Focus / Yoshino Retreat - Apply

 Apply To Attend Retreat

An annual retreat hosted by Craig Mod and Jan Chipchase, will take place in Yoshino, Nara Prefecture, deep in timber country, shouldered by pine and cedar forests and rolling mountains dotted by ancient hot springs. 

The theme of the retreat is: side projects.

Mornings will be structured sessions, the afternoons are open for long conversations and walks, and evenings will be spent in lively conversation over great drinks and good Japanese food. 

Attendees are encouraged to share their own projects.

We’d love it if a year from now you are able to look back and recognise: this gathering has helped shaped who you are, and was a catalyst for a creative project you otherwise wouldn’t have taken on. 


4th - 7th November 2020 (3 nights)


The retreat takes place in the town of Yoshino, in Nara Prefecture, Japan. We’ve commandeered a large, refurbished minka (traditional home) and a nearby venue for our private use. 


Space is limited to 15 attendees.

We also offer two fellowships for local Japanese attendees. If you can recommend anyone, ask them to complete the form.


The venue is a leisurely 90-minute commute from Kyoto. The journey provides enough time to get into the right head-space to make the most of your time.

Yoshino is a working timber town and still has over twenty timber mills. Free time can be spent in the forests, soaking in hot springs, wandering the village, and visiting one of the chopstick factories. Or simply kick back and enjoy traditional Japan.


$3,350 USD including:

  • Informing and inspiring talks and walks

  • Three nights accommodation in a traditional minka

  • Breakfast, lunch and dinners

Excludes: flights, travel to/from venue, alcohol, visa, insurance, optional activities. 


We’ll operate popup studio style accommodation. This means we’ll take in turns to cook breakfast and dinner at the minka, except for the banquet held nearby on the second night.

Sleeping arrangements are ryokan style — futons atop tatami or cedar flooring — with the attendees sharing rooms. 

Sessions will be in English, with some Japanese translation, if required. For newcomers to Japan, we’ll provide ample instructions on how to get there.

For those that wish to extend their trip, we can recommend great multi-day hikes, mediation in local temples, crafts, and other adventures around Japan.

Please read our cancellation and refund policy before booking.

All attendees are required to sign a risk waiver. 

Reach out if you have any questions.


We’re designers and entrepreneurs, we love nature (especially mountains), and have come to appreciate that sometimes the most meaningful way to learn and move forward is to disconnect and surround yourself with interesting people doing interesting things. Even better if you can do so in a unique, relaxed environment.

Hope to see you at Focus / Yoshino.

—Jan & Craig


Photos: Sebastian C Scholz from our 2017 Field / Retreat

Terms & Conditions | Cancellation Policy