Here are the highlights of our program for Links to Japan: our upcoming trip to Japan taking place from October 28 to November 5 2017.

Please contact Links Hall Director Roell Schmidt, rschmidt (at) for more information.

TOKYO – Monday, October 30, 2017

11:00 AM – 2:00 PM

Studio visit + Lunch at Morishita Studio hosted by the Saison Foundation

Morishita Studio at Saison Foundation
The Saison Foundation is a grant-making foundation that supports projects and activities related to contemporary Japanese theater and dance and awards residencies at Morishita Studio in Tokyo. They have invited to be their guests and have lunch with their current Resident artists Maki Morishita, Takuro Suzuki, and Yoko Higashino.

2:30 PM – 4:30 PM

Interested Parties: Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden

After being indoors we thought we would like to be in a garden. Shinjuku Gyoen was constructed on the site of a private mansion belonging to Lord Naito, a feudal lord of the Edo era. Completed in 1906 as an imperial garden, it was re-designated as a national garden after the Second World War and opened to the public. It blends three distinct styles, French Formal Garden, English Landscape Garden and Japanese Traditional Garden, and is considered to be one of the most important gardens from the Meiji era.

5:00 PM

Interested Parties: Omotesando/Harajuku/Roppongi street vendors and shopping – around the Hotel

Jam-packed with stores selling assorted goods, accessories, and clothes, Takeshita-dori street is constantly crowded with shoppers. Harajuku is the district where crepes, pancakes, and many other trends started, and a line can always be seen outside the many popular shops here and there. Meanwhile, the quiet stillness emanating from the Meiji Jingu Shrine can make one forget about the hustle and bustle of the city. Just a short walk away is the more sophisticated area of Omotesando. Artistic fashion buildings and galleries line up along the zelkova tree-lined street, where you can enjoy shopping, gourmet food and art.

7:30 PM

Everyone: Dinner at Nagatacho Kurosawa

This restaurant, created by Nagatacho Kurosawa, a family member part of the artistic staff of Akira Kurosawa, the famous Japanese film director, celebrates the director’s work. The exterior and interior of the restaurant are based on Kurosawa’s film Yojimbo. The menu features buckwheat soba noodles and shabu-shabu which were favorite meals of Kurosawa, as well as recipes that were used by his daughter for family meals.

TOKYO – Tuesday, October 31, 2017

4:00 AM

Interested Parties: meet in the lobby to visit to Tsukiji fish Market.

Tsukiji Market is best known as one of the world’s largest fish markets, handling over 2,000 tons of marine products per day. Its tuna fish auctions at 5 am every morning are of great interest. While there, we can get a sushi breakfast at one of the numerous sushi counters and restaurants in the restaurant area.

9:00 AM

Interested Parties, meet in the lobby to visit the Sensoji Temple in Asakusa

Sensō-ji is an ancient Buddhist temple located in Asakusa, Tokyo, Japan. It is Tokyo’s oldest temple, and one of its most significant. Formerly associated with the Tendai sect of Buddhism, it became independent after World War II. The legend says that in the year 628, two brothers fished a statue of Kannon, the goddess of mercy, out of the Sumida River, and even though they put the statue back into the river, it always returned to them. Consequently, Sensoji was built nearby for the goddess of Kannon. The temple was completed in 645.


1:30 PM

Interested Parties: Pigment Lab visit with Anna

Address: TERRADA Harbor One Bldg. 1F, 2-5-5 Higashi-Shinagawa, Shinagawa-ku, Tokyo 140-0002 JAPAN


PIGMENT is simultaneously a laboratory for exploring “expression in color and matiere*” as well as an academy, a museum, and a store combined into a comprehensive facility for creativity. Pigments, glues, brushes for calligraphy and painting – and the methods employed in creating with each. Our unique research and educational activities focus on combining the materials and techniques that give rise to expression itself. In addition to highly accomplished artists and researchers in materials and pigments, our staff includes creative directors and producers who excel in linking art and business. Together, our atelier works closely with foreign and domestic companies to provide technical support and project planning consultation.


3:00 PM

Interested Parties: Shibuya pedestrian flood watching and drinks at Grandfather’s (Drinks @5pm)

Visit the monument to the “faithful dog” (so Anna can send a photo of it to her mother), watch the pedestrian flood from a safe distance. Then grab drinks at Roell’s favorite Tokyo Dive Bar! Established 40 years ago, the aptly named Grandfather’s started out with a playlist style that was uncommon at the time, blending together rock LPs one song at a time. Today, the tunes are a selection of AOR, funk, and soul from the ’70s.

7:00 PM

Everyone: Tokyo Metropolitan Theatre

Attend “One Green Bottle” written and directed by Hideki Noda (in English) performance.

9 PM

Interested Parties: Golden Gai District / (Shinjuku) Nichome (lgbtq district)

Golden Gai District Golden Gai (“Golden District”) is one of those rare places in Tokyo that, through some combination of luck and stubbornness, hasn’t been bulldozed and redeveloped. Instead, it’s just a couple of blocks packed with tiny, slightly ramshackle but buzzing bars. Not all of the tiny bars and restaurants found here let foreigners in but we can’t miss a walk tough. Better known as “Ni-Chome,” 2-Chome Shinjuku is a buzzing, neon-lit gay quarter in East Shinjuku. Multistory buildings house tiny bars and nightclubs, while beers and cocktails are served outdoors on Naka-Dori Street. Drag shows draw a friendly mix of locals and visitors, and cool bistros offer eclectic Japanese-Western menus. Ramen shops, quirky cafes and LGBT bookstores. These districts are less than 10 min. walk apart.


KOBE – Wednesday, November 1, 2017

10:00 AM

Everyone: Shinkansen Nozomi Super Express Train from Tokyo Train Station to Shin Kobe Station (3 hour trip with 1 transfer). Final destination is JR Shin Nagata.

1:30 PM

Everyone: Lunch with DanceBox Artists and Staff

DanceBox has made arrangements to take us out, so the restaurant will be a wonderful surprise, and certainly a local favorite, our partners always choose the best restaurants!

2:30 – 7:00 PM

Everyone: Studio Visit with DanceBox Resident Artist Jecko Siompo! 

DanceBox is commissioning both Kaori Seki and Darrell Jones’ new works in partnership with Links Hall. We are visiting their residency venuing to say hello to them and pop into  Jecko Siompo’s rehearsal. Jecko is a very exciting Choreographer from Indonesia who is in residence at Dance Box creating a new work combining his studies of animal movements with his Hip Hop practice.

7:00 PM

Everyone: Dinner at a nearby Izakaya, Izakayas are informal Japanese Gastropubs.


7:00 PM

Everyone: Dinner at a nearby Izakaya, Izakayas are informal Japanese Gastropubs.


8:30 PM

Everyone: Train to Kyoto

KYOTO – Thursday, November 2, 2017

8:00 AM

Interested Parties: Temple Tour lead by our own Kyoto native Kyoko!

Gather in hotel lobby for Temple Tour led by Kyoko Yoshida. Visit some of her favorite temples and get the skinny on them from a local: Kinkakuji (Temple of the Golden Pavilion), Ryoanji (Zen rock garden temple), Ninna-ji (world heritage site).

12:00 PM

Everyone: Lunch at Ryoriya Stephan Pantel

Roell hasn’t shut up about this restaurant for over a year, that may be because it has a Michelin star and offers amazing fusions between Japanese and French cuisine. We may or may not have only been able to book this reservation because a certain local guide of ours pulled a few strings (thanks Kyoko!).

3:00 PM

Everyone: Kyoto Experiment Festival, Trisha Brown Dance Company

“Opal Loop / Cloud Installation #72503” “ L’Amour au thèâtre” and “Groove and Countermove” The death of the choreographer Trisha Brown in March at the age of 80 reverberated around the world. Beginning her long and varied career in New York in the 1960s, Brown became a leading figure in contemporary dance through her highly experimental work that overturned the conventions of theater as well as her collaborations with such artists as John Cage and Robert Rauschenberg, and choreographing for the Paris Opera Ballet.

The company now returns to the festival to with three of Brown’s pieces for theater spaces, including L’Amour au Théâtre, which uses an aria by the French Baroque composer Rameau, and Opal Loop / Cloud Installation #72503, which was developed out of a collaboration with the “fog sculptures” of Fujiko Nakaya. The performances are an opportunity to witness the legacy left by the tireless pioneer that was Trisha Brown, and consider how this can be passed onto the next generation.

4:30 PM

You have the rest of the day to explore, or plan things together, discover a place to have dinner that we haven’t found yet. Please Enjoy Kyoto, we love it!


Anna will likely be heading to Bar K-ya, which is her favorite whiskey bar in the the whole world, or what she has seen of the world… and she tries to get around. Let her know if you want to join. 

KYOTO – Friday, November 3, 2017

9:00 AM

Interested Parties: Meet in the lobby to head to the Kurama Onsen

We will visit the village of Kurama, hike (30 min) to the Kurama-dera Mountain Temple, and end our adventure at the open air baths of the Kurama Onsen where we can have lunch at their kitchens. This is an easy 30-minute train trip north of Kyoto. Sitting in the outdoor tub surrounded by forested mountains is pure onsen bliss.

7:30 PM

Everyone: Kyoto Experiment Festival – Marcelo Evelin / Demolition Incorporada /Sick Dance

A virtuoso Brazilian dancer’s radical encounter with Japanese Butoh. The Brazilian virtuoso Marcelo Evelin has previously presented his work twice at Kyoto Experiment.

With this new work, Evelin turns his attention to the Japanese dance form of Butoh. Drawing on Butoh pioneer Tatsumi Hijikata’s book Yameru Maihime(Ailing Dancing Girl), he deepened his approach through interactions with Butoh dancers and researchers in Japan. Evelin’s roughly 30-year inquiry into dance and the body here intersects with the radical ideas of Hijikata. Having produced a prodigious output filled with wildness and life, Evelin now confronts the excluded, exhausted “weak body” championed by Hijikata. The result will surely violently shake up not only contemporary dance but also the peaceful everyday order.

8:00 PM

Everyone: Kyoto Experiment Festival – Darrell Jones Screening featuring J’Sun Howard

(60 min) The Kyoto Experiment Festival has put together this screening of Darrell Jones’ last award winning work “Ho Ha (for your eyes only)”. For years Darrell has developed an innovative style inspired by voguing, a dance movement that spread in the gay club scene. Exploring his own identity in his work, Jones has refined a unique form of physical expression based on sexual stereotypes and repression. He has performed with Bebe Miller, Urban Bush Women, Ronald K. Brown, Min Tanaka, KOKUMA Dance Theater, and Ralph Lemon. Darrell has received choreographic fellowships from MANCC (Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography), CDF (Chicago Dancemakers Forum) (2006) and is a two time Bessie award recipient (2005 and 2013) for his collaborative work with Bebe Miller Company and his most recent research in (e)feminized ritual performance. Darrell has also taught workshops and master classes in dance technique and improvisational processes throughout the United States and in other countries such as South Africa, UK, and South Korea. WE LOVE HIM!


Interested Parties: Optional cocktails at FORUM KYOTO

FORUM KYOTO is a center for arts and gastronomy located in the heart of Kyoto City. The 4 story building is welcoming a Specialty Coffee Shop, a Craft Beer Bar with a large selection of Organic Wines, Champagnes and Nihonshu. The 2 upper levels host exhibitions, events and talks introducing Japanese, international and young talents in Contemporary arts, Design, Fashion, Performance and Music. (open till 1am)

KYOTO – Saturday, November 4, 2017

9:30 AM

Everyone: IPPODO Tea CO tea tasting

Located in the heart of Kyoto, Ippodo Tea Co. has been providing the highest quality Japanese green tea for nearly 3 centuries.

12:00 PM

Interested Parties: Nishiki Market Food Market for Lunch /Shopping (near hotel)

Nishiki Market is a shopping street with more than a hundred shops and restaurants. Known as “Kyoto’s Kitchen”, this lively retail market specializes in all things food related, like fresh seafood, produce, and cookware. It is a great place to find seasonal foods and Kyoto specialties, such as Japanese sweets, pickles, dried seafood and sushi.


2:30 PM

Everyone: Kyoto Experiment Festival – Yudai Kamisato / Okazaki Art Theatre

(90 min) A world premiere by an acclaimed and border-crossing playwright, shaped by his time in Buenos Aires Three-time Kishida Kunio Drama Award nominee Yudai Kamisato was born in Peru and brought up in Kanagawa Prefecture. His work, which has attracted acclaim also from the literary world, explores his own identity as well as wider political and social issues through a unique theatrical language. Based in Buenos Aires since last October, Kamisato wrote this new play and recruited performers locally to stage it in Spanish.It interweaves episodes of migration and death collected by Kamisato on his recent travels around Oceania, Ogasawara, Okinawa and Latin America. Immersing himself in these foreign lands and languages, Kamisato turns his attention to human migration, cultural assimilation and the relationship between the state and the individual for this dynamic and highly anticipated expedition into new territory.

7:00 PM

Everyone: Dinner at Kyokabutoya

Kyokabutoya began from the desire to serve quality cuisine in a bar-like atmosphere, to create a restaurant where chefs would want to eat, and to fill that restaurant with laughing voices and smiling faces!

Within the very traditional exterior of Kyokabutoya is an interior renovated to preserve the best attributes of Kyo-machiya townhouses while creating a relaxing atmosphere for guests – a perfect harmony of old and new. Wine is available by the glass so that guests can enjoy different pairings with Japanese dishes.

KYOTO – OSAKA – CHICAGO – Sunday, November 5, 2017

9:00 AM

Hotel Check Out

9:30 AM

ANA Group: Hotel Airport Shuttle to Airport

2:50 PM

ANA Group: Arrival in Chicago (it will still be Nov 5, we know … its magic)

CHICAGO – April 27, 2018

7:00 PM

Everyone: Darrell Jones and Kaori Seki’s Chicago Premieres at Links Hall!

Incase you forgot, you are traveling for a cause! This April we will be premiering new works by Chicago based Darrell Jones and Tokyo based Kaori Seki and you are all invited to Links Hall to see the shows you helped create!

9:00 PM

Everyone: Dinner at Fat Rice

Links to Japan Reunion dinner at Fat Rice which offers a creative, globally inspired Macanese menu as well as cocktails and wines in a boho-chic setting. It is the ultimate comfort food the experiences traveler!