Japan Guided Tours | Testimonials - Kuroko Boutique Tours



Experiences from past trips

We ask every traveller to share their stories, opinions, and experiences with us. Here's what they said about Kuroko Boutique Tours. 

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

We particularly enjoyed our time in Naoshima and other activities such as the green tea grinding class.

We used Kuroko Boutique Tours to plan an itinerary during our stay in Japan, and it definitely helped with maximising our time there. Great suggestions were given, and we particularly enjoyed our time in Naoshima and other activities such as the green tea grinding class and the Wagashi making class. Rika was also very responsive to any messages and emails and tailored our itinerary to suit our needs well. She was also very helpful in making any changes we wanted. We recommend Kuroko Boutique Tours if you want an insider's knowledge to Japan 👍🏼.

The NG family

Special moments.

A definitely specialised tour. Very well organised to perfection and lots of fun. I would gladly recommend Rika. Special moments.

Christina Buri

We were truly impressed by Rika’s ability to plan suitable activities for our family.

Rika and Kuroko Boutique Tours planned the most amazing holiday for us in Japan. We were truly impressed by Rika’s ability to plan suitable activities for our family, adjust the schedule to suit our needs and to execute the trip perfectly. All hotels, activities, restaurants and information were just right. Rika’s instructions of where to go to find each place and small instructions in Japanese to show taxi drivers or at train stations worked perfectly. We were in particular happy with our days hiking in the mountains and staying at the local Ryokans. Using Kuroko Boutique Tours made our holiday in Japan absolutely amazing. Thanks, Rika!

Camilla Bråfelt

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

Kawazu waterfalls, Mt. Agami - stunning natural beauty. FOOD - especially waffles!!!!

Once again another incredibly well thought out itinerary and well-organised trip.The choice of hotels was excellent and the balance of activities and yoga was perfect.Rika’s attention to detail is second to none and the passion, fun, and energy that she brings to the trip are infectious. It is always a pleasure working with her.She is always making sure that people’s expectations are met and very often surpassed.I can not recommend her highly enough.

Neil Urry

I learned so much about Japan while laughing my way through the tour.

A large part of the success of this trip was Rika. I learned so much about Japan while laughing my way through the tour. Rika, you directed us like a well-oiled machine in a very positive way. You may see me at your yoga retreat!

Judith Calson

The seven waterfalls walk - so pretty we went back for a second visit on our free day!

Rika organised and led us through a fantastic Japanese itinerary. It was just the right mix of city experiences, visiting temples & shrines, nature & hiking, free time, seeing historic Japan - and of course - yoga.The accommodation organised was excellent, and the food - wow, amazing! You won’t go hungry, and you’ll certainly expand your culinary experiences. We even learned how to cook some traditional Japanese cuisine as one of the group activities.Thanks Rika for an awesome trip!

Dave & Sarah Hull

Her organizational skills, attention to detail, knowledge of and passion for Japanese culture and her sense of humour made our tour a great success! 

I was very impressed by the diversity of locations, accommodations and experiences we shared on this trip. The food was outstanding throughout the trip and I liked that 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. Her organizational skills, attention to detail, knowledge of and passion for Japanese culture and her sense of humour made our tour a great success! Many thanks to Rika for creating a memorable experience for us.

Barbara Colbert

An itinerary that was so well suited for us was amazing!

Thank you so much, Kuroko for planning such a wonderful trip for us. The time you spent getting to know us and preparing an itinerary that was so well suited for us was amazing! Thanks for being so contactable during our entire trip. You made it so easy to make any changes we needed. You were so patient with us. My most memorable day was Kyoto. It was perfect and our tour guide was so friendly and knowledgeable. We enjoyed her company very much and was grateful to have someone who knew exactly what to do, and where to go. The lunch in Kyoto booked for us is one I will always remember as it is just a magical place. Kuroko's organisational skills are right up there. All our packages arrived at the hotel and were waiting for us when we got there. The allergy card you prepared for our son is a testament of how much care and effort you put into planning our trip. Thank you again for making our trip a memorable one. You're a gem!

The Ko Family

Your pride in your country shines through in everything you do.

Rika, our visit to your wonderful country could not have been the same without your thoughtful guidance. Your pride in your country shines through in everything you do. Japan is a beautiful country with interesting customs that we now appreciate because of your tutoring. The restaurants and food were fabulous and you made extraordinary efforts to ensure we ate like royalty. We would never have been able to enjoy these experiences without you! Thank you so much!

Laurie Snelling

Onsen every day and yoga with Neil were my favourites.

The itinerary was amazing with the right amount of exercise (which is so often missed out on) and there were options for all levels. I loved the yoga combination as it really added to the holiday.Thank you, Rika, for organising and also translating at those much needed times.Rika was so pleasant to travel with, and gave us all enough time to get to know the group but also have time for ourselves too

Rosanna Susanto

I especially admired how she created an itinerary that avoided the crowds.

Rika made my third trip to Japan a delight. She packed our tour with great locations, but we never felt rushed - even while she led us through busy Tokyo! I especially admired how she created an itinerary that avoided the crowds. There was never a question about Japanese culture that she couldn’t answer. Arigato for a wonderful trip. I will always remember your laughter as you accompanied our group.

Susan Mayne

Spending time with Rika on one of her Kuroko Boutique Tours was a joy and a delight.

Spending time with Rika on one of her Kuroko Boutique Tours was a joy and a delight. Rika was extremely well organized and she goes out of her way to make sure everyone’s individual needs are met. She is very accommodating and always has a smile on her face. Her English is impeccable. I would highly recommend her tours. Thank you, Rika!

Andrew Mielzyaski

She delivered exceptionally.

What a wonderful service I received. My husband and I opted for a customised itinerary. In the beginning, Rika asked many questions consolidating requirements. She delivered exceptionally. We were able to immerse ourselves in the Japanese culture from sightseeing ancient temples in the day to enjoy the social circuit at night. She fine-tuned our itinerary to such detail. Specifications included how long it would take to walk to a specific train station. She was easily accessible during our stay as well. I would definitely use this service again.

Marisa & Anthony

More than a holiday.

Our Shikoku tour, led by Rika was more than a holiday, it was a unique insight into the Japanese people, their culture and the warmth of their hospitality. Surrounded by magnificent scenery in changing Autumn colours, and the freshness of the air was to experience an enduring state of tranquility.

Maureen Gibbons

Rika’s hand-crafted tour thru Japan was an absolute delight for our merry band of photographers and the highlight of my travel in 2018. She spent an enormous time planning the trip with good interaction with our trip leader to understand what we were looking for culturally and photographically. I spied her notebook whilst on the bullet train and was a) impressed by the granular details she had drilled down to and b) glad it wasn’t me having to do all this. On the trip itself, she was fun, friendly, and personable. She became part of our group in a very good way and was an endless source of information about culture, mores, and history. Way better than Siri or Alexa! When snafus occurred with plans, as they invariably will do on a long trip, she was very good at being flexible and thinking on her feet. We hardly noticed. We saw elements of Japan that we would never have seen on our own. The ancient and the ultra-modern. The sacred and the profane. All in the setting of a mind-blowing Sakura. Food was excellent with a highlight (for me) being an enormous sushi table prepared by the owner of the home where we stayed in a tiny fishing village. Unreal. Can’t say enough about how good this trip was, thanks to Rika. Value is extremely good as well!

Andrew Mirhej

Considers the ‘you’ in every aspect of planning your adventure.

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

Jodi Linto

Great service! I love the 5-star hospitality! Thanks, we enjoyed the trip.

Hideki Hayashi

Rika was absolutely fabulous - I cannot fathom seeing Japan again without her company and guidance. Her love for Japan is at the heart of her experience - sharing with everyone all that she can of her country in just the short time we had. I will always treasure the memories of this trip, the wonderful group, including the amazing photographer Richard Martin (you should check out his work from this trip), and Rika's unbounded enthusiasm and expertise making this one of the best trips I've ever taken. 🙂

Stephen Starkman

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

Highly effective communicator.

Rika was the interpreter for an official delegation from the City of Rockingham, Western Australia to its sister city of Ako, Hyogo Prefecture. The delegation included many high profile meetings with dignitaries, site visits, interaction with the Ako community as well as participation in Ako’s famous Gishi Festival. Throughout the visit Rika was not only a highly effective communicator, conveying the importance of the visit, she was also an absolute pleasure to work with. Rika was seen as one of the team and I highly recommend her to anyone considering her services.

Cr Barry Sammels
Mayor – City of Rockingham

Rika sharing why things are done a certain way & Japanese style, so lovely & interesting.

I’ve never done a group tour before. As always, organised by other travel + itinerary. So was uncertain what it would be like. It far exceeded all I hoped for. The tour was a perfect pace & combination of cultural, spiritual and nature. I felt so looked after the entire trip as Rika had planned so well. Every need was taken care of. It really was a holiday to just enjoy the moment.Doing a little city & going to the rural to do yoga & meditation was the perfect combo. Thank you, Rika.

Louise Kelly

A most unique introduction to Japan. Thank you Rika I loved the choice of accommodations and the variety of wonderful experiences on the tour.

Sussan Van De Meeberg

I was lucky enough to be a guest/client in Rika’s beautiful home in Kyoto on “The Living Local” tour. Staying in the house really made the trip special. You could see the loving touches and features which made the home different to the usual accommodation available. Coming home each day was always a joy as the house is set up for relaxation and peace.Everything was made easy by Rika with regards to travelling around Kyoto. We tasted many different dishes, rode the buses, shopped, made Japanese sweets and visited the local cultural sights. Rika also taught us how to cook Japanese style. We enjoyed riding the bikes which are provided at the house which enabled us to go off to our painting and other general outings. The neighbourhood is easy to ride around, has a good hospital and many shops and restaurants close by. I will certainly be back. Thank you Rika it was so much fun.

Janine Ramsay

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

Saw places and things that we would not have found.

We have just returned from a marvellous holiday in Japan with Rika. The whole experience was absolutely wonderful. Rika's planning and guidance through the 14 day tour was first class right down to accommodating the special needs that most of our party of 5 required. We went to and saw places and things that we would not have found by ourselves. Rika's attention to detail together with her friendly nature makes touring with her very special. I can thoroughly recommend Kuroko Boutique Tours!

Rob Baker

She was warm, open and generous to all of us, and has a marvellous sense of humour.

Rika’s organizational skills and attention to detail is magnificent. All our travel by train, tram, bus, and taxi was smooth and well coordinated. She was always cheerful and attentive to everyone’s needs no matter how small. It made for a wonderful experience. I had one unfortunate incident where I forgot my camera battery and charger in Kyoto and realized after we arrived in Toyama. She instantly solved the problem and arranged for it to be delivered to our hotel by courier the next day. She was warm, open and generous to all of us, and has a marvellous sense of humour. I wholeheartedly recommend her tours.

Steve Barber

She listened to our needs and desires, thought about the best solutions, formulated plans and then executed them flawlessly.

Rika excelled in every aspect of planning and running our trip. She listened to our needs and desires, thought about the best solutions, formulated plans and then executed them flawlessly.During the trip itself, Rika was a joy to work with. 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.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.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.

Bruce Janklow​

Want to see Japan from a different perspective?

Wow, where to start… from the moment I landed to my last steps in Japan, Rika ensured that my time was safe and memorable. Want to see Japan from a different perspective? Rika has a wealth of knowledge about Japan’s culture, history and landscape. Exceptional service, welcoming smile, memories galore. Arigato Rika

Sal Guzzo

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

The very best guide that I’ve had on photo tours.

Rika is fantastic! She’s the very best guide that I’ve had on photo tours. She is well-organized, knowledgeable, fun to be with, energetic, adaptable, has a great sense of humour, and she finds the best restaurants! As a result, I really love Japan and the Japanese people, I hope I can return!

John Nygren

Forest walks and waterfalls of mountain stream for appreciating green foliage, cool air and clean water, and the companionship of fellow walkers.

Efficiently organised with a wide variety of activities, by friendly and ever helpful leaders. A thoroughly enjoyable experience and challenging participants to reassess their approach to wellness. Rika’s language skills, local knowledge and attention to details are well appreciated by all participants.

Gabor Bedo

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

Rika did an absolutely incredible job of finding out the interests of 7 people in our family group and incorporating this into our 15-day holiday in magnificent Japan. I don't think a week goes by when someone doesn't say "I miss Japan" or "Let's go back to Japan." Thank you, Rika, for the most memorable family holiday, directing us to wonderful restaurants, awesome history, and adventures. Nothing was too much trouble for Rika, what a brilliant service you offer. We'll be back, I just know it. 😁

Tricia J

Rika's involvement in planning our Japanese holiday made it the best family holiday ever.

Kuroko Boutique Tours went above and beyond what I would have expected. I very much appreciated the prompt communications when we were in Japan. Rika's involvement in planning our Japanese holiday made it the best family holiday ever. It is not an easy country to travel in but having booked and our custom made itinerary ensured we navigated the country easily. I would love to go back and do a tour with Kuroko Boutique Tours again.

The Hay Family

Like having a local let you in on all the best spots.

Kuroko is like having a local let you in on all the best spots- places you wouldn't know about otherwise. They took care of all the logistics (especially valuable in a smaller area where communication can be difficult) so the trip was stress-free from start to finish.Rika also went above and beyond while we were in Japan. She made sure we knew about an impending typhoon and was ready with alternate accommodation if we needed it. We had a wonderful trip. Thanks for everything, you did an outstanding job. We'll definitely recommend you to friends and family.

Robyn and Ben

Worth every cent.

Arigato Kuroko and thank you Rika! Your itinerary service was outstanding. We are a busy family of 5 and Rika took all the stress out of planning and booking our 3-week adventure in Japan. The level of detail and care, right down to train platforms and local restaurant recommendations was a blessing and worth every cent. Thanks again Rika, we can’t wait to do it all again some time.Karen, Rohan, Grace, Mathilda & Francesca.

Karen O'Sullivan

Hiking to Mt. Amagi and onsen experiences throughout the trip captured the essence of Japan.

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. She also took the time and attention to cater to all of our individual needs and went above and beyond ready in all aspects.I can definitely say that this will be the first of many trips with Kuroko Boutique Tours. Looking forward to the next one!

William Susanto

Our dealings with Kuroko Boutique Tours were thoroughly pleasant, efficient and highly cost-effective. We thereby saved an enormous amount of time and angst; all major logistical issues were expertly addressed and we were enabled to take full advantage of the world's best train system...rather than being defeated and/or stressed by its complexities. We were expertly advised, but never "pushed"; our questions were answered speedily, and we were even able to communicate when we were in Japan whilst Rika was in Australia, or vice-versa. Rika also provided pre-marked local maps, plus some strategic instructions in Japanese that neatly anticipated circumstances where language difficulties could otherwise have proved problematic. We intend to return and to engage Rika again.

Kathy Little & Doug Spencer

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

Previous Tour Photos

Head to our gallery for a preak at what's in store. All photos are taken by Kuroko or our customers while on our guided tours.