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Studio D

Focus / Yoshino Retreat 2021

Focus / Yoshino Retreat 2021

Regular price $3,350.00 USD
Regular price Sale price $3,350.00 USD
Sale Sold out

An annual retreat will take place in Yoshino, Japan, 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. 


October 20 - 23, 2021 (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 very limited this year. We also offer a fellowship for a local Japanese attendee. Suitable candidates can apply here.


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.


The retreat includes:

  • 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, including taking turns to cook breakfast and generally look after ourselves. 

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.


Based on the current roll out of vaccines, we anticipate international travel being more accessible by the end of this year.

As circumstances are changing daily, we are exploring all the options available to us. Please monitor the situation with COVID-19 including entry restrictions and quarantine measures (Japan). All attendees will require proof of a recent negative COVID-19 test. Furthermore, local travel requirements may require proof of vaccination in order to travel.

Please review our cancellation 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 and good Japanese food, 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.

Jan Chipchase The founder of Studio D, writer, photographer, publisher and expedition leader.  

Luis Mendo After being a creative director for 20 years in Europe, Luis moved to Japan and switched his career to drawing. He now works as an illustrator and his clients include The New York Times, Apple, Wired, New York magazine, Monocle and The Washington Post. He’s looking forward to drawing you all.

Hope to see you at Focus / Yoshino!

—Jan & Luis


Photos: Sebastian C Scholz from a prior Yoshino retreat.

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