Ikebana is the Japanese art of flower arranging, and means 'flowers kept alive'. This ancient art has been practised for more than 600 years, and stems from the Buddhist custom of offering flowers to the spirits of the dead. Unlike western styles of flower arranging, ikebana follows strict rules governing shape, line and form within which the floral artist can find personal expression. As the epicentre of traditional Japanese culture, Kyoto is a fantastic place to learn about this ancient craft and today you will join an hour long ikebana class at the headquarters of the Women's Association of Kyoto. The licensed ikebana teacher will provide all flowers and natural materials, and then talk you through the techniques needed for you to create your own arrangement. Traditionally, ikebana florists work in a meditative silence in order for them to connect with nature, but you will be forgiven for asking your teacher plenty of questions in order to get the most out of this hands-on experience.