Cultural Programs

Cultural education is a key part of our mission!  We offer a variety of interactive workshops and presentations for schools, libraries and other groups in Greater Cincinnati* through our Cultural Ambassadors Program.  These are available for a modest fee that covers the cost of materials and the hiring of presenters with subject area expertise.

If you are interested in arranging a program, please contact Ryoko Reita, Outreach Coordinator, 513-579-3114, at least one month in advance of your desired program date(s). 

*Programs may be available outside of the Greater Cincinnati area (including Dayton, Ohio) at a higher fee in order to cover additional travel expenses.  

Our current program menu includes:

Koto (Japanese Harp)

A koto, or Japanese harp, is a stringed instrument that can sound like a harp. it originally came to Japan from China around 1300 years ago. Japanese adapted it to suit their music over a long period of time. It became very popular among aristocrats and was played only by women until the Twentieth Century.

A koto is six feet long and a foot wide, and has thirteen strings. it is played by strumming and plucking with picks on three fingers, and some pieces of music include plucking with the fingertips of the left hand, without picks. The sounds produced are mostly soft and can bring to mind blossoms drifting down, a gentle breeze, or a flowing river.

Length: Approximately 30 minutes

Age Minimum: None (Suitable for all ages)

Group Size: Unlimited

Fee: Negotiable

Karesansui (Dry Landscape Garden)


Karesansui, or dry rock gardens, are gardens that use stones, sand or gravel (occasionally moss) to represent water and mountains. Each garden has a unique style and should be viewed from a single, seated perspective. There are about 6 different styles of rock gardens: flat, semi-flat, dry stream, dry pond, artificial hills and unique ones that do not fit into a category. This demonstration will teach you about the different techniques of rock gardening and also let you experience a miniature one of your own!

Length: Approximately 1 hour

Age Minimum: 15 years old

Group Size: Unlimited

Fee: $150

Origami (Paper Folding)

Origami is the traditional art of paper folding and has been widely practiced by children (as well as adults) in Japan since it was introduced in the late sixth century by Buddhist monks. In ancient Japan, paper was expensive to produce and was therefore treated with great respect.  In this workshop, participants will learn basic techniques and produce one or more designs (usually animals).

Workshop Length:  One hour
Age Minimum:  10 years
Suggested Group Size: 20
Fee:  $150 (including all materials)

Kamishibai (Storytelling)

A vibrant form of storytelling popular in Japan, Kamishibai, (kah-mee-she-bye) or “paper-theater,” is part of a long tradition of picture storytelling in Japan. Kamishibai flourished as a street-performance art from the 1920s to 1950s, and has seen a revival in recent years. The performer would bring the story to neighborhoods on a bicycle equipped with a wooden stage and then loudly strike two wooden sticks, signaling children to come and gather for an exciting story and candy.

Length: One hour
Age: All Ages
Suggested Group Size: 5- 25
Fee:  $150


One among a number of famous martial arts practiced in Japan, karate is a highly-respected discipline as well as a popular sport.  In this workshop, participants will learn basic techniques and the meaning behind various movements.  They will also learn basic greetings and how to count to 10 in Japanese.

Workshop Length:  One hour
Age Minimum:  6 years
Maximum Group Size: 20
Fee:  $150 (including all materials)

Japanese Calligraphy

In this workshop, participants will be introduced to the Japanese writing system and have a chance to practice writing basic characters (also known as "ideograms") and simple words in Japanese. This activity can be arranged in traditional workshop style, however it is also well-suited to cultural fairs in which children and parents stop by the table for short periods of time and "sample" the activity. Participants will create a souvenir bookmark on Japanese-style paper using Japanese characters.

Workshop Length:  One hour 
Age Minimum:  8 years
Suggested Group Size:  15

Fee:  $150 (including all materials)

Participant Comment
"The calligraphy was very well received by our students and other community members. 
THANK YOU! My  (15-year old) daughter who was there to help out with the program was very proud of her Japanese calligraphy writing.  The Japanese calligraphy activity added to the variety of our offerings, as well. We will definitely be in touch, again, next year."

-J.W, Assistant Principal, Cincinnati-area elementary school 

Ikebana (Flower Arranging)

Ikebana is the Japanese art of flower arranging.  In this workshop, participants will learn about the traditional Japanese way of arranging flowers and other types of plants and have the opportunity to construct a simple arrangement to take home. 

Workshop Length:  One hour
Age Minimum:  Adults Only
Suggested Group Size:  10
Fee:  $150 + materials (approximately $15/person)


Tea Ceremony

Through the tea ceremony, you can learn about various aspects of Japanese culture including history, kimono, incense, calligraphy, ikebana (flower arranging),architecture, traditional gardens, tools, and food culture. In this workshop, you will watch temae (tea making procedure) and experience it yourself. We may also simply demonstrate temae in an event, if that format is preferred.

Workshop Length:  One hour 
Age Minimum:  7 years
Suggested Minimum Group Size:  5 -Unlimited
Fee:  $150 (including matcha tea and sweets)

Presentations on Japan

Our presentations on Japan cover various topics including history, geography, customs and etiquette, the education system,  daily life, traveling in Japan, etc., as appropriate to the group and event. Please let us know your interests and needs, and we will discuss various options with you.

Presentation Length:  Up to one hour 
Age Minimum:  8 years
Suggested Group Size:  Unlimited   
Fee:  $150

© 2016 Japan America Society of Greater Cincinnati (JASGC) |  3 East Fourth Street, Suite 100, Cincinnati, OH 45202 |(513) 579-3150/3114(日本語)| E-mail:          
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