Japan 2026 & 2028 - take your creative flow on the road

Is nature your muse, inspiration, or collaborator? Let your creativity FLOW on a two week travel experience with nature and art as the primary focus in Japan featuring some of the amazing sites and off-the-beaten path areas of Japan with a dozen creative people.

Check out the itinerary for summer (July into August) 2026 and 2028. 

Have you ever wanted to travel to Japan, but worried about logistics, the planning, or the language? This is a bi-annual experience lead by residency program founder/director and artist who is passionate about Japan. A childhood influence of life in Okinawa, eventually lead to interest in East Asian studies curriculum and developing study abroad programming. Val has spent solo time in Japan for sabbatical and other seasonal research investigations with camera in tow.

The goal for this trip is to have an art and nature immersion with fellow creatives who want to photograph, draw, paint, journal, doodle, and otherwise explore art and culture activities such as shrines, temples, gardens, and galleries or museums. If you are looking for a more enriching experience than photo ops for social media, we can spend time in walkabouts at various times of day or night, have sit spots for drawing/painting, and likely converse over meals about whatever we saw that day. If you love to explore with your visual sensibilities, but that annoys your regular travel mates then this experience is up your alley.


2026 plans will take us from Tokyo north to Hokkaido. If you love the outdoors, you'll love this itinerary.

2028 plans will take us into the Japanese Alps area and highlights include Nagano and Matsumoto bookmarking a week house share in a village in the ski zone when summer is in full swing. Some bucket list art activities are on this agenda.



Registration and deposits start up to a year in advance to make sure we get the most interesting lodging options for our group. Payment plans available. All inquiries will have a video chat to talk about the trip to make sure we all will jive, unlike most other travel tours that just put together the random people who sign up.

Residency Length
2 weeks - 3 weeks
Average Number of Artists in Residence at a Time
Collaborative Residency
Must apply and be accepted individually
Interdisciplinary Arts
Mixed Media
Visual Arts
Book Arts
Paper Arts
Literary Nonfiction
New Genres
Performance Art
Digital Media
Electronic Arts
Moving Image
Multimedia Arts
Graphic Design
Environmental Arts
Landscape Architecture
Public Art
Social Practice
Art Conservation
Art Education
Art History
Family Friendly
Stage of Career
Any stage of career
Additional Expectations/Opportunities
Accessible Housing
Meals Provided
No meals are provided
Studios/Facilities Accessibility
Partially Accessible (50% or more)
Type of Housing
Shared bedroom
Additional Eligibility Information

Applicants with nature as their muse, inspiration, or collaborator will receive priority.

Individuals must demonstrate an interest in taking creative practice on the road and why the specific location of Japan would be beneficial.

Individuals must demonstrate ability to travel with a group and be amenable to sometimes shared housing or using traditional Japanese style sleeping on futons and tatami mats. Participants must be willing to adjust personal habits to adapt to the culture in Japan such as not eating while walking, remaining relatively quiet on public trains and buses, not wearing shoes inside. Participants must be willing to travel light and not take luggage larger than a carry-on meaning you may need to do laundry at some point during the trip. You must be able to carry your own luggage through train stations and up/down lots of stairs as elevators and escalators are not as often available or are really out of the way when traveling with 12 people.

Participants must be adaptable and willing to go with the flow. We may have a general itinerary for the day or it may be a spontaneous adventure. There are some days that you'll be able to split off on your own or in small groups depending on the particular place. Val will be coordinating the trip and act as a guide to get us to each destination, but much of the time will be on your own.

Participants should be more interested in the creative and cultural experience rather than partying all night or drinking like a salaryman having a bad hang-over. Reminder that smoking is still allowed in some restaurants, but not while walking on streets. Prefer participants who are non-smokers and non-vapers as well as those who are moderate or limited in alcohol consumption. Participants should be willing to try the cuisine or at least be open to the various options knowing that sometimes we cannot find a restaurant to suit each person in that moment. 

If you are interested in extending your residency on site in Tennessee to work with Val on your project, please inquire.

Note: If you are on anti-anxiety or other medication, please note that some prescription medications in the U.S. are illegal in Japan. If you are uncomfortable in crowds or have any travel anxiety issues such as panic attacks in place or not knowing where we are going, this is probably not the trip for you. Vegetarians and other special diets are often okay in Japan, but if you don't want to deal with asking, seeing or smelling fish, etc. then this may not be the dream for you.

Number of Artists Accepted in Most Current Year
Total Applicant Pool in Most Current Year
Artist Stipend
US Dollar (USD)
Travel Stipend/Material Stipends
US Dollar (USD)
Residency Fees
US Dollar (USD)
Fee Details

This is a special travel experience. The costs for the 2026 program are currently $2,000 and may be adjusted in 2025 based on the exchange rate predictions. This travel program includes numerous components including a rail pass. For all of the details, please visit the website. The 2028 program is slightly higher and includes a one-week house share in a really unique place.

$300 deposit will hold your spot ($150 is non-refundable). Payment plans are available based on registration date (full final payments will be due no later than April 30, 2026).

You may opt to extend your residency in Tennessee to continue to work on the creative work emanating from this travel experience.

Grant/Scholarship/other Funding Support
US Dollar (USD)
Grant/Scholarship/Other Funding Support Details

There are no grants, scholarships, or other funding available.

Application Fee
US Dollar (USD)
Application Type
Open application