Rika was born and raised in Kochi, a quaint seaside town on the island of Shikoku, Japan. She spent her 20’s in Kyoto before moving to Australia where she started Kuroko Boutique Tours. She designs and leads bespoke ‘one of a kind’ small group tours to Japan with talented photographers, artists, curators, yoga instructors, and travel enthusiasts. Her dedication to authenticity transforms each tour into an incredibly deep exploration of the Japanese culture, tradition, landscape and people. Rika, a former professional interpreter, also holds a bachelor's degree of International Law from Ritsumeikan University.
When Alex first visited Japan in 2015, she fell in love with the beauty, cuisine, and culture that surrounded her. In 2017, she relocated to Kyoto for two years and immersed herself in the tranquillity of everyday life in Japan’s cultural capital. From temple tea houses to walking through the winding alleyways in the heart of the city, Alex loves travelling and experiencing new places. She holds a bachelor degree in Metallurgical Engineering from Bandung Institute of Technology.
Like many others, Claire first discovered Japan through the stories told by Studio Ghibli movies. In 2017, she took the leap and moved to Japan. After a brief time in the bright neon lights of Tokyo, she settled down in Japan’s foodie capital, Osaka. There, she enjoyed practising Japanese at the local Izakaya, sailing in Kobe Bay area during weekends, and learning to eat the infamous fermented soybean dish, “Natto”. Her favourite weekend getaway is the idyllic town of Kamakura where sunset views of Mt. Fuji are an everyday delight.
For self-guided travellers, we custom-make your private travel package based on your interests, requests and prefered travel style. Great for family and couples. Learn more about getting your custom itinerary.
We hand-craft highly customised themed trip such as Photography tours, Yoga retreats, Art tours, Company retreats, incentive tours and more. Request more information on business tours here.
Only twice a year, we lead Kuroko’s original small group guided tours to Japan. We design, arrange and operate to give you an unparalleled travel experience. Tours in 2020 on sale now.
We do this because we love Japan so much. We want to share this beautiful country and its incredible hospitable people with you. This all started when Rika’s Australian friends called in a favour to create an itinerary for their first trip to Japan.
So she created a custom travel plan for them, took care of all the bookings and communication with hotels and restaurants, and planned excursions to hidden local spots. Her friends came back awed by Japan and loved how easy their custom itinerary made their trip. Japan is notoriously complex to navigate — especially if you don’t speak Japanese — and they appreciated saving hours and hours of research time on the internet. Rika enjoyed the whole process so much, she decided to officially start Kuroko and immerse herself in crafting unparalleled boutique trips to Japan.
Rika at the Onsen Yoga Retreat, 2019
I consider myself to be extremely lucky to have joined this retreat and holiday. For once, I feel refreshed! The entire trip was well planned and executed by Rika, from the accommodation, food, and activities, and suited our diverse group.
- William Susanto
We do boutique and authentic travel. We work with small local businesses as much as possible and steer clear from anything that looks remotely mass-produced. If it’s not exclusive, rare, or off the beaten path, we won’t do it. We are travellers ourselves — constantly wondering, always exploring. When planning, we always ask, “If this was my tour, what would I want to do? Where would I want to go? What would I want to see?” Kuroko has a strict customer-first policy and your interests are at the forefront of our thoughts. We focus on your viewpoint and preferences to craft the most memorable travel experience. Even on our exclusive small group tours, requests are always accommodated where possible.
Kuroko Boutique Tours is an owner-operated business. We make our tours from scratch — there are no pre-packaged elements. The support of the local community is what makes our tours truly special. We carefully hand-pick all the facilities and local businesses we use on our tour and communicate with them directly in Japanese. There is no booking agency or middle man. We use ethical and local businesses wherever possible. The level of quality and service excellence is exceptional (if we might say so ourselves!).
Our guests often say it is the best holiday ever. In fact, our guests say a lot of great things about our tours, with the fresh regional food being a common theme. This sentiment carries over to our next tour, giving us the vitality and longevity to run a sustainable business. Our love for Japan is boundless — we hope yours will be too.
"A very special tour. Extremely well organised to perfection and lots of fun. I would gladly recommend Rika. Special moments." - Christina Buri
Translation: Black Clothes | Meaning: Stagehand
Kuroko work on the stages of traditional Japanese theatre called ‘Kabuki.’ Dressed all in black, with silent rubber tabi shoes, they look for no glory or applause. Silently crossing stages and changing backdrops, they live a life of humility.
Unseen and unheard, the skill of Kuroko was likened to that of stealthy ninja mercenaries.