Focus / Yoshino - 2019

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  • Regular price $3,250.00

A four-day 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. 


1 - 4th October 2019 (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 the nearby Yoshino Cedar House for our private use. 


Space is limited to 15 attendees.

We also offer two fellowships for local Japanese attendees. 


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:

  • Four days of informing and inspiring talks and walks

  • Three nights accommodation in a traditional minka and/or Yoshino Cedar House 

  • Breakfast, lunch and dinners, plus a banquet dinner on the second evening

Excluded in cost: Travel to Venue, alcohol and insurance. 


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 in Yoshino Cedar House 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.

Our cancellation and refund policy can be found here.

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.