About Us | Kuroko Boutique Tours

About

About Us

The story of Kuroko Boutique Tours

What We Do


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

Passion For Authentic ​Japanese Culture​​​


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 Japanese culture 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. 

Planned By a Local with Love


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.

Testimonials


Barbara Colbert

Custom Photography Tour

I was very impressed by the diversity of locations, accommodations and experiences we shared on this trip. The food was outstanding and Rika took us to unique and fun places for lunches and dinners.

Leading a photo tour for a group of very seasoned travel photographers requires a confident, knowledgeable leader who can manage and meet the unique expectations of each photographer. 

Bruce Janklow

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.

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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.

Ray Flanagan

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

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.

David Altschul

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.

Judy Packington

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.

Andrew Smith

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.

Judith Nash

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.

John Gourley

Culture, food,sightseeing and lots of fun

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.

Ann Alexander

Jodi Linto

Custom itinerary

Rika offers a tailored tours that considers the ‘you’ in every aspect of planning your adventure. Nothing was too much trouble. I would highly recommend Rika and her boutique tour agenda.

Ann Alexander

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.

How Our Boutique Tours Work


Guided Tour 

  • Travel groups are typically for 5–8 people, making the experience intimate and personalised. 
  • We are bilingual Japanese with experience living abroad. You point of view is understood and catered for.
  • There’s no need to learn Japanese as we provide your very own interpreter.
  • Tour extension service: We design your extension plan to best compliment your tour.
  • Unlike other boutique services, we are small and personal. We keep costs reasonable through our network of contacts and our small team.

Custom Iteneries

  • We only take a few customers at a time so each customer will get our maximum dedication and attention.
  • We listen and listen. We excel at creating a highly specialised tour.  Any requests or interests are welcome.  This is where our service gets exciting!
  • Not a single worry before, during and after a trip.  We are here to help and answer all the questions you might have.
  • We provide 24/7 helpline service while you are enjoying Japan. 

Pronunciation: Ku·ro·ko 

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. The kuroko play a vital part in defining 'Ninja' in Japanese culture.