I, Yukari Ikebata, am founder of Sweet Memories Portrait Studio and am also the principal/founder of the only licensed bilingual (Japanese and English) nursery school in Toronto, Canada. Totally unrelated may a photo studio and a nursery school seem, they both grew from the exact same root, the same motivation and the same goal. Confused? Let me explain.

Back then I was a completely happy individual in Japan, no complaints with my life whatsoever. Then in 1990 I met my husband-to-be, a third generation Japanese Canadian, and decided to put an end to my fulfilled life to move on to a totally new world, a totally new life, not knowing what to expect at all.

I moved to Toronto, Canada, married him, became a mother, raised (and am raising) a child… Then as time went by I came to reflect on my Japanese identity.

My language, my culture, my customs…

Is there anywhere in Canada that one can ‘breathe’ Japan and Japanese culture?

It cannot be only us, there must be other parents wishing, dreaming the same dream…Ikebata Nursery School, a licensed Japanese and English bilingual nursery school, was one way to realize this dream of us parents.Ikebata Nursery School was created in 1993.

Seeing my own child grow as a Japanese in Canada, as a parent and as a Japanese living abroad, I always wanted to treasure and pass on the Japanese culture and its customs, and always tried to reflect these wishes at Ikebata Nursery School.And I think that this dream did come true; the children have, without being forced to, learned the Japanese language and the culture.Now my dream grew to a next step. To have the days at the Japanese Nursery School recorded not only in their memories, but in a form that they can look back from time to time.Kimono, a traditional Japanese costume…

Traditional Japanese festivals and various annual occasions celebrated in Japan… To celebrate the traditional events in kimono… I thought this would be an unforgettable treasure not only for the children, but also to parents and relatives, that the child celebrates the Japanese events the way any Japanese child would do, even in a foreign country.

Would it not be the greatest gift that the parents can give to the child?I consulted this idea to my best friend since my junior high school. She and her family operate a renowned rental costume company called “Kyokane” in Kyoto, Japan. She agreed and kindly offered to cooperate, in a goal to pass on the Japanese tradition even in a foreign country.

So here we are, at Sweet Memories Portrait Studio, import the most beautiful kimono directly from Kyokane in Kyoto, for use in the lovely portraits of the children and the families.

I would be most happy to see a page in the family album, of the children and the family proudly dressed in kimono, knowing they take part in passing on the tradition.

Yukari Ikebata
Director, Sweet Memories Portrait Studio


Ikebata Nursery School


We are a licensed Japanese and English bilingual nursery school in Toronto, Canada.
Our goal is to help the children experience and learn the Japanese and Canadian cultures, customs and languages in a natural way, and to assist them in growing up to be young cosmopolitans with international minds.

Our programmes are based on Japanese cultures and customs, and we also provide an English class for local children, as well as accepting Japanese children into the English class for children’s “study abroad”.

Located inside Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre.


Affiliated Companies


Headquartered in Kyoto, Kyokane is a rental costume company with a full line of costumes for all occasions. Kyokane originated as a kimono fabric dealer, hence its strength is in the Japanese clothing as well as the wedding dresses, boasting the top quality and variation in Japanese clothing in Kyoto,.
Currently Kyokane assists its clients in making cherished memories in the various occasions in life, such as producing the “A Memorable Wedding” Plan, which is a Japanese style wedding, other bridal plans and shichi-go-san (seven-five-three-year-old celebration) festival portrait plan, to name a few.
Kyokane also opened its doors to clients in Tokyo; it opened “JAPAN’, a shop specializing in Japanese clothing and original designed dresses, to promote and pass on the traditions and the cultures of Japan.

 A Memorable Wedding

“A Memorable Wedding” plan is a wedding plan in grand temples and shrines in Kyoto, Nara, Shiga, and Kamakura. Many are national treasure class temples, including world heritage buildings, and the entrance into the main sanctuary is otherwise strictly limited, realizing a one-of-a-kind unforgettable wedding.
This plan has become popular with international marriages as well, enabling the couple to experience the true and serene Japanese tradition.
“A Memorable Wedding” is a truly special wedding plan that only Kyokane can offer.