Ryukei Suzuri – The Great Inkstones of the “Dragon Valley”

3.5 hours

Late-April ~ Mid-November

Price: ¥ 11,000 above
(tax included)

Guided / Self-guided

Start / Finish
Nagano / Nagano

3.5 hours

Activity Level

Technical Level


  • This is a one-of-its-kind experience in that you can learn about, and get hands-on with, both Japanese inkstone carving
    and calligraphy in the same tour.
  • Mr. Izumi is one of only two remaining Ryukei Suzuri master craftsmen alive today. He is also a master of calligraphy
    and will expertly guide you in both disciplines during this immersive experience.
  • Enjoy a special calligraphy performance by Mr. Izumi.


Ryukei Suzuri is the name given to inkstones made in Tatsuno Town of the Ina Valley. They are considered to be one of the three great inkstone producers in all of Japan. “Suzuri” is the Japanese word for inkstone. And “Ryukei” roughly translates to mean “Dragon Valley”, in reference to the area’s

longstanding folklore, in which it is cast as a land of dragons. The rare rocks used to make Ryukei Suzuri formed over 200 million years ago, thousands of meters underneath the sea. Though black on the inside, the surface of these ancient rocks have beautiful hues of gold and red. Since around 200 years ago, the incredible inkstone craftsmen of Tatsuno Town have been carving the stones into elegant pieces of Japanese art. Such was their quality that, once, only people of high status were allowed to use them.

Unfortunately, as with so many traditional crafts in Japan, the demand has dwindled. The great masters working in the once-booming industry, the keepers of the knowledge, now number only two. In this experience, master craftsman, calligrapher, and teacher, Mr. Izumi, will teach you all about Ryukei Suzuri. Not only will you try calligraphy for yourself, but you will also experience carving inkstones the traditional way, and watch as Mr. Izumi gives a special calligraphy performance.

Activity Level

  • This is an indoor and relaxing program.

Technical Level

  • No skills are necessary. Even if you are new to Japanese calligraphy, you will be carefully guided by Mr. Izumi, so please relax and enjoy yourself.

Price Per Person

27,000JPY for 2ppl
19,000JPY for 3ppl
15,000JPY for 4-6ppl
11,000JPY for 7-12ppl

Clothing/Wha to bring

  • You may get ink on your clothes. Please wear clothes that you do not mind getting stained and that are easy to move around in.

Included in the fee

  • Japanese guide fee
  • English-speaking guide fee
  • Experience fee

Not included in the fee

  • Transportation to/from the meeting point
  • Insurance (please purchase travel insurance in your own country)
  • Anything else not specified (The bank transaction fee shall be covered by the customer.)



Event Duration

About 3.5 hours

Distance / Elevation


Age / Height:

No restriction

Meeting Point

Inabe-juku Former Isawa Family Residence

Disbanding Point

Inabe-juku Former Isawa Family Residence

Program Availability

Late-April ~ Mid-November


2 – 12 people

Application Deadline

30 days in advance

Agent Name

Heartland Japan


Between 10:00 ~ 13:30
(Your itinerary can be arranged according to your request.)

Cancellation Policy

■ Fees in case of cancellation on behalf of the customer

  • 8 to 20 days prior 20%
  • 2 to 7 days prior 30%
  • Day before 40%
  • Same day/No show 100%

■ Cancellation at the discretion of the organizer

  • In the case of stormy or freezing weather, departure cancelation will be determined the day before and contact will be made only if the tour is canceled. In the case that the activity is canceled due to unforeseen circumstances, no cancellation fee is required.
  • In the case of light rain, the tour will go ahead with waterproof gear.
  • After the tour begins, depending on the weather, we may have to change the route or cancel the tour. In this case, no refund will be given.
  • If the tour cannot continue after it has started due to bad weather, no refunds will be given.

Interested in our tour?
No second thoughts, contact us.

We have been having many requests from agents overseas, mentioning that they are trying to expand their destinations in/to Japan or they have already but need help creating the itineraries for their clients to keep up with the demand.

Heartland Japan has increased the number of staff to accommodate these requests. If you are hand-full and need some advice, we are here to help.

For more information about this experience program, We will coordinate with local suppliers on dates, prices, and details of the program. We will coordinate with local suppliers on dates, prices, and details of the program and provide the program to you.

Please contact us for more information. We look forward to providing you with a unique and immersive experience in the region!

For this experience program, please inquire with our company each time. We will coordinate with local suppliers to arrange the schedule, fees, and detailed content for you. Please start by contacting us.

Look forward to a unique, immersive local experience!

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