The best calligraphy workshops in Tokyo – Univers Japan Shop

The traditional Japanese writing of kanji is called shoudowhich literally means the way of writing. Kanji originated in China and were first introduced to Japan via Korea about 1,500 years ago. kanji is one of the three writing styles of the Japanese language, along with hiragana et katakana. The latter were introduced in the 9th century and consist of 46 signs each. The signs are basically kanji but simplified over the centuries.

In Japanese writing, you’ll see kanji, hiragana, and katakana used in the same sentence, sometimes even in a single word. You can write almost any Japanese word in hiragana, but most people will only use hiragana for grammatical endings. Katakana is used for loanwords (English words) and names that cannot be written in kanji (eg hotel ホテル and beer ビール). Kanji are Chinese characters adapted to the Japanese language and each kanji has its own meaning(s).

The three basic shodo writing styles are:

  • Kaisho: regular block style script;
  • Gyosho: semi-cursive script; Y
  • Sosho – cursive writing

The basic tools needed for shodo are: a brush, paper, an ink stone, and India ink. During a shodo calligraphy class, your sensei (teacher) will explain more to you and also introduce you to the different styles and stroke orders. Stroke order is actually very important, with over 2000 kanji, the meaning can be difficult to understand. Knowing the stroke order can help you understand kanji better.

Calligraphy is a popular art to express your emotions and spirit and a great way to experience the culture of Japan. To make the correct and most beautiful shodo, you will need to be thoughtless and have a peaceful mind. With a shodo workshop you will learn to write your favorite word, a great unique souvenir to take home! How about a moment of relaxation, creating your own name or favorite word while finding some inner peace?

Asakusa Jidaiya (Asakusa)

Asakusa Jidaiya offers several traditional Japanese experiences, including shodo. Learn the basic writing technique using ink, brush and washi paper, and experience calligraphy by writing Kanji, Hiragana, Katakana that you can choose your favorite letter or words. Finally, you can even bring your work as a gift.

ASAKUSA JIDAIYA (click Traditional Experience)
Duration 50 minutes
5,000 yen per person (min. 2 pax)
*Minimum age is 6 years old.

Tourist and Cultural Information Center Yanesen

Yanesen is one of the oldest places in Tokyo because this place was not destroyed during World War II. During the war about 80% of the city was destroyed so it is quite special, this area still exists, a special place to visit! The tourist information office in this old town offers private calligraphy classes in English. The instructor will help you write your name in Kanji and you can take it home as a souvenir. It’s also possible to make your own Kanji T-shirt!

Tourist and Cultural Information Center Yanesen
Duration 60 minutes
4640 yen per person

shodo calligraphy


The instructor, Yunagi-san, is a licensed calligraphy teacher who has practiced shoudo from 5 years. In addition to calligraphy lessons at home, she performs large-scale calligraphy performances using large-size brushes and large-scale canvases. She and her sister have also appeared on Japanese television.

Duration 60 minutes
From 3,000 (according to your wishes).

Asakusa Cultural Tourist Information Center

At the Asakusa Tourist Information Office they offer free calligraphy classes. Kabuki calligraphy called kanteiryuwhich is a traditional culture in Edo and this course starts in April 2018. Give it a try if you have time to meet your schedule.

Every 2nd and 4th Wednesday of the month, from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
2-18-9 Kaminarimon, Taito-ku, Tokyo

House Kanji

It’s a different experience: instead of a calligraphy lesson, they will make you a kanji that matches your personality. The host will ask you several questions about your personality, interests, and hobbies, and then an appropriate kanji will be written. The shodo will then be framed and wrapped in traditional Japanese cloth, along with an explanation of the written kanji.

House Kanji
7,629 yen per person

Japanese calligraphy Shibuya and Shinjuku Tokyo

Miyazaki-san has studied calligraphy since she was 10 years old and has worked abroad as a calligraphy teacher. She teaches calligraphy classes at her two studios in Shibuya and Shinjuku.

Japanese calligraphy Shibuya and Shinjuku Tokyo
Duration 90 minutes
4600 yen per person

Ota City Tourist Information Center

At the Ota Tourist Information Center, they offer various traditional Japanese experiences, such as flower arrangement, Japanese Sado tea experience, and also a Shodo calligraphy workshop. The workshop is offered in Japanese, English, Chinese, and Korean.

Tourist information about the city of Ota
Duration 60 minutes (reservation required)
2,500 per person

If you’re interested in another traditional Japanese experience, you’re spoiled for choice. From wearing the kimono to the Japanese tea ceremony, the choice is yours. We are happy to organize a special day for you where you will learn about different aspects of Japanese culture. For more information on sightseeing tours in Tokyo or other parts of Japan, please visit our website. We hope you have a great time in Japan! Follow us on Instagram or Facebook for more travel inspiration. Or tag us to be featured!

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