Sashiko Classes Cover 2024

Explanation for Different Sashiko Classes We Offer

It has been 6 years since I started “teaching” Sashiko as my action to react to many requests. For me, Sashiko wasn’t something to “teach” so systematically. In the beginning of my teaching, I didn’t even know what to teach as I thought everyone knew what I call now as “Core & Essence”. While learning what I can offer, it has been my pleasure to share the Sashiko we practice. Over time, we established several kinds of Sashiko Workshops/Classes. This article is an explanation for Different Sashiko Classes we offer.

*I often receive a question about my recommendation for resources to learn Sashiko. Unfortunately, there are no books written in English that I can recommend to learn the Sashiko we practice. Because I don’t have any recommendation in books, I share so many Stories & information on the Internet. If you are new to Sashiko, please check them as it is quite rich content after years of accumurating. I summarized the list of links at the end of this page.

Different Sashiko Classes We offer

(As of September 2023)

As of 2023, I offer 4 different Sashiko Classes as I listed below. I used to offer other kinds of Sashiko Workshops such as “Invisible Mending”, “To-Be-Boro Making” and “Hitomezashi”. However, after 2020, I summarized those workshops into [Application & Practice]. Please take the 3~5 Days In-Person Workshop for the [Application & Practice] class. The [Core & Essence] Sashiko Workshop is prerequisite to join [Application & Practice].

*I am eager to make the [Application & Practice] online version. It will also have a prerequisite of [Application & Practice]. I appreciate your Understanding & Support!

List of Different Sashiko Classes (with Links)

Difference Between Domestika Course & [Core & Essence]

One of the frequesnt question I receive is about the difference between the [Introductory Japanese Sashiko] Couse on Domestika and Online Sashiko Class [Core & Essence]. Although there are a few contents over-rapping, the biggest difference between 2 classes are the “Goal” that I expect students to achieve.

I agreed to Domestika’s Course as I have the same “dream” in teaching. Regardless of where to live, what to have, and who they are, I would like them to learn the Sashiko We practice. Therefore, the pricing on the Domestika’s Course are very reasonable. When one decided to skip 2~3 Starbucks Coffee, they can take the Course – the easy access for as many people as possible was the Goal of this Introductory Class. As the result, unfortunately, I do not spend a lot of time in the [Core & Essence] of Sashiko that I want to pass down – it is Form of stitching & Understanding of Unshin. One can learn this [Core & Essence] by just watching me stitching on my Sashiko Live Streaming. However, to make sure that I pass down the Sashiko we practice, it is very important for me to know the students, their hands, their philosophy, thier approach to Sashiko & most importantly “Their Rhythm” in Stitching.

I strongly recommend taking the [Core & Essence] Class (either In-Person or Online) if your goal is to start stitching like us, with similar philosophy, similar technique, and toward the similar understanding. Try the Domestika Course. If you like what I offer there, then if you find it difficult to stitch like we do, please consider taking the [Core & Essence].

Why Do I create the Domestika Course if it doesn’t teach Core?

Ever since I started teacing Sashiko, I have been receiving the same questions very frequently. It is: [What is your recommendation for the resource of Learning Sashiko?] and [Where do I start learning Sashiko]? Until 2023, sadly, I had to answer those questions saying [There are no recommendation in books & resources. Please take my Workshop to start learning Sashiko]. However, for those who just discover Sashiko, taking the [Core & Essence] class would be a big commitment to make.

Sashiko introduced in English is quite simplified. It isn’t wrong, but missing great part of Sashiko. Therefore, I keep sharing Sashiko Stories on SNS – yet I wanted & needed to have a place where I can recommend anyone to. The Domestika Team understood my dream, and with agreeing to achieve their goal, I decided to make the Course, Introduction to Japanese Sashiko on Domestika.

*I elaborate my feeling toward the Domestika Course in the article below,

[Core & Essence] to [Application & Practice]

In order to explain the Different Sashiko Classes I offer, I would like to use an analogy with “riding bycicle”. Let’s say you have not seen the type of bycicle some Japanese ride. You want to learn how to ride neatly and safely.

[Introduction to Japanese Sashiko] is a course that you can learn about the bycicle. How it is different from your knowledge of riding a bycicle. Why it is so different from what you know. What kind of items you need to enjoy bike riding. Where to get them with as many samples as possible. Unfortunately, this introduction course doesn’t include the support on actual “How to Ride the bicycle”. Some may be able to ride it without support with their own style, or the other may experience the difficulty to ride the bycicle like they see on videos and photos.

[Core & Essence] is the actual workshop/class to teach you “How to Ride a Bike (in Sashioko, How to stitch with Unshin while learning the proper Form)”. Explaining each step carefully, asking them to strickly stitck with the form & approach I offer no matter how uncomforatble it is to them, I am confident that everyone can learn how to ride a bycicle like we do (how to stitch like we make Sashiko). As everyone has different hands & condition, some may need extra help & adjustment. Also, there may be (is) some philosophical understanding we have to be on the same page in learning. To help you fully to accomplish the Goal, I share “Live Session” for the Online Sashiko Class, and one-on-one time over In-person Sashiko Workshop.

The Goal & Contents of [Core & Essence] classes are the same both Online & In-Person. Each style has different advantages, and you may have your preference as well. Some strongly prefer to In-Person workshop as I will “force” you & you can get direct support on site. Others prefer Online as they can proceed learning with their own pace. Either way, I will do my best to support your learning.

*One of the advantage of In-Person workshop is to see, touch, and feel the Sashiko we make directly. Over online, it is difficult (impossible) to do so. Therefore, when I have a workshop nearby you, when the organizer allows, the Online Class Students are welcome to visit me & touch the Sashiko We make. At the same time, one of the advantage of Online is that you can start learning “Right away”. As what I teach is the startline of the Sashiko We practice (equivelant to how to ride a new bycicle), it is a good idea to start learning before installing other “habit”, especially when your goal is to learn the Sashiko we practice.

[Application & Practice] is, in the same analogy, the workshop I take you to the bike park to enjoy many kinds of attractions such as Time-Attack, Climing Hills, Jumps, and such. [Application & Practice] is an opportunity for you to learn how to apply “the Sashiko we have been practicing”. It would be sad & difficult for one to enjoy Bike Park if they do not know how to ride a bycicle. With the same logic, therefore, I set the [Core & Essence] as the prerequisite. Some of the information I share are over-rapped with Domestika Course. However, we will actually do it together in the [Application & Practice] workshop.

3~5 Days Sashiko Workshop

Thanks to many Art studios & Museums all over the world, I occasionally offer the 3~5 days Sashiko Workshop (In-Person). This is a combination of [Core & Esence] and [Application & practice]. On the 1st day, we cover how to ride a bike. On the 2nd to 3rd/5th day, we jump into many possible application of the Sashiko we practice. The difference between 3-Days to 5 days are the page & depth of the contents. 3-Days (2 Days of Application & Practrice) would be enough to cover the contents I can offer. However, I receive feedback that they would appreciate more time to engage in each process. It is very much up to the budget & goal of the Art Studios & Museums.

As I am trying to reduce the frequecy of In-Person Workshop for 2023~2024 in order to focus on my own Sashiko, I would recommend booking it when you find the availability.

[Application & Practice] Online

I am eager to create the [Application & Practice] Online Class as a follow-up Online Class for the [Core & Essence]. Your feedback from the Google Form below would be very much appreciated.

Platform Links to Support our Different Sashiko Classes

My goal is to share as many Sashiko Stories (information, knowledge, wisdom & techniques) as possible. In order to achieve the goal, as well as the form of follow-up of the Sashiko Classes we offer, we keep sharing Sashiko Stories on different platform. Please find the major account we offer.

  • Instagram:
    • @SashikoStory is the main platform for me to share the Sashiko We practice. It is more than just stitching.
  • Facebook Group:
    • Unlike other Sashiko Groups on Facebook, this group has very strict rules to preserve the “Japanese Sashiko”. Anyone can join & posts. However, please read the Group Guideline Carefully before joining the Group
  • Youtube Channel: (Sashiko Story)
    • It is important to share unedit & unmodified version of me stitching for the next generation. For that, I share it every week as Sashiko Live Streaming. Also, I upload many Tutorials & Webinar regarding the Sashiko We practice.
  • Patreon Support Page:
    • I try to be as honest as possible on SNS – however, I learn the risk of being so volnourable where anyone can read & react. To keep my safety & sanity, I share more honest stories on Supporter Only Page – here Patreon Page.
QuiltCon 2024 Sashiko Cover

QuiltCon 2024 Sashiko Workshop Details

It is my pleasure to re-join the QuiltCon 2024 as a Faculty. This page is for those who plan to attend QuiltCon 2024 Sashiko Workshop, “Core & Essence”. Please find the details below to see what you can expect in QuiltCon 2024 Sashiko Workshop.

*If you do not have a registration confirmation to join the QuiltCon 2024 Sashiko Workshop (Core & Essence), please contact MQG for the possible waiting list. In the previous QuiltCon, there were a few last minutes cancellation, and there may be a chance for you to join this year. Also, I offer Online Sashiko Class as well as a few In-person Workshops (for 2024). Please check each articles for the details. Thank you.

In QuiltCon 2024, I offer Sashiko Workshop “Core & Essence” (on Thursday & Friday) and a Sashiko Lecture about “How Sashiko is different from Quilting“. In this page, I explain what you can expect to join the Core & Essence Sashiko Workshop in QuiltCon. There aren’t many preparation request. However, please read this article carefully to maximize your experience there.

QuiltCon 2024 Sashiko Workshop: Core & Essence

In our tradition, Sashiko is NOT about making perfect (or Inperfect) stitches. It is all about moving (trusting) a needle comfortably while communicating the fabric. Unfortunately, the current trend of Sashiko is missing one important aspect of Sashiko. In this “Core & Essence” workshop, I will teach you the core technique of our Sashiko so that you can start focusing on communication rather than judging each stitches you make.

It is extremely important to take this workshop before jumping in to any of other workshops we offer. There are a few Japanese terms that the participants need to memorize (not so many & no exams or whatsoever, but knowing them is important).

On Instagram and Facebook, I often say: Sashiko is NOT ◯◯. This workshop “Core & Essence” will give you the answer what Sashiko is for you while you learning new techniques.

*This workshop is not a type of “Let’s Enjoy Sashiko Togeher” workshop. It is one-direction learning experience for you. The participants are required to stitch a lot. They may have to go through some “uncomfortable” stitching experience (due to new muscles they use). Sometimes, it may require some mindfulness in an eye-opening experience. Please do not be scared or worried, however. I will do everything to help you to “experience” and “start enjoying” the Sashiko we practice today.

*There is NO prerequisite for this workshop. No experience in Sashiko is necessary. If you have never touched the hand-stitching needle, please try to learn how to “thread” the needle, or how to use the threader (videos are available on my Youtube). On the other hands, if you think you already know about Sashiko, please try to be as open-mind as possible. What I teach in this workshop is probably different from what you already know. There is no such a thing as “Right and Wrong” in Sashiko: and I will add another perspective of Sashiko in this workshop.

Please purchase the special package for QuiltCon Sashiko: Core & Essence below.

It is extremely important that everyone has the exact same materials & tools to pass down the Core & Essence within 6 hours. Please purchase the special package below before the QuiltCon 2024.

What to bring to Sashiko: Core & Essence.

The Special Package above is all you need to enjoy the Sashiko: Core & Essence. If you choose to receive it to your home, please bring all of the contents inside.

The following list is something maybe helpful for you to bring & prepare:

  • Masking Tape or Bandage to protect the nail from scratching by needles.
  • It may a good idea to cut the nail on the dominant hand (the hand with the needle). One can learn Sashiko with long nails, but it may be an obstacles in the first trial.

About Recommended Tools for our Sashiko

The Special Supply Package for the [Core & Essence] Workshop includes everything the participants need in the workshop. There is no need to prepare thread, needle, thimble or fabric for learning Sashiko in this workshop. In order to avoid unfortunate misunderstanding, I require everyone to use the exact same tools & supply.

That being said, there are a few recommended tools for Sashiko, which is NOT necessary yet very useful when you wish to continue Sashiko stitching. You can find another article here for Recommended Tools.

  • Thread Clipper
    • In the Sashiko we practiece, we try to make both side of the fabric as the “finished Side.” To make it easy to cut the thread left over, this thread clipper is a good idea to have.
  • Bobbin Paper for Threads
    • Our Sashiko Thread is quite easy to get tangled when it is not properly handled. This Bobbin Paper is designed to keep the Sashiko Thread in a good shape for a travel or heavy usage.
  • Mylar Paper
    • In a process of preparing the pattern, this thick plastic paper can protect the costly carbon paper below.
  • Carbon Paper
    • It is important to learn how to prepare the pattern by ourselves as Sashiko Practitioenrs. One way to prepare the fabric is to “transfer”. This paper will help us to do better.

Recommended Items are available as a Set Deal for Quiltcon 2024 with the purchase of the Special Supply Package.

General Information for the Recommended Tools & Supplies for Sashiko Stitching

I am here to Support

After receiving the participation confirmation, if you have any questions about QuiltCon 2024 Sashiko Workshop “Core & Essence”, please contact Atsushi. I am happy to answer any questions or worries prior to the workshop. 

Your question may be someone’s question, and I will share the question and answers here on this website (of course, annonymously).

I am looking forward to meeting you in the QuiltCon.

QuiltCon 2024 Sashiko

Q&A for the QuilCon 2024 Sashiko

Q: (Sample) What is Sashiko?

A: (Sample) You will find out in the workshop!

Thread The Sashiko Needle

Help to Thread the Sashiko Needle (For Difficulty in Threading)

In order to appreciate & respect the original purpose of Sashiko, we use specific threads & needles. Because of the choices, some of Sashiko Beginners may experience the difficulty in threading. “Threading” will be much easier by repeating it, so the simple answer is “Practice will make it easier”. However, there are some wisdom to make the threading easier as well. So here is a Help to Thread The Sashiko Needle.

*There is a section that I introduce how to thread the needle in the Sashiko Introductory Course On Domestika. Please learn the basic & introduction of Sashiko comprehensively there.

1 – Keep the Thread in a Good Shape for stitching

The Sashiko thread we recommend is relatively easy to “split”. In fact, I would day that the Sashiko Thread should split easily so that it will function as Sashiko Thread. The thread doesn’t split well isn’t the ideal for the Sashiko purpose over time. So, the first step is to learn how to keep the thread in a good shap

Keep the thread short. If the thread is longer than 1.5 meter, then thread will start spliting by itself. Please follow this video on how to keep the thread in a good shape (

2 – Adjust Thread Tip.

It requires some practice to thread the needle with our needle & thimble as they are designed to follow the “Sashiko Purpose”. Please try to form the tip of thread to match the shape of needle eye (which is ractangle) by using your finger or nail. This will avoid spliting the thread when you try to insert.

3 – Use a Threader

The threader should have enough space to thread in most cases. Please check if we are on the same page for “how to use a threader” (

I hope that the difficulty in threading would be solved by trying (1)~(3), especially (2) and (3). However, if it doesn’t work, please try (4) below. I attach the photos. It will solve the problem – one issue is that it will add one extra step in your stitching.

4. Use a scotch tape to secure the thread from splitting.

*The Sample Photos here have “Splited Thread” to illustrate the solution

Use Scotch Tape (or masking tape) to secure the tip of the thread.

Wrap the tape to flatten the threads. Try to keep the width as simmilar to the thread width.

Then, cut the top of the tape diagnally. As the thread will not split, it should be easier to thread. Please make sure to cut off the tip (where the tape is) before you start stitching.

You may experience the “extremely splited thread” like 4~8 individal floss (the status of completely lost the twist). The more often we try to thread, the more significant the thread may split. When it happens, please cut off the tip of the “split” thread, and re-try with wisdom above.

I hope that (1)~(4) will fix the issue. Again, the thread is supposed to be this thick and should split. I do not recommend the thread without unique twist (which is easy to split) as “Sashiko Thread”. Also, we recommend the needle’s eye size for the purpose of Sashiko.

That being said, it is okay to use the thread & needle you prefer. From the perspective of Sashiko Artisans who would like to preserve the culture, I appreciate you trying to use the needle & thread we use & recommend instead of finding “easier” options. It is important to acknowledge the reasons & stories why we keep recommending it – and I hope you will get used to it soon with practicing it.

Please keep practicing it and you will have no problem to thread the needle without option (4).

More Story to Thread the Sashiko Needle (Domestika Course)

New Sashiko Online Course Cover

New Sashiko Online Course in 2023

I’m thrilled to announce my new Sashiko Online Course, “Introduction to Japanese Sashiko Stitching“. This course is a bit different from what I have been offering online & In-Person. A team of professionals worked with me on Domestika, and the course has more clear, beautiful, and creative videos & photos. The Trailer is already so artistic (not my work – they are the professionals in film making!).

Video/Photo (c) Domestika

What you can learn in New Sashiko Online Course?

The main goal of this new Sashiko Online Course is to introduce the Sashiko we have been practicing. In a big trend of sustainable fashion & mending, the word “Sashiko” has now it own definition in English. As many “Sashiko Teachers” with no Japanese background offering classes, workshops, and publication, Sashiko in English is not the Sashiko I have received. I understand that the trend is so powerful. What they are teaching is NOT wrong – just insufficient to define the Sashiko as a Japanese Stichery.

It is very challenging to introduce a culture & its practice. It requires a series of Story-Telling & practicing it. However, I do not want to just let the word (Sashiko) go away without original Stories. The New Sashiko Online Course “Introduction to Japanese Sashiko” will teach you a sample of my Sashiko project, start from the beginning and application with sharing what is Sashiko for me, for Japanese, as “Japanese Sashiko”.

What is going on with Atsushi

Some of you here may find this new Sashiko Online Course as “inconsistent” to what I have been saying on Instagram & Youtube. You may wonder why Domestika? How about a (self-published?) Book that I promised to work on? If I were you, I would have so many questions, too.

I do have the answers to your question, of couse. To be honest, this course wasn’t an easy decision. In fact, I was very difficult to many people in Domestika’s Great Team, and I feel bad for them for being so difficult.

In last 5~6 yeares, I have declined almost all offers I receive from publishers, either video or book. It is because I learned that their goal & my goal aren’t always the same. In most cases, the goal is quite different even if we agree on the basic things. I learned it in a pretty painful way, but well… I learned it.

Domestika broke through this fear by sending me many offers with their willingness to understand what I want. The person in charge read most of my Instagram Post, watched as many videos on Youtube, and understood the “limitation” I worry about. It was very different from the others who try to raise “loyalty” to convince me to take the offer. No, that kind of negotiation doesn’t do much to me (Of course, money is very important, but it isn’t the reason to decline): What I want is their willingness to understand what Sashiko is for me.

Again, I am aware that I was very difficult to manage as I kept mentioning this personal code. I know teaching “How-To” is the biggest demand in the trend, but I wanted to go over it, as much as I can. I really appreciate Domestika’s Team for being understanding of this. 

So, I am still the same. I worry if this new Sashiko Online Course may impact me somehow… but my goal is still the same: to pass down (up/across) the Sashiko we have been practicing. I still take very careful steps for “teaching” the culture & its practice. As I feel the need for direct interaction & communication the Online Sashiko Class / In-Person Sashiko Workshop I offer is still the best way to get the “Core & Essence”.

At the same time, I wanted to speak up instead of being silent when the word “Sashiko” walks away from the Japanese Sashiko Artisans. So, with a great help with Domestika, this is the new Online Sashiko Course.

This is my answer to the most asked Question

One of the most frequend asked question I receive is: “What is your recommendation for books? Where should I start Learning Sashiko?“. Before I wrote a blog article about “I have no recommendation”, I received this question almost daily. Well. Unfortunately, my answer to the questions was: “There are no recommendation for books about Sashiko written in English. Therefore I share so many Stories on SNS. You can start watching the videos on Youtube.

I understand this is not what they want to hear. They want to have a “package (a book or a course)” where they can start following without spending time in searching. “Searching” can waste our time, and we all do not like wasting time. Therefore, so many books & courses are available online, and they are quite popular even if an author or a teacher has very limited knowledge & experience in Sashiko.

By offering this New Online Sashiko Course, I can answer to the most frequent asked question: This is the place where you can start learning (Japanese) Sashiko we have been practicing.

More Stories are Comming!

Visiting Sashiko Japan 2023 Cover

Visiting Sashiko Japan 2023

10 years ago. Everything of my current Sashiko Journey started in 2013. My life was full of Sashiko even before 2013. However, the dedication, commitment, and passion I had were released at the end of the year. Ever since, I have not been back to Japan. There are several reasons that I have not done yet so… but in today’s society, it is kind of insane to not to go back to one’s own country for that long time. I am a bit scared… yet, I have a strong purpose in this visit. It is to share the “Sashiko Stories” of others from my own views. I will be visiting Japan from April 11th to 25th. This is a project of “Visiting Sashiko Japan 2023” – and I sincerely appreciate your support on this Journey. (As a return, I would like to offer the dedicated webpage for the “Visiting Sashiko Japan 2023”).

The Purpose of “Visiting Sashiko Japan 2023”

The main purpose of this Japan visit in 2023 is to fulfill the promise I made in 2020 – that I will take my Sashiko friends to Japan. There are many who trusted, supported, and encouraged me in the very difficult time in the Pandemic by waiting me to re-arrange the tour. So, I will take my Sashiko Friends to Japan, to enjoy the Sashiko I have been sharing to.

This main purpose is going to be fulfilled as I have already booked most of the things & planned a quite detailed itinerary. With paying attention to our health & safety, I consider it to be almost satisifed… now, I have another purpose crossing my mind. This is probably not a “Purpose” when I put it into the words. This can be more like my “wishes”, or even my “mission (responsibility)”. While visiting Sashiko Japan 2023, I would like to share “Someone’s Sashiko Story”. Almost every day, I share my own Sashiko Stories on SNS (such as Instagram). It is my own personal stories – yet there are probably millions of Japanese who have been (or have done) practicing Sashiko. I would like to, and I feel responsible, to share the stories of those Sashiko Artisans especially with decades (like 50+ years) of experience in Sashiko. Thanks to many support from Japanese friends, we are planning to see several Sashiko Artisans who aren’t well known, yet very experienced, in Japan. I will share some of the stories on the SNS. However, the SNS is a platform to share my own Sashiko Stories. Therefore, I prepare the dedicated webpage for this story. I really appreciate your support to sustain this by joining the Givebutter Funds Page Above.

*If you are already a supporter on Patreon, you will find a link on the Patreon Page at the beginning of April 2023.

*I prepared a dedicated postcard as a memento for your generous support. Please check the detail above.

Why can we find more “Sashiko Stories” in English?

I wrote my honest consideration about “Sashiko Stories”. Why is it so difficult to find someone who share their own Sashiko Stories in English? (If you know anyone sharing their Sashiko Stories – not the techhnique of “How to”, but more like their Stories to illustrate what Sashiko is for them).

One of the biggest barrier is language. The second possible obstacle is the Japanese Cultural “Expectation”. I will be overcoming both by being a “Japanese Sashiko Artisan” who actually stitch, instead of purchasing for trade, critiquing their culture, and researching for the history. I am 100% sure that there are millions of stories that I can listen to as an actual practitioner.

The purpose of Visiting Sashiko Japan 2023 has developed from just taking my friends to Japan, to share the Sashiko we love to everyone, including you.

I want “You” to be part of this experience

For 2023, I can only take a very few Sashiko friends with me. It isn’t a commertialized tour, a simple friend trip to Japan. Therefore, although I have a list of Google Form Submition received, I feel bad that I cannot offer anything to them. As I always say it here and there, “Inclusion” is always my intention. Even the discussion of Cultural Appropriation is for the purpose of inclusion.

I have been thinking what I can do for those who wish to be in Japan, yet not being able to for many reasons. The answer is the dedicated website (a series of blog with photos & videos) for those who are interested & have been supporting our activities.

I won’t be able to take everyone with me, but I want them to be a part of this experience. I will share as many Sashiko Stories, including mine but more importantly “Other’s Sashiko Stories”.

I hope to see you there on the Dedicated Website (the detail is on the GiveButter platform above).

*If you would like to be on the Waitling List for the Future [Visiting Sashiko Japan], please fill out the Google Form below. Thank you!

To Learn our Sashiko More

Please find the information below to learn our Sashiko more.
Report of Harikuyou

Local Report of Harikuyou – Sashiko Archive From Patreon

This is an article from our Patreon (written on December, 2020), and intending to share more information about a style of Hari Kuyou – that I introduce on Instagram. I made this article public for limited time so that we can share the actual images of Harikuyou happening in Japan. It would be great if you could consider supporting us on Patreon for us keep sharing the stories (For those who already support me on Patreon, I really appreciate your understanding of sharing this article outside of the Patreon).

Feb.8th was the day of “Kotoyouka (事八日)”. “Harikuyou (針供養)” is one of the ceremony we have on Kotoyouka. The Harikuyou – a requiem ceremony for hard-working broken & bent needles, seems to inspire many non-Japanese people with the concept of “appreciating the spirit within a material”. I am very happy to share how important it is to be familiar with Animism in Japan. It is very ordinary for us to appreciate a “matter”.

I haven’t been back to Japan for more than 7 years. It was a pity to not be able to share the Harikuyou in Japan with photos. One of the followers on Instagram kindly shared some photos of her visit to one of the most famous Shinto shrines for Harikuyou – Osaka Tenmangu.

Harikuyou in Osaka Tenmangu – Report of Harikuyou

Each Shinto Shrine has their own “Spirit” to appreciate. The spirit can be a form of “God exists in Nature”, “Historical person with great achievement”, “An emperor in history”, and/or “someone who sacrifices their lives to the development of Japan”. It is very challenging to summarize this concept, and it requires a collection of books to explain the whole picture. In short rough summary, it may be easy to understand that each Shinto Shrine has a “theme” in their own form of Appreciation (*1).

*1 – As a famous example, please let me share Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo. Yasukuni Shrine was founded by Emperor Meiji in June 1869 and commemorates those who died in service of Japanese Modernization. It includes the spirit who sacrificed their lives in World war II – and it means it includes those Kamikaze pilots. It has been a political issue to visit Yasukuni Shrine as a “politician” because it “could” validate the history of Japan going into war. It isn’t an easy discussion to conclude, but I hope this explains what I meant by “theme” in each Shrine.

In some of the big shinto shrines, they have many buildings. Each building often celebrates a different spirit even in the same Shinto Shrine (which is very confusing for many western people who believe in The (Absolute) God).

In Osaka Tenmangu, the Harikuyou is performed in Kibi Shrine (building) in which celebrate the spirit of Kibi no Makibi (吉備 真備) who is well-known for a one of the first “International Students to China in 717”. Those “International Students (we call it ‘Kentoushi – 遣唐使)” imported many techniques, skills, wisdom and culture from China. Since the group of Kibi no Makibi is known as the one who imported a variety of embroidery techniques to Japan, the ceremony for needles is held here.

I hope it makes sense – the relationship between who is appreciated in each shrine and how it is related to what they have accomplished.

Something Soft for the needles to rest

Harikuyou is a ceremony to show appreciation to the hard-working needles. Therefore, we stick the needles into something soft so that they can rest in it. In some places, they use “Tofu”. In this Shrine, they use “Konnyaku – こんにゃく” (a traditional Japanese food and is made from Konjac Yam).

As you can see, many kinds of needles are brought to the Harikuyou. A dressmaker’s pins, hand-sewing needles, and also Sashiko needles as well.

Harizuka (針塚) where needles rest forever

The needles in something soft will be serviced (purified) by a Shinto priest. Then, it will be buried in a mound – so called Harizuka (針塚) – Needle mound. The photo introduces that this Harizuka is made by contributions from 2 organizations deeply related to needle work in 1926. The 2 organizations are “Union of Merchant & Maker of Japanese Kimono in Osaka” & “A group of volunteers of Embroidery Artisans in Osaka”. It explains how deeply our ordinary is related to the Japanese history.

It doesn’t have to be this “Formal”

As much as I would like to visit a Shinto Shrine to perform the Harikuyou, possibly & hopefully with you one day, the ceremony doesn’t have to be that “formal” like these photos. The most important concept of Harikuyou is to acknowledge the spirit within the Needles and “appreciate” it. It can lead us to appreciate the environment, someone who makes the tools, and each stitcher like ourselves. This is the sustainability of “caring” and “mindfulness” that I would like to pass down. It is the ordinary of Japanese, which can be an inspirational custom for the world.

Interested in how we do Hari Kuyou?

Besides this Report of Harikuyou, the article about the detail of Hari-Kuyou is available on this website for limited time as well.


A Style of Hari Kuyou (針供養)- Sashiko Archive From Patreon

This is an article from our Patreon (written on December, 2020), and intending to share more information about a style of Hari Kuyou – that I introduce on Instagram. I made this article public for limited time so that anyone can share, learn, and appreciate the unique cultural perspective of Sashiko & related rituals in Japan. If you can affor $5.00 per month, your support will be a good help for me to keep writing/sharing this type of Story. (For those who already support me on Patreon, I really appreciate your understanding of sharing this article outside of the Patreon).

December 8th and February 8th is the day called “Koto Youka (事八日)”. For stitchers like us who use needles ordinarily, it is the day to appreciate the needles even more than usual. It is the day of Hari Kuyou – a requiem service for broken/unusable needles.

I once explained about the Hari Kuyou and Koto Youka in the Sashiko Journey #55 on Patreon. However, I didn’t break it down to a process “How to do Hari Kuyou” in our days. So, I would like to introduce how the Japanese would service the Hari Kuyou, and how I would honor the service outside of Japan.

Pray for the needle with appreciation

The most ordinary way to honor the Hari Kuyou Service is bringing the broken/unusable needles to the shrine. Many shrines, including the big famous one & local small one, shall offer the Hari Kuyou memorials on December 8th and/or February 8th. (It depends on where the shrine locates – In general, Feb.8th for the east part of Japan, and December 8th for the west part of Japan.)

When you visit the shrine on Hari Kuyou day, you will find a big “Tofu” with many broken needles on it. That’s how we farewell the needles. We pray for the needle with sincere appreciation for the hard work the needle had done for us. The needle will be buried to “mound” after a Shinto priest performs appropriate purification.

There is no strict style to follow. We  visit the shrine, stick the needle on the Tofu, and pray with puting the palms together.

*For the photo of a big “Tofu” with needles sticked, lease search online with this Japanese character, “針供養”.

Let the needle Rest after all hard work

The whole point of the service is to let the needle rest after all of their hard work. The needle became unusable or broken because we used the needle heavily, intensively, and/or on the thick fabric. They worked so hard for us. At the end of the needle’s life, we stitch the needle to something very “soft” and pray for their rest in peace.

It seems like the “Tofu” is a common materials for the softness. However, it doesn’t have to be Tofu. In some regions, people used “Mochi (Sticky Rice Cake)” or “Konnyaku (konjac jelly?)”. Some think that using food is “wasting”, so they use a piece of “sponge” to honor the service.

I understand “what kind of soft materials we use for Hari Kuyou” is pretty flexible as long as the needle can rest in a soft material.

I have heard that we can find documents that the Japanese practiced this Hari Kuyou as early as the 9th century. It is more than 1,100 years ago. That’s how long we have been appreciating the needle. Stitching (not only Sashiko but also any kinds of stitching in Japan) was something more than just stitching for the Japanese people.

Not “Recycle” so much. More of “Reincarnation”

I understand that some understand this service as the “recycle custom” – how to recycle the needle instead of just throwing them away – because disposing the needle is kind of dangerous and unfriendly to the environment. 

However, the service itself is not so much about “recycle” as we think today (environmentally). It is more like “Reincarnation” for the spirit within the needles.

The needles we bring to the shrine will be buried in the “Needle mount” designated in the shrine. How about the rest of us who don’t have the shrine that take care of it nearby?

In the past, the Japanese chose several ways to “farewell” the needle. It all depends on the regions but following the similar steps.

First, they all appreciate the needle and put them in something soft.

Second, if they have a Kamidana (a household Shinto altar) in their house, they would pray for the needle by putting the needles on something soft in front of Kamidana. With sharing the appreciation to the needle in front of “Gods”, it serves a purpose of purification.

Then, they chose a way to “say good-bye” by…

  • Bury it in the ground
  • Flow it in the river
  • Drop it in the sea

In today’s society, for environmental reasons, I do not know if we flow it in the river or drop it in the sea. They may bury it (needle & something soft) under the ground if it is their personal property. However, since we have much better transportation structure (like public transportation and our own cars), it is more popular to visit the shrine for the best service for Hari Kuyou.

How about in the U.S.?

How about those who lives outside of Japan, like Atsushi who lives in the U.S. then?

Well… I do not have a Kamidana in my house. There are no shrines in the driving distance. Therefore, I perform the service by myself.

I put the needles on a small piece of Tofu.

I tell the needle my appreciation for going into meditative status.

Then, I bury it wrapped with an old (yet white) cloth to the ground of my yard (where my daughter will not play with digging like our kitchen garden.

A style is important, of course.

However, here, the day (moment) of appreciating the needle is the most important part of this Hari Kuyou, I believe.

Needles work for us, to make it happen

We use needles every day without doubt. The needle enables us to talk to the fabric throughout stitching. Have you ever felt that the needle is kind of in a bad mood? The needle is an inorganic substance. However, we believe that a spirit existed in it, and the spirit often reflects who we are on that day. Isn’t it interesting? The more we think about it, the more I believe that there is actually “spirit” in all of the things.

Needles work for us a lot.

Without the needles, our work will not be achievable.

Therefore, we appreciate the people/spirit who makes the needle, who use the needle, and the needle themselves.

Some Japanese people do not hold the needle on the day of Hari Kuyou no matter how “busy” their schedules are. It is a day to appreciate the needle. Therefore, I keep sharing, Sashiko (thread, fabric, thimble, needle and many more) is much more than just words.

Thank you for your support.

Report on Hari Kuyou

I also share a report on Hari Kuyou from my friend. I hope this will help you to experience & learn What Hari Kuyou is for us.

Sashiko In-Person Workshop Schedule 2023 Cover

Sashiko In-Person Workshop Schedule 2023

Please find the detail information about Sashiko In-Person Workshop Schedule 2023, when and where Atsushi will be offering the Sashiko Workshop. As you may know by now, I do not offer many workshop throughout the year – probably maximum of 6 workshop throughout the year. I hope that you can find one to join one of the Sashiko In-Person Workshop Schedule 2023.

*For those who wish to learn “Now”, please consider taking the Sashiko Online Class (2023). I am receiving many positive reviews that the Online Class can offer the same outcome of learning What Sashiko is. Some even prefer Online Class as they could proceed their learning with their own speed. One downside of Online Class is a missing opportunity of you touching our actual Sashiko items.

* For the drawback above, if you are learning from Sashiko Online Class & live near the workshop location, depends on the schedule, you can stop by the workshop & meet in person!

Sashiko Workshop Schedule 2023

Sashiko Workshop Schedule 2023 Across the United States.

(Last Update: Jan.30th 2023)

Sashiko In-Person Workshop Schedule 2023

Schweinfurth Art Center (Auburn, NY) – Oct.2023

This is my first time to offer 3 Full Days Sashiko Workshop in well-known Schweinfurth Art Center in New York. Starting with learning the “Core & Essence” of the Sashiko We practice, we will go through the whole standard process of our Sashiko with sharing many Samples & ideas. This will be an intensive 18~21 hours of Sashiko Stitching Workshop.

We had great time in the In-Person SashikoWorkshop below!

QuiltCon 2023 (Atlanta, GA) – Feb.2023

It is an honor to teach Sashiko in QuiltCon again. In this year, I will be offering Sashiko Workshop “Core & Essence”, and a Lecture about Cultural Sustainability in Sashiko. Please check the detail below for the possible participation to Quiltcon 2023 & Sashiko Workshop “Core & Essence”.

Aya Fiber Studio (Stuart, FL) – April.2023

Another Great opportunity to spend 3-full days with Sashiko we practice, from Core & Essence to many ways to apply to your own project, and practice Sashiko with them. In Stuart, FL, we will have very fun, educational, and intensive 18 ~ 21 hours of stitching together. Plan your time in beautiful beach in FL with Sashiko!

Bring Atsushi to Your Group

Please consider bringing Atsushi to your group (or even to you as a private course) if you do not find a ideal location & time for you to join Sashiko In-Person Workshop Schedule 2023. Depends on the numbers of your group & location, this may be the best interest for you. Please take a look at the article below & contact Atsushi for the availability. If you are an organizer wishing to offer Sashiko Workshop with Atsushi, please check the “Pricing Benchmark” PDF from the link below.

Sashiko Online Class (23)

Sashiko Online Class is available for those who would like to start learning Sashiko right now from your place. After sharing Sashiko over the Internet for a while, I am confident that I can deliver the same message via Sashiko Online Class. I “restock” Sashiko Online Class in the 3rd week of each month, based on the numbers of participants who signed up for the specific period. If you find it available, there is no need to fulfill the waiting list. I am looking forward to meeting you online!

More to Come for Sashiko In-Person Workshop Schedule 2023

I have one workshop pending in 2024, and hoping that I can offer a few more workshops somewhere in 2023. Please follow Instagram, Business for @UpcycleStitches and Sashiko Stories for @SashikoStory for the latest update!

Lists of Sashiko Activities

Links for Sashiko Activities

I am looking back how much informaiton we have shared since 2017. Instagram itself has more than 2,000 Stories, and there are quite Long 160+ articles on Patreon. I receive many questions of “where to get information”. To be honest, I want them to look for the information before asking that question. However, at the same time, in this society, I realize it is my responsibility to offer better experience. The voice becomes the Voice when I can deliver it to many people. This page is a list of Links for our Sashiko Activities. I hope you can find the information you are looking for.

Please Click here to learn more about In-Person Sashiko Workshop for 2023.

[New Update on Sashiko Story]

My Recommendation for “Where to Start Learning Sashiko”.

Learn Sashiko Online from Japanese Sashiko Artisans.

Sashiko isn’t difficult at all. However, there are certain things to learn, such as “Form”, in order to appropriately understand what Sashiko is. You can learn the Core & Essence of Sashiko online now. Please consider taking our Online Sashiko Class to learn the Sashiko we (Japanese Sashiko Artisans) have been enjoying & practicing for a long time.

(Listed Chronologically & Updating Periodically).

List of Links:

Atsushi will be in Japan starting 4/11 to 4/26. Please take a look at what I am offering while I am in Japan! Although I cannot take you with me, I want you to be involved in this Sashiko Japan Tour 2023.

Links for Sashiko Activities

We have a LOT more going on. Please come back to this page for more information. If you do not find the link you are looking for, please leave a comment on this post so that I can add it right away. Thank you for your help & understanding.

Sashiko Japan Tour

Finally… Finally, I am restarting the plan to bring my Sashiko friends to Japan to share what I consider it “Sashiko” and “Japanese Beautiful Culture”. Please find the detail Above

Natural Dye Sashiko Thread

We are restocking our popular “Natural Dyed Sashiko Thread (by Keiko)” little by little. Please check the store page if it is available!

In order to teach Sashiko, I am actively learning what the participants want to learn. “My Comom knowledge may be someone’s miracle solution” – so, I am trying to share something I find trifle, yet may be informative someone – Sharing Sashiko Wisdom.

It is very important to keep speaking up on many platform like Instagram & Youtube. However, these message tend to be one-direction: My voice to you. On top of that, I would like to offer an opportunity to get together to “Share” the Japanese Sashiko.

Sashiko Japan Tour 2023 Spring Cover

Sashiko Japan Tour 2023 – Spring

Stitching Sashiko Together in Japan, while sharing the view of my Sashiko Experience. It has been my dream to make it happen to bring my Sashiko friends to Japan with. In 2019, I started planning the one. I completed the itinerary, made reservations for everyone on the list, even paid some deposit for some events… and I had to cancel everything due to the pandemic. 2.5 years has passed since, I am very happy to announce the “Sashiko Japan Tour 2023 Spring” will come to true.

Please understand that this is NOT a commercial tour available to the general public. It is more like me taking you to Japan as my friend (since you are my friends after taking the Online Sashiko Class or In-Person Workshop). No “packaged sightseeing tour” is part of the itinerary. No “touristy stuff” may be included. However, instead, I am adding many exclusive Sashiko experience with asking my Sashiko friends in Japan. “Sashiko Japan Tour 2023 Spring” will be something very unique for those who love & wish to learn Sashiko & Boro more.

To receive more detail information & get a spot, please fill out the Google Form below.

*As of 10/29, all the spots are tentatively reserved (waiting for their confirmation for the schedule). You can be on the waiting list, and I will contact you in the order I receive the submission on Google Form.

Theme Photo of Sashiko Japan Tour 2023 Spring

Theme of Sashiko Japan Tour 2023

“Meet Peeple & Experience Sashiko” – this is the theme of this tour. Also, this is one reason you may want to join the tour I organize among many other “Japanese Textile Tour”. We do not have any “planned” sightseeing package (We will have free time for us to “choose” to go to sightseeing). Instead, we ask a local Sashiko people (including Atsushi) to show us around to experience their Sashiko & meet new people for us. Atsushi will be always there to help communication.

We plan to visit many stores for “Shopping”, but very much focused on Sashiko, textile, Boro, and Natural Dye – pretty much anything related Sashiko. Instead, we will NOT stop by a large shopping center for the souvenior in the tour. You can arrange one before or after the actual tour if you would like to do so, and I am happy to help.

HighLight of the Tour

Atsushi is actively planning many events in Japan. Please find what you can expect as the main event in this tour:

  • Socializing Event to meet Japanese Sashiko stitchers – Keiko & our work’s Exhibition.
  • Meeting & Stitching with Keiko in Takayama (Sashiko & Boro & Hitomezashi Workshops) – for days (Prerequisite of Atsushi’s Workshop “Core & Essence” – Online Sashiko Class before tour is available for those are very new to our Sashiko)
  • Join the Famous Takayama Festival (Spring) from Local’s View.
  • Traditional Meal in Takayama, in 200+ years old restraurants with Michelin starts. Atsushi personally explain the significance of this place in English.
  • A Whole Day in Takayama for Shopping & SightSeeing from Local Eyes.
  • A Whole Day in Kyoto for Shopping & possible Workshops (Store list available in the Itenary) 
  • A Whole Day in Tokyo for visiting friends & Shopping
  • Kogin-Sashi Workshop with meeting a legendary Teacher in Tokyo.
  • A visit to Shirakawago (National Heritage) to see the houses (places) where they would be stitching for their survival.
  • Authentic Natural Indigo Dye Workshop in suberb of Tokyo (when one choose “Extended”)

For more information, please visit our Special Page for Sashiko Japan Tour 2023

Also, you can find the archive of Newsletters & Annoucnement I have done so far.

This is the First, but not the last.

I sincerely hop that I can continue offering this great opportunity to anyone who learn Sashiko from me. This is NOT a commercial tour to provide the Tourism Side of Japan – however, I believe that I can offer the “Real View of Current Japanese Sashiko” – which I always talk about on my SNS.

Even if you are not able to join this tour, filling out the application (there is an option to not to join this time), and letting me if you may be interested in future along with your preference will help me to look for more opportunities. Thank you & I am looking forward to spending time with you in Japan!