), sleep on futons laid on tatami mats, and eat delicious Japanese food! It's edible sculpture on a plate! We'll also stay at Western Style hotels. Each tour is different. You'll meet working artists and craftspeople and see how they make their artworks. You'll also have opportunities to create your own hands-on projects with Japanese masters. You'll enjoy remote landscapes in the mountains as well as exciting cityscapes! Please check out past trips to get an idea of future trips that are in the planning stages.
I welcome the opportunity to take school groups or other private groups to Japan! Tours don't have to focus on ceramics! I'll do all the planning, and one teacher's/professor's/group leader's' expenses will be covered! Minimum enrollment required, or minimum payment.
If you'd like to join a shopaholic, I'll take you shopping in 100 yen stores (dollar stores), and places to buy vintage kimonos, and studios where you can buy artwork directly from the artist. Every time I go to Japan, I tell myself I'm not going to buy too much this time, and I haven't even come close!
Join me on a trip of a lifetime!
Owner: Sheri Leigh O'Connor
10112 Columbine Road
Truckee, CA 96161
Trip2Japan LLC is licensed to do business in CA and is registered with the State of California Seller of Travel, and the Travel Consumer Restitution Corporation in CA.
California law requires certain sellers of travel to have a trust account or bond. This business, Trip2Japan LLC, has a trust account.
Deposits of $100. are non-refundable but can be transferred to another scheduled trip if a situation arises where you can't attend the trip for which you deposited.
Full payment, (any remaining balance) is due 60 days before the start date of the trip and is non-refundable after that. Payment will be accepted any time prior to the 60-day deadline. Private tour groups terms may vary.
The itinerary advertised on this website, Trip2Japan.com, reflects the travel dates, locations, activities, and other inclusions, such as a Japan Rail Pass. Itineraries are subject to slight changes due to unforeseen circumstances, such as inclement weather, but will not vary greatly from the published itinerary. For example, touring the Golden Pavilion may occur a day before or after it was listed on the itinerary.
Participants will be required to purchase a Traveler's Insurance policy. If something occurs to prevent you from going on your tour, you'll file a claim with your insurance.
Upon depositing, you'll receive an itinerary, waiver forms for you to complete and return, as well as a lot of information to prepare you for an ARTsome Trip2Japan!
I'll take you on an amazing tour of Japan where you'll visit iconic sights, but also be out of the mainstream areas. . You'll want to go back to Japan as soon as you get home! Limited to 18 people. No surcharge for single occupancy. Doubles available. These are active trips with a lot of walking. Reserve your trip of choice today by depositing!
Two-week tour - in planning stage now! Please get on my mailing list to receive info once I have future tours planned.
Two-week tour - in planning stage now! Dates are TBA. Please get on my mailing list to receive info once I have future tours planned.
Let me plan a trip of a lifetime to Japan for you! Tell me your interests and budget, and I'll do as much work on it as you like, just hotels, or everything I can think of!
Let me make a suggested itinerary, or plan whatever you'd like to do.
We'll plan the itinerary together, and I'll guide your family, group, or school group to the most artsome places in Japan!
Get a group of 17 people to register for a trip, and your trip with the group will be totally free! (Does not include flights. Includes everything that is included in the group's trip.) Can be for a planned group tour, or a custom tour.
Depositing early is recommended as Japan is now as trips may fill rapidly! Trip2Japan LLC is fully registered, licensed and insured in the state of California.
Click below to start our conversation about Japan, my favorite topic!
Truckee, California, United States
Flexible. Phone, Zoom, or In person hours by appointment:
After the first trip I was hooked! Sheri is an incredible tour guide and planner, perfectly balancing art, culture, food and fun. I am looking forward to going on my 4th trip as soon as I can.
Traveling to Japan gave me an opportunity to step outside of my routine and embrace a new way of perceiving life. The culture and art was rich with philosophy and the appreciation of the earth. The people we met were generous and warm. I felt a sense of peace in the countryside of Gokanosho. My Mom had the chance to experience things she had never imagined, that opened her eyes to the beauty of travel! Sheri has a way with connecting people and places that bring great transformation. I have so much gratitude for her planning and manifesting an amazing trip to Japan!
I often think of you and the fabulous trip to Japan with you and that group of makers! Your expert shepherding and detailed planning made that trip a wonderful experience. Sheri, you were the reason that trip was a great experience. .
Going to Japan on the art tour with Sheri was a once in a lifetime adventure. I have always been fascinated with the Japanese culture, their food, their art and pottery and the people. It was truly an amazing trip. It was a small group and we visited some wonderful shrines and sites that Sheri had arranged for us. I highly recommend this trip for anyone who has been to Japan or who is never experienced the country. Sherry was flexible, fun to be with, curious and very knowledgeable
I always wanted to go to Japan, but never thought I’d be able to go. Sheri made the trip to Japan seamless and a trip of a lifetime. She made the itinerary with so much intention and balance between sightseeing, art, culture and fun! Sheri really has a gift for trip curating. She’s personable and her deep love for Japan is easy felt through the trip. She has made relationships with locals and isn’t just “another tour Japan trip”, she deeply respects the culture. I had blast and it was a trip I will always remember, thank you so much for the experience! Would go again in a heart beat.
This is a trip I will remember forever! It was amazing to be immersed in such a beautiful culture. I loved that we traveled to different parts of Japan from the city to the country side! Sheri was so knowledgeable and had everything planned so well! I felt very safe and had so much fun learning new art techniques and to be in the midst of such deep history is awe inspiring! I would take this trip again in a heartbeat.
Going to Japan with Sheri and my classmates was fantastic. Our translator was a great guide for the trip, and getting to see Toyko and ride the bullet train to Kumamoto was an experience I'll never forget. The food was outstanding, the culture was invigorating, and the schedule was full of the perfect balance of fun and informative adventures, guided tours, and some downtime to really appreciate each and every place we went. I think about this trip all the time and highly recommend joining Sheri. She takes all of the work out of making an itinerary and gives you all the enjoyment of a quality vacation/trip.
In 2014 I went to Japan with Sheri Leigh O’Connor and had my socks blown off!!! Japan is an extravaganza full of cultural heritage experiences and ancient art techniques interwoven into the majestic landscape you travel through with Sheri. This trip was a life changer and I’ve been eager to return to Japan ever since ! Sheri creates an all inclusive environment allowing you to integrate seamlessly into the Japanese culture. Her humble and passionate knowledge of the culture allows you to see with keen eyes the techniques of life yet unrealized by another country. We walked softly in the aura of an ancient heritage. I wouldn’t want to return to Japan with anyone else because of how comfortable she makes you feel as you meet all her friends she’s made over the years. Her itinerary keeps you connecting with so many unique people and places you feel at home because of how finely integrated you become with every Japanese family. As for my personal growth as an artist, I flourished upon returning home with all the inspiration from the diverse artists we visited. I wanted to create in all Mediums ! Making art in a country unparalleled in craft and design Encouraged growth I didn’t even realize possible ! This trip may seem like one in a life time but soon after you return you’ll be planning your next trip , Sheri Leigh makes traveling to Japan a lifetime adventure !
I can honestly say that the trips I took with Sheri to Japan totally changed my life. Japan has so much history and innovation. I learned all about Hamada and other western artists. We visited the cultural center in Shigaraki, and I remember thinking that is was like the Olympics of ceramics! I thought maybe someday I’d be able to work there. After graduating, a friend said “Do the Dream” so I applied to Shigaraki and got in! The hospitality of the Japanese stood out so much. They’d miss their train to help you find your train! If you get the chance, go to Japan with Sheri Leigh!
Just dropping you a note to thank you thank you thank you for a wonderful trip. We had a terrific time. Your choice of locations - especially in Kyushu - was thoughtful, the sites we visited were all fascinating and focused, transportation well-planned and smooth, and lodgings a perfect balance of traditional and modern. Our introduction to Japanese pottery was exactly what we had hoped for. Most importantly, you were the perfect guide: knowledgeable, flexible, and personable. We are so very grateful for all of your hard work, passion, and good humor. Our trip with you was a great experience and value.
The trip was engaging, well-paced and very well prepared and guided. It was a great value for the cost. We would gladly go on a trip with Sheri again and will highly recommend tours by Trip2Japan to friends.
We have done quite a bit of travel on our own, but the connections in the local communities in Japan and having access to places and people there made all the difference. Having those activities and stops listed up front is what attracted us to the tour and Trip2Japan absolutely came through.