Calligraphy School | Ai Takaoka - Traditional Japanese calligraphy as an elegant and powerful

Nurturing art and sensitivity for everyone to express their spirit.Skillfully, freely, creating your own allure.


While fostering the right balance between technique and sensitivity, enjoy yourself while becoming skillful !

In calligraphy, one first learns technique. However, learning does not end with technique. One’s individuality must be expressed. The marvelous quality of being oneself must be brought out in everyone. At the calligraphy school « Shoraku Room », the greatest focus lies in finding the right balance between technique and sensitivity, between the right brain (creative, intuitive, subjective) and the left brain (logical, analytical, objective).

Inside the classroom we listen to music in a relaxed atmosphere. The practice proceeds with a meeting of oneself through calming the heart and adjusting the feelings of body and mind.

Even so, the foundation of calligraphy is faithfully following the models in the copybook. Although many people end up writing at the pace of their busy lives, here we maintain a slow pace. There is no need to be impatient. Writing slowly and carefully is the key.

But that’s not all. At times, it is important to freely express oneself without restraint. Set up a time to do calligraphy freely. Discard the rules and follow one’s thoughts as they are. Sometimes write without a brush using such things as chopsticks or a sharp pen. Regardless of the tool or means, can you figure out how to express oneself? This is the sensitivity we are cultivating.

Our ideal is :« If you pour yourself into it, you’ll become skillful ». While enjoying the balance between technique and sensitivity, even amid the turmoil of everyday life, calm your heart a few times a month, slowly and fully. Take up a brush, face a sheet of paper, let your mind and intentions unify, and take pleasure in practicing. This is the kind of space we are offering here.


« Students are my family »
calligraphy school according to Ai Takaoka

Classroom is home, while performing calligraphy is to be away. Because home exists, going away is possible. For me, my students are like a family.

The characters written by the students express their state of mind and circumstances. When I look at them « I wonder what happened to you today ? Is everything okay ? ». Because it’s rude and impolite, I do not ask such questions in a straightforward fashion, on the contrary, conversations often start naturally, almost unnoticed.

Although there are some who are reserved about expressing their thoughts, I want to be receptive to any kind of conversation In doing so, people gradually start feeling at ease.

I wish to share everyone’s enjoyment, take part in their joy, their frustration and suffering, and in this way hope to establish a deep relationship. Therefore, my students are like a family to me.

To the degree that students’ are full and happy, there is nothing more wonderful for me. Everyone possesses their own marvelous qualities. « You are fine as you are » is my strongest thought.

At the same time as being a family, we are also comrades and friends. This calligraphy classroom was formed so we can walk together and look in the same direction. I want to live in that kind of power and give my full support to the students so they can one by one become able to go on any stage they desire.



Kyoto School (regular adult course) student application information

Address Kyoto City Nakagyoku Nishinokyo Ikenouchi Cho 29
※If needed, we can send you a map.
Access JR Line : Nijô Station / 10 minutes on foot
Subway Tozai Line Nijô-jô Station : 10 minutes on foot from Exit no. 3
Hankyu Line : Ômiya Station / 10 minutes on foot
Mail contact here
Schedule Tuesday – Wednesday – Thursday – Friday – Saturday
Wednesday : 1.00 pm ~ 2.30 pm (2 times a month)
Wednesday : 8.00 pm ~ 9.30 pm (2 times a month)
Friday : 8.00 pm ~ 9.30 pm (2 times a month)
Saturday : 10.30 am ~ 12.00 pm (2 times a month)
Saturday : 8.00 am ~ 9.30 pm (2 times a month)
Club fee 6000 yen
Monthly fee 2 times (90 minutes each)
6300 yens (all expenses included)
Copybook 700yen/month

Kyoto School (children course) student application main informations

Address Kyoto City Nakagyoku Nishinokyo Ikenouchi Cho 29
※ If needed, we can send you a map.
Mail contact here
Schedule Wednesday(three times a month)
※ the schedule may be changed depending on the calendar.
Time 4:30pm ~5:30 pm
Admission fee 4000 yen
Monthly fee 4300 yen (all expenses included)
Copybook 700yen/month

Amanoashidate school
(regular course)
student application main points

Mail contact here
Schedule Friday,Saturday
2 times a month (90 minutes class)
Friday : 4.00 pm ~ 6.00 pm,8:00 pm ~ 9:30 pm
Saturday : 9.00 am ~ 10.30 pm
Admission fee 6000 yens
Monthly fee 6300 yens (all expenses included)
Copybook 700yen/month
Photo legend
Kyoto school students
– Exhibition at Be-Kyoto gallery

※This is not the regular practice space.

Calligraphy Workshop


Come experience genuine Japanese culture in the heart of Kyoto by doing calligraphy! Writing kanji freely,skillfully. Come express yourself with calligraphy!

In our course you will learn how to rite kanji (stroke order,meaning) and try out different styles of writing.

  • As a nice souvenir : you can write your favorite kanji on a fancy square paper(shikishi) or on a fan(uchiwa)!
  • All materials (paper, ink, brush etc…) are provided at no extra charge
  • Don’t worry about sitting on tatami mats as the studio has chairs and tables.
  • Please note: reservations can be made up to five days prior to the chosen date. You will receive a detailed map upon confirmation of your reservation.
  • For men or accompanied by women.
    (men must be accompanied by women)
  • Days Mon. Tue. Wed.
    Time periods 1.10:00〜11:00
    fee 60min. 5,000yen(Tax Incl.)
    Number of people a minimum of 2 people is required(max.6)

    clients’ comments

    Mumbai, India.

    As an artist I have always been fascinated by calligraphy as a unique form of art. I was fortunate enough to travel to Japan and get an opportunity to venture further into the world of calligraphy. This opportunity was presented to me by one of the most global promoters of calligraphy and herself an immensely talented calligrapher, Ai Takaoka. Having done shows all over the world from Paris to New York, Ai Takaoka Sensei was someone who still displayed a sense of passion and humility that I had never seen before. Her encouraging nature and passion for Calligraphy was infectious, motivating me and guiding me at every stage of the course. She taught me that calligraphy was much more than what meets the eye, and that it had a meditative and creative side to it as well. Ai Takaoka Sensei’s sessions brought about a deeper connection between mind, soul and brush which resulted in a therapeutic and fascinating journey.
    Working on this course has given me more insights into the world of calligraphy and an immense respect for Ai Takaoka as a Teacher and an artist.
    Thank you
    Domo arigato gosaimasu

    Kshipra Patel


    San Francisco the U.S.A

    I enjoyed studying shodō when I was a graduate student in Japan.
    Several years ago, I wanted to study shodō again when I stayed in Kyoto. I had the good fortune to meet Takaoka Sensei, and she agreed to teach me.
    Last Fall I returned to Kyoto for an extended stay. This time I could take daily instruction from Takaoka Sensei. Little by little my writing improved during my stay.
    What I like about shodō is the mental disciple. You must concentrate on each stroke’s shape, the balance within the Kanji, and not think about anything else.
    Writing balanced Kanji is hard, but very rewarding when you do it right.

    Thank you, Takaoka Sensei.

    Mark Borsuk



    Kyoto offers a multitude of culture bites for the casual visitor, but scratch the surface just a little and the foreigner wanting to study one of the arts in more depth can encounter a world of language barriers and restricted options.
    That’s where Ai Takaoka is different. Not only is she a skilled calligrapher and performance artist; she actively reaches out to a wider world, travelling extensively to promote her art and welcoming the chance to teach sho-do to those who come to Kyoto from overseas.
    We studied with Ai sensei over a number of visits to Japan, and despite being somewhat slow learners from an older generation found her motivated and enthusiastic to impart her knowledge, challenging herself to communicate her thoughts and advice to us in English when many would have found the task too daunting.
    Ai is also deeply interested in the philosophy behind sho, and we had several very rewarding conversations and exchanges of opinion, especially as she is so open-minded and keen to learn how people from outside her own culture perceive and approach the art of calligraphy.
    We’re very grateful for the opportunity she gave us and plan to continue our studies with her in the future.

    Jon & Julinda


  • Since junior high school, I’ve had frustrations with school club activities. When I asked myself « Which one do you most want to do? » calligraphy would float up in my mind. I already had some experience doing calligraphy with various teachers, and when I looked for a calligraphy school I found this one.
    This school is the best for all the fun it provides, and for the topics raised, like « doing calligraphy freely ». When I create calligraphy that goes beyond anything I have done before, it is like opening a new world within me as I express my thoughts just as they are. Since coming to this school, my kanji characters have gotten stronger and the quality of my line has improved. For me, Ai Takaoka’s school is a place where can express myself and it also provides an atmosphère where I can learn courtesy and manners.
    (M.W, teenager (F))
  • Until now, I was a person who was not able to continue things I had started, and I would always leave things incomplete. But this was before I met Ai Takaoka and came in contact with the other students. Before I knew it, thanks to calligraphy, I was cured. I think that the good atmosphère of the school and the people there provide a place where I can truly be myself. Ai Takaoka is both my calligraphy teacher and my therapist !
    (A.F, twenties (F))
  • The classroom provides a very good mental space. During practice, the teacher provides a perceptive point of view you can trust, so one feels like working very hard. Professor Ai Takaoka’s performances give me a feeling of strengh within flexibility that draws me into its world view that it leaves me shivering. Calligraphy is not only studying technique but thanks to calligraphy I have come to know about various other things. By experiencing the depth of the world of calligraphy, I am now fully enjoying its atmosphère.
    (M.T, thirties (F))
  • The classroom provides a very good mental space. Maybe because of the relaxing music and the gentle smell of incense, by the end of the classroom lesson all the tiredness from my job has gone away..
    Although the class is only an hour of intense observation and concentration, in the two and a half years since I began, the quality of my calligraphy has greatly improved thanks to Ai’s guidance.
    (H.S, thirties (M))
Kyoto School


Kyoto School
(teacher’s graduation special course)
student application main informations

Address Kyoto City Nakagyoku Nishinokyo Ikenouchi Cho 29
※ If required, we can send you a map.
Access JR Line : Nijô Station / 5 minutes on foot
Subway Tozai Line : Nijô-jô Station (Exit number 3) / 5 minutes on foot
Hankyu Line : Ômiya Station / 10 minutes on foot
Tuesday : 8.00pm ~ 9.30 pm (2 times a month)
Thursday : 8.00pm ~ 9.30 pm (2 times a month)
Saturday : 2.00 pm ~ 3.30 pm (2 times a month)

※ the schedule may be changed depending on the calendar.

Club fee 8000 yens
Monthly fee 8300 yens (all expenses included)
Copybook 700yen/month
Mail contact here

Kyoto School (teacher only special private class (man to man))

Club fee 15000 yens
Monthly fee 15300 yens
Copybook 700yen/month
contact contact here

Regarding Payment of Monthly Dues

Monthly dues and copybook fees are to be paid by automatic debit payments through Japan Post Bank. Arrangements for automatic debit payments are made on the day of your first practice session, so please prepare your Japan Post Bank bankbook and seal. If you do not have an account with Japan Post Bank, please open one before your first practice session.

Japan residents, including those attending online practice sessions, should pay monthly dues by automatic debit payments through Japan Post Bank.

To contact Ai Takaoka with inquiries