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Get Your Creative Juices Flowing with English Friendly Art Workshops Around Japan

Looking for art experiences across Japan? Here are 5 places you can be an artist for the day.

By 4 min read

Looking for art experiences to do in Japan? It’s no secret that some of us have harbored fantasies of being a great artist, even if reality is very far from that. Fear not, far different from school day memories of art class, today there are a slew of art workshops focused on helping anyone and everyone be an artist even for the short time you are in the studio.

Whether you are a resident looking to hide from the rainy season, the heat or seeking something new to learn outside of your day job, here are five different art experiences to get your creative juices flowing around Japan.

From Zero to Artist for the Day at Artbar

A perfect spot for making friends and dipping your toes into the word of art.

For the beginner artist who needs more instruction, Artbar is an amazing place to have step-by-step instructions to replicate famous paintings while trying to find your own style. The instructors go through the process with you, showing you exactly how to achieve the exact effect as their painting, so you can paint like famous artists such as Monet and Pollock. It’s a great way to paint without worrying about achieving that perfect balance of light and shadow or the art of color blending.

Apart from having free-flow drinks, Artbar is located in various studios around the city, including Daikanyama, Harajuku and Ueno, making it easily accessible. There are also techniques other than painting available at Artbar, including alcohol ink art, paint pouring, and texture art. All classes are contacted in both English and Japanese by their bilingual instructors, and with classes just for kids, it might be the perfect family place for an artsy weekend.

Recommended for: Step-by-step art instruction for the beginning artist of all ages
Price: From ¥5,500, differs according to the workshop you choose, and is cheaper for workshops geared towards kids
Time: Around two hours for each workshop
Multiple locations around Tokyo including Daikanyama, Harajuku, Ueno; Also available in Yokohama and Osaka

Wine and Paint at Artwine.Tokyo

A fun evening activity with friends.

Wine and paint sounds like a new way to the wine and dine experience, but with an in-house sommelier and artists, that is what Artwine. Tokyo is trying to replicate for those opting in for their workshops held across the city in various venues. Their workshops range from imitation of the crowd-favorite paintings from masters such as Van Gogh, Hokusai, Klimt, to freestyling using techniques such as alcohol ink, fluid art and painting knife art.

For those who aren’t confident in their artistic skills, maybe a glass of wine might get those creative juices flowing.

Like Artbar, they offer step-by-step instructions so that anyone can paint. English classes are also available, as well as classes that are also kid-friendly.

Recommended for: Friends wanting to try new activities and sip on wine
Price: From ¥6,600, differs according to workshop
Time: Average of two hours per workshop
Studios in Ueno or Hiroo, Tokyo depending on the workshop

Acrylic Paint Pouring at Shiratori Art School

Now’s your time to express yourself with a new medium.

Acrylic Paint Pouring is a technique where paint is mixed with a glue-like medium before pouring onto the canvas, hoping it all works out for the best. Shiratori Art School is a weekday studio for students, but they specialize in this paint-pouring workshop on the weekends. Also located near the school is the Manga Museum in Minami-Nagasaki, perfect for popping by for a quick look before or after the workshop.

You’ll be able to choose from your preferred colors, from pastel to neon to glittery, before learning the various pouring methods.

Need advice? Go through different color combinations beforehand to determine what would be preferable for you or what would go with your decor, making the on-site decision-making process easier. It’s an experience that was definitely easier said than done and very much up to luck for first-timers. Also the most budget-friendly on the list, but bring your own drinks to not go thirsty as they do not provide refreshments. However, if you like freestyling and taking it as it comes, this is an art technique to play with.

Recommended for: Stress-free paint pouring experience
Price: ¥4,000 - ¥5,000, depending on the size of the canvas
Time: One and a half hours
Minami-Nagasaki 3-11-5 Minami-Nagasaki, Toshima-ku - Map

Go Creative at Crea Base

You’ll be able to choose from a huge range of colors to your own desire and to mix them freely.

Owned by an architecture company, Crea Base is an art workshop space with the concept of a cafe space where you can create. Apart from their varied Art workshops ranging from imitation of masterpieces to learning different techniques, there are also classes such as pottery, clay, and jewelry making. Art is definitely self-expression here at Crea Base, where the instructor goes through different techniques and ways of painting to achieve the coveted effect, without limiting usage of color. You’ll be able to choose from a huge range of colors to your own desire, and to mix them freely; this also means that every participant ends up with a masterpiece that is unique to them, even if the workshop revolves around the same theme. The price includes drinks, but you might have so much fun that you forget about the free-flow wine (or juices).

Recommended for: Being artistic on your own terms
Price: From ¥5,500, price varies according to the workshop
Time: From two hours 
Locations around Tokyo in Oshiage, Shinjuku Gyoen and Shimokitazawa

Choose from a variety of classes at Kyoto Handicraft Center

Your chance for a personalized, one-of-a-kind souvenir.

For those who prefer variety, Kyoto Handicraft Center might be for you. With workshops ranging from clay bell dolls and spinning tops, to woodblock paintings, there are a ton of different workshops to choose from, depending on what you would like your unique souvenir to be. Most of the workshops are around 45 minutes each, which means more sightseeing time for those who need that extra time. Extra bonus? There is a restaurant on-site, just in case someone in the group isn’t feeling up to it today.

Classes are available in Japanese and English and are open to people of all ages. There are also private classes available for groups.

Recommended for: Those who want variety, or to have their own souvenir in a short amount of time
Price: ¥2,200 
45 - 90 minutes
17 Shougoin Entomi-cho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto - Map
If you’re looking for a keepsake of your travels, or a fun activity to spend the afternoon, book a workshop to get those creative juices flowing. Have you been to any of these art classes? Let us know in the comments!

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