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Did you know you spend almost as much time planning a holiday as you do enjoying it? It's hard work finding those hidden Shinto shrines and decoding which restaurant is a local favourite - all that time spent is almost like working an extra job on the side!
That's where we come in.
Kuroko's been there, and we can direct you off the beaten path to all the local gems. With us, the only thing you need to read is your itinerary. The only thing you need to plan is what to pack in your suitcase. We tailor make boutique tour packages to Japan that focus on the most important thing - you.
"Thank you so much for your help; I feel very relieved."
- Karen Anderson
You are amazing!!! I keep saying this but thank you so much for all the effort you have put in!
- Emma Lewis
Hello, I'm Rika - I was born and raised in Japan and now live in Australia. Having worked as a travel magazine editor and interpreter in Australia, starting this business was a natural transition stemming from my passion for travel. After immigrating, my fond memories of Japan grow stronger with each passing year.
I have travelled Japan extensively, yet it still fascinates me. It is traditional but modern, relaxing but exciting, affordable but with premium quality standards, and a food lover's heaven. Japan is where my heart is. I look forward to sharing my beloved home country with you.
“I want to show and share the essence of what makes Japan so unique, serene, modest.”
I want to help others connect to Japan the same way I do. Visitors often miss out on the real Japan, unable to break through the language barrier and discover the cultural intricacies. My mission is to share authentic Japan, and help others gain a deeper understanding of Japanese culture.
Want to chat with me? Head to the contact page to set up a telephone interview.
Our boutique tours are intimate and culture-packed. We venture into the hidden depths of Japan, visiting old, unknown Shinto shrines and eating at restaurants you won’t find listed on TripAdvisor.
We partake in local workshops and activities, giving you a chance to interact and learn traditional crafts passed down through generations. Local interactions let you in on those special ‘every day’ life scenes that an average tourist could never hope to see.
Every single day will leave you with an exciting tale to recount and a smile on your face.
We’re about holidays of sheer pleasure that will almost certainly leave you with a love of Japan.
Custom Photography Tour
2017 Guided Tour
The highest compliment I can give Rika is that by the end of the trip she was another of our group of good friends and intrepid travellers, exploring together and having a great time.
She is smart, knowledgeable, efficient, responsive, thinks on her feet extremely well, is willing to make adjustments based on opportunities that present themselves and never loses her equilibrium and good cheer.
I can without hesitation powerfully recommended her to any individual or group who wants to have an experience that goes deeper into what Japan is all about.
I have now done two of Rika's tours to Japan. Both have been a delight and I think a third will take me back to Kyoto to indulge in a longer stay. I enjoyed her very professional weaving of nature and culture and particularly the incredible choice of venues for such a wonderful variety of Japanese style cooking and meals. I really felt so well looked after. Any special request she willingly obliged. Which made the tours special just for me. A private tea ceremony, a fun experience of elegant entertaining geisha, and traditional wagashi sweet making class. I highly recommend Rika and her tours to everyone.
I just returned from a two week customized photography-centred tour of Japan with Rika and a small group of photography friends. Although not a photographer herself, Rika had a sixth sense as to where to bring us to capture iconic as well as unique images of the country and its people. She also ensured that we experienced the culture through stays at such places as a boathouse in a remote fishing village and in a World Heritage site monastery in Koyasan. She is a warm, funny and lovely person filled with enthusiasm for her work and a passion to make sure her clients are always satisfied. I recommend her highly.
Travelling with Rika in her native Japan was an opportunity for a cultural experience like no other.
Imagine having a friend who seamlessly moves between two languages and who is able to help you interpret the traditional and contemporary customs of the Japanese way of life. Rika brings a quiet, respectful and unassuming demeanour to her responsibility as a guide and helps the mystery of Japan unfold.
Our tour to Japan was the best and most stress-free holiday we've ever had.
It was exceptionally well-organised by Rika. We learnt so much of Japan. I have always been a bit wary of tours. In fact, this was my first. It was small and personal, very much boutique style, very much my style. Rika actively sought out our wishes and preferences before and during the tour and where possible, built them in. It was fabulous having Rika there to sort out the arrangements, to smooth the way, to translate on-the-spot and to be a delightful and engaging part of the group. It was so relaxing and a lot of fun. All I dream of now is our next Japanese adventure. Next destination? Kyoto, 2018, here we come.
I have joined Rika's guided tour. Her service was exceptional. It was the best trip ever and such a luxurious way to enjoy Japan. She took me right down to the core of Japanese culture. I felt like I was a part of their culture. It was magical. Also, she really knows where to go for good local food. I highly recommend her tour especially to people like me want to travel in own pace and don't enjoy seeing only touristy sights. Thank you, Rika for your wonderful tour and I am sure I will join you again.
Thank you for the excellent tour of Japan. This was one of the best holidays we have ever been on. This was not only due to the amazing weather, the unexpected surprises around every corner and how welcoming we found the people and food but to the effort, you made to make us all feel welcome. As a group, we all got on well and with time we became friends. There were plenty of highlights and these were often the unexpected things that happen when you are in a strange land. The Autumn colours and light were stunning. The food was far better than our expectations.
For 2 weeks, we were completely immersed in Japan, its people, culture and heritage. Without Rika, I am sure that our holiday would not have been so rich or complete.
Definitely 5 star service. Rika fine-tuned and honed a tour that offers a unique opportunity to experience Japan on so many levels. Culture, food, sightseeing and lots of fun being part of a special group of people. Well done Rika and Kuroko Boutique Tours.
2018 Guided Tour
Rika fine-tuned and honed a tour that offers a unique opportunity to experience Japan on so many levels. Culture, food, sightseeing and lots of fun being part of a special group of people. Well done Rika and Kuroko Boutique Tours.
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 lived a life of humility.
Unseen and unheard, the skill of Kuroko was likened to that of stealthy ninja mercenaries.
To this day, the traditional ninja costume is not based on historical fact, but rather the iconic black clothes of Kuroko.