Our Team

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YOUR FOODIE FRIENDS IN JAPAN

Our team is what makes our tours so special. One look at our TripAdvisor page and you will see that our guests just love our talented, well trained, tour guides and support staff. Read more about our local experts below. Live in Japan? Want to join us? You can see our available positions here. 


Management




Anne Kyle
CEO and FOUNDER

Anne is the CEO and Founder of Arigato Japan. She founded the company in 2016 with tours in Japan, realizing her calling to create amazing experiences for international visitors. She was a featured speaker at the New York Times Travel show and continues to share her love of tourism.


Matt Kyle
Co-founder

Matthew is the Co-Founder of Arigato Japan alongside his wife, Anne. He focuses on strategy and business development. In addition to his work at Arigato Japan, Matt is CCO at weConnect, helping global companies discover a better way to manage their finance and payroll functions.


Lauren Shannon
Partner/ General Manager

Lauren is our GM and a partner in the company. She has degrees in education and art and a background in multicultural businesses. She is a lover of food, wine, travel, design and LIFE! Lauren has worked in Tourism in Japan for the last 7 years. She is a long-time resident in Japan.



Michael
REGIONAL MANAGER

Michael is a huge fan of Tonkotsu ramen, and fell in love with Japanese food at a very young age. He also is a fan of Manga, Kobe Bryant and riding the bullet train. He is our Regional Manager of Western Japan who helps us grow our teams in Osaka, Kyoto and Hiroshima.


Jessica Iragne
Marketing Manager

Jessica was born in Paris but Loves Japan. She is our Marketing, PR and Sales Manager. Jessica was working for a gaming company for over 6 years before she quit everything to follow her dream and live in Tokyo. Jessica has a passion for Japanese culture, language, music and food.


Alexandro Renee
Training / HR Coordinator

Alex is our Training and HR coordinator. He shares his knowledge with our guides and also runs Spanish-language tours. Alex has many stories about this amazing country and is always happy to meet new friends from around the world! He is an Artist and a fan of Anime and Manga.


Customer Service & Administration




Jenkie
HEAD OF FINANCE

Jenkie was born and raised in the Philippines. She is a marketing graduate and former manager of Kirelis International for 10 years. She joined Arigato Japan in 2017. Jenkie is our Head of Finance and is working hard to manage our financial and budgeting operations.


Kristine
ADMIN MANAGER

Kristine is our Admin Manager. She is dedicated and committed to providing excellent service to clients and continues to be responsible for our goal in offering the best food and travel experience to visitors from around the world, by showing Japan’s unique culture.


Ecka
ASSISTANT ADMIN MANAGER

Ecka comes from the Philippines and has a degree in Software Engineering. Her love for Japan grew when she visited in 2018. As the Assistant Admin Manager, Ecka is excited to help visitors plan their next trip and see what made her fall in love with Japan in the first place!


Bertely
ADMINISTRATOR

Bertely currently lives in the Philippines and is a member of the Admin team. Her love for traveling led her to explore the best tourist places in her country, and now, Japan is on her international travel bucket list. She is very much eager to help visitors plan their most unforgettable travel experience in Japan.



Mel Rose
ADMINISTRATOR

Guides




Tokiko
GUIDE

Tokiko was born and raised in Osaka. She lived in Switzerland for more than 15 years and enjoyed mingling with the locals by giving Ikebana, Japanese traditional dance, and Kimono lessons. Tokiko is looking forward to helping you learn about the Japanese food that people eat daily.


Mariko
GUIDE

Mariko was born and raised in Kobe, and moved to San Francisco to study and worked there as a global sales-coordinator with an agricultural company. She became inspired by food because people there were highly conscious of its quality, and enjoyed many types of international food due to the diversity of the city.


Kumie
GUIDE

Kumie is from Osaka and has lived in Tokyo since 2014. She studied food science and nutrition, working as a food researcher. Living in both urban and rural areas all over Japan, Kumie has strong knowledge of regional specialities and local culture. She loves sharing that viewpoint.


Kimberly
GUIDE

Kimberly loves food and travel, filling her SNS feeds with food photos. She minored in Japanese Studies during her undergrad years and decided to move to Osaka for its wide variety of cuisine, and because she loves the city. She is excited to share her life and passion with guests.



Ramona Falivene
GUIDE

Ramona is Italian and LOVES food. She ran restaurants before moving to Japan with her husband. Her aim is to instill in our guests her passion for Japanese cuisine, and helping them to understand the many interesting aspects of life in Tokyo. Ramona also helps on our Training team!


Timothy
GUIDE

Timothy, from Austin, Texas has been living in Japan since 2000. He came to study design and language. He likes visiting lesser known parts of Tokyo, exploring the country, taking photos, of animals and Tokyo nightlife. He knows some of the most fun and traditional parts of the city.


Sarah
GUIDE

Sarah was born and raised in France. She started learning Japanese at age 15 and visited Japan for the first time at 18 to experience high school student life here, becoming hooked ever since. Sarah got to work and live in the Japanese countryside, in Tokyo, and is now living in the Kansai area. She hopes to make you love Japan and its quirks.


Josh
GUIDE

Josh came to Japan in 1983, living in Sapporo for a short time. He then moved here in 2005 and has since lived in Hokkaido, Ibaraki, Chiba and now Tokyo, traveling extensively around Japan. Josh is an expert on many parts of Japanese food culture and loves answering questions. His favorite food in Japan is from Hokkaido and called jingiskan.



James
GUIDE

James is from Australia, but has been living overseas for 15 years. He loves traveling and learning about new cultures, and has a background in photography and architecture. James fell in love with Japan as a teenager and his interest in Japan has since only deepened now that he lives in Tokyo. He believes Japanese cuisine is the best in the world.


Thomás
GUIDE

Thomás is a Brazilian who came to Japan to pursue his Master's and Ph.D. in computational neuroscience. But even while enjoying these abstract subjects, his passions extend to many areas. Go with Thomás and he will certainly love to share with you his love for Japan as well as his appreciation of all things, big to small.


Ryan
GUIDE

Ryan has lived and traveled to many parts of Asia and Africa. He now lives in and explores different areas of Tokyo and eats at various kinds of restaurants, such as Ramen, Yakiniku, Sushi, and Gyudon restaurants. He also enjoys hanging around Akihabara and looking at all the different DIY electronics and computer parts available in that area.


Kazuya
GUIDE

Kazuya is from Tokyo. He retired two years ago after working as a full-time employee at Japanese and multi-national companies for 36 years, and has become a guide to live a different life. He has lived in US and Luxembourg for several years. He is still very active at the age of 62.



Miyuki
GUIDE

Miyuki traces her lifelong fascination with travel, culture and world cuisine back to reading “People” by Peter Spier, and tasting food at her father’s Teppanyaki restaurant. She has lived in the U.S.A., Australia, Vietnam, Thailand, Mexico, Norway, Ireland and Malta for school and work, and loves to share her knowledge of Japanese “soul food.”


Tim Keir
GUIDE

Tim is a Canadian who has been living in Japan for almost 5 years. He loves to cook and also works as a chef in Japan, and can speak French, English, and Japanese. He enjoys Japanese food and culture and loves experimenting with cooking Japanese style dishes and uses their unique flavors to create new foods.


Jordan
GUIDE

Jordan considers himself lucky to have grown up in Vancouver, Canada, where he was introduced to cultures and foods from all over the world. This sparked his wanderlust, and he began taking international trips in 2013, starting with Japan. He returned almost every year before finally making a more permanent move in 2018.


Hiroo
GUIDE

Hiroo was born and raised in Osaka, and has also lived in the Philippines and Canada for two years. He has been to many Asian countries to find good food, always on the lookout for the best restaurants. Hiroo really loves eating, drinking, and playing soccer, and is looking forward to meeting everyone in Japan.



Haruka
GUIDE

Haruka was born and raised in Tokyo, and lived in Orlando, Florida throughout 2015, working at a Japan-themed store in Walt Disney World. After her return, she started organizing tours and events for foreigners in Tokyo and enjoyed the opportunity to work with talented Japanese chefs, craftsmen and performing artists.


Alexandro Renee
Training / HR Coordinator

Alex is our Training and HR coordinator. He shares his knowledge with our guides and also runs Spanish-language tours. Alex has many stories about this amazing country and is always happy to meet new friends from around the world! He is an Artist and a fan of Anime and Manga.


Sabreena
GUIDE

Sabreena is from Malaysia and has been living in Kyoto while attending college in Osaka, experiencing both Kyoto cuisine and Osaka street food. Aside from food, she loves meeting new people and connecting with them. Sabreena believes Japan is the perfect place to experience new things and would love to share her knowledge with you.


Lora
GUIDE

Lora is originally from New York, but has been living in Japan for a total of 7 years now. In addition to exploring Tokyo and trying out new restaurants and bars of all kinds, she also volunteers at a cat rescue network that is based here in Japan to help out animals in need.



Taena
GUIDE

Taena was born in Tokyo, but has spent most of her life in Australia before moving to Osaka. She believes food is about more than just flavors; it can tell a story about the history of a place, the culture and its people. Food has helped Taena reconnect with her heritage and she looks forward to sharing that with you.


Megumi
GUIDE

Megumi was born and raised in Hiroshima, but has been living in Osaka for long time. She loves eating, drinking, traveling, karaoke, and salsa dance. Of course she really loves living in Osaka, and hopes that everyone who visits the city will come to love it there, too. She is looking forward to meeting everyone and sharing many moments together.


Norma
GUIDE

Norma is a passionate etching and woodblock artist who came from Mexico to learn Ukiyo-e. As a foodie, Japan was the perfect place in the world to explore, because of its amazing variety of flavors and textures.


Yoshiko
GUIDE

Yoshiko is a mother of three, an English teacher, and loves travel, music, and food. She is proud of Japanese cuisine and loves to share her food knowledge with friends from all around the world. Feel free to ask her any questions you might have about Japanese food and traditions!



Reiko
GUIDE

Reiko was born and has lived in Hiroshima all of her life aside from 4 years at the University of Portsmouth in the U.K. Reiko knows a lot about food all over Japan, but her focus is Hiroshima. Reiko says “Hiroshima food is amazing with a rich selection of delicacies to try. I love helping guests navigate their way through the wonderful food here.”


Kay
GUIDE

Kay is a Korean who grew up in Osaka and Tokyo, and went to college in the U.S. She has visited 12 countries and always enjoys meeting new people around the globe, exploring new cultures and trying the local food. She’s very easy going and awaits the opportunity to share tasty food and a fun time with you.


Chie
GUIDE

Chie was born and grew up in Kobe and has lived in Osaka for 15 years. Traveling and food are her passions. After living abroad and realizing that she had taken it for granted, she gradually came to appreciate and love her own country, its culture and its food. She is keen on discovering more about Japan through her new friends from Arigato Japan.


Anna
GUIDE

Anna is originally from Slovakia, but her passion for travelling and adventure took her to different parts around the world. After living in Australia for five years where she worked and studied, she is now based in Osaka where she teaches English and shares her passion for great food and Japanese culture with our guests on Osaka Nightlife Tours.



Asami
GUIDE

Asami is a true food and drink lover having spent her entire professional career in the restaurant industry. She is originally from Japan but lived in the United States for nearly 10 years. Asami has worked in multiple high-end restaurants on the Las Vegas Strip, and has a passion for sharing her knowledge of food and beverage with those around her.


Gabi
GUIDE

Gabi has been living in Japan since 2017. As a Nikkei, she always wanted to live here to learn more about her heritage. She was able to combine that wish with her academic life, so now Gabi can be found both on the streets of Osaka and on Osaka University campus where she is taking a PhD course.


Ariadna
GUIDE

Ariadna is from Barcelona and her love for Japanese culture and language led her to travel around Japan several times before moving to Kyoto. Although she sometimes misses paella, it leaves her mind while she's enjoying Sukiyaki, Takoyaki, Okonomiyaki... and basically everything that contains the word 'yaki.'


Mario
GUIDE

Mario initially came to Japan to pursue his graduate studies after doing trade promotion for Japan in the DC area, and is now a certified beer sommelier in Japan. Curiosity and a passion for food and beer fuel his passion as a tour guide as he looks forward to re-discovering Japan through the eyes of visitors.



Hugh
GUIDE

Hugh has been a resident of Japan for 18 years. Born in Sydney into an old Australian show biz family, he opted in his late twenties to head off to Hiroshima, Japan. There, he studied the language and practiced Aikido and Japanese calligraphy for which he has received various awards, and cultivated a profound interest in Buddhist teachings.


Roberto
GUIDE

Roberto came to Japan from Mexico after becoming a professional chef in the UK with the sole purpose of learning Japanese cuisine. The city which feels most like home to him is Osaka where he lives now. Roberto is a professional chef and always happy to share his love and knowledge of Japanese cuisine.


Ayumi
GUIDE

Ayumi was born and raised in Tokyo. She used to work on a cruise ship for 7 years as an acupuncturist and had chance to see the world. Ayumi loves going to a local restaurant and trying new foods while traveling. Ask her the best ways of eating any famous ingredient!


Akari
GUIDE

Akari was originally from Nara and is now living in Osaka. She has also previously lived overseas in Australia and Canada. Akari loves eating out and finding great restaurants. She is a friendly person and is really looking forward to exploring Osaka with you and sharing her love of great Japanese food!



Cole
GUIDE

Cole is from London and is now currently based in Kyoto. He first lived in Japan in the 90s and spent much of that time in the city of Nagasaki where he developed a taste for the local noodle dishes as well as an affinity for the extreme Kyushu dialect of Japanese.


Yappy
GUIDE

Yappy moved to Tokyo from Osaka 20 years ago, and has worked in the entertainment industry since then. As a bartender and DJ, he has the chance to use both his Osaka dialect and his English. From 2015-2017, he had an Airbnb listing where he hosted more than 400 guests. This unforgettable experience made him want to continue sharing his love of Japan.


Russ
GUIDE

Russ is musician from Wales who first visited Japan in 2010 with his band after discovering a record he released in 1980 was selling for 7000yen. He has since undertaken 8 tours of Japan and regularly plays solo gigs in Dotonbori and Shinsekai. Russ has a Higher National Diploma in Fashion and Textiles and an MA in Garden History.


Darren
GUIDE

Darren was raised in Hammonton, New Jersey, the Blueberry Capital of the World. He was always around food since a very young age, and as a high school and university student, he worked as a cook at a 5-star Italian restaurant for about nine years. Darren has lived in Hiroshima for over five years and is now married to his Japanese wife.



Michie
GUIDE

Michie was born and raised in Tokyo, attended college in Iowa for 2 years, and also lived in Hong Kong while working as a flight attendant. Michie believes enjoying food is the best way to relax, and that sharing good food helps people build relationships and understand other cultures. She is looking forward to enjoying good food with you.


H
GUIDE

‘H’ was born and raised in Kyoto, and has worked at several companies engaging in overseas marketing & sales before his retirement. His job brought him to many countries around the world, and he has made many friends overseas and ate a lot of food in different countries. He would like to help you try the food Japan has to offer.


Kazuo
GUIDE

Kazuo was born and grew up in Kyoto, and is now living in Fushimi where he teaches English at a secondary school and takes care of a lot of exchange students from abroad. He has also lived in London before to study linguistics at the University of London. Kazuo now enjoys talking about Japanese food and culture.


Yuko
GUIDE

Yuko was born in Yokohama and raised in Tokyo. Until recently, she lived in Hawaii with her two children for 7 years. She brought the Aloha spirit back to Japan with her. Yuko is happy to share Japanese food and cultural facts so guests can bring wonderful memories back home.



Ike
GUIDE

Ike was born in Japan and moved to Boston in 1983 to go to music school. He also got into the restaurant business around that time. During his 35 years in Boston, Ike was a sushi chef, manager at a Japanese market and owned a restaurant. He is excited to share his knowledge about Japanese food with you.


Abiyan
GUIDE

Abiyan is from Indonesian but has been living in Japan for the past 6 years. When he has free time you are most likely to see him playing his guitar along the Kamogawa river. Abiyan speaks Bahasa Indonesia, English, Javanese and, Japanese. He enjoys Japanese culture and loves meeting new people. He is looking forward to get meeting people from all over the world and sharing his love of Japan with them!

Interns




Carlotta
SOCIAL MEDIA AND GRAPHIC DESIGN INTERN

Carlotta is from Rome, Italy, and as such she is proudly in love with food. She is very passionate about Japanese history and culture, passion that was nurtured during her travels to Japan. Trips that were always “too short”, as she feels Tokyo especially is a never-ending story. Most recently she lived in Tokyo for a year, but she moved to the UK to complete her master’s degree right afterwards. As an Intern in Culinary Editing, she is now excited to help people to discover the most niche and delicious food joints that Japan has to offer.


Jason
SOCIAL MEDIA AND CONTENT EDITING INTERN

Jason is our Social Media Intern from the US. He is currently pursuing an undergraduate International Studies degree from the University of Tennessee at Martin and aspires to be a tour guide after graduation! While pursuing this degree, he also is studying the Japanese language because he loves Japanese food and culture and wants to share that love with others and make friends cross-culturally!


Sarah
SOCIAL MEDIA & CONTENT INTERN

Sarah is from Trinidad and recently gained a BSc in Biology and Biochemistry. An anime lover from a young age, this led to her passion and love for Japan. In her free time, she enjoys cooking and creating new content for Instagram to share her Asian Nerd fever. Other hobbies include drawing, learning languages, watching Asian dramas, catching up on anime and manga. One of her main goals is to become fluent in Japanese one day in hopes to travel to Japan.


Shalini
SOCIAL MEDIA & CONTENT INTERN

Shalini is a phlebotomist/lab assistant and recent BSc Biochemistry and Biology graduate from Trinidad. She has an interest in Japanese culture and music (traditional and modern) stemming from childhood. Shalini is an avid reader as well as an animal and nature lover. In her spare time, Shalini can often be found drawing, watching anime, baking or on occasion exploring with her friends. Her dream is to one day visit Japan and she hopes to learn more about Japan as an intern.



Stephen
SOCIAL MEDIA & CONTENT INTERN

Stephen is from Toronto, Canada and he previously lived and worked in Nagoya, Japan as an English teacher. Stephen loves all things Japanese, especially the cuisine. An avid sports fan, Stephen very much enjoys watching baseball and basketball. In his spare time, Stephen enjoys hiking and spending time in nature. He has a passion for drawing and painting, and his work is heavily influenced by Japanese art.


Miles
Translation and Content creation

Miles is from Maryland in the US. Spurred by video games and music produced in Japan, he started studying Japanese at 11 and continued on to earn his bachelor’s in Linguistics. In his free time, he can be found reading, and, yes, still playing video games in Japanese. He is excited to share his love of Japan’s language and culture with others! 


Christina
SOCIAL MEDIA & CONTENT INTERN

Christina graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Hotel and Restaurant Management in the Philippines. Her fascination with Japan started during her university days when she studied the Japanese language. Christina is married to a Japanese national and together they raise 3 children and have been living in Tochigi Prefecture for 12 years. During her free time, she loves to try out countryside cafes and create her own food and travel content on Instagram and YouTube.


Francesca
WORDPRESS AND CONTENT INTERN

Francesca is a cheerful Italian who spent the last twelve years in beautiful England. She fell in love with the Japanese culture—and all that Japan has to offer—thanks to video games, and she is self-studying the language so she can fully enjoy—and soon understand—the J-rock music she loves and the J-dramas she is very fond of. As the newest addition to the Arigato Travel interns team, she’s eager to help, learn, and make the most of this experience so that she can fulfill her ultimate goal of moving to Japan.



Rachel
SOCIAL MEDIA AND CONTENT EDITING INTERN

Rachel was born and raised in Australia, and moved to Japan several years ago. She loves Japanese culture and food (especially anything matcha-flavoured). In her free time, she enjoys reading and watching Disney films. During her internship with Arigato Japan, she is excited to introduce the beauty and uniqueness of Japan to people around the world.


Whitney
Marketing and Content intern

Whitney currently lives in England; she studies International Business. She has had an interest in Japanese culture from watching anime from a young age to learning the language and culture in her spare time. With Arigato Travel she hopes to learn more about Japanese culture while exploring her passion for business and hopes to travel to Japan one day.


Layla
CONTENT AND EDITING INTERN

Layla recently moved to Japan from California in the hopes of exploring what daily life is like as a young adult in Tokyo. She is half Japanese and grew up coming here in the summertime with her family, but is looking forward to the new perspectives she’ll gain from living here full time. There is so much to explore in Japan and through this internship, she is excited to share with others what she learns and discovers along the way!


Luna
Wordpress, content creation and editing intern

Luna is a recent Comparative Literature graduate from London. She is half Japanese but grew up in the UK and is currently working to improve her kanji skills. In her spare time, Luna is usually glued to a film/tv show or exploring different restaurants in the city - searching for the most authentic Japanese food in London. She is excited to share her half Japanese perspective and hopes to use her time at Arigato Japan to explore new aspects of the culture.



Jack
Marketing & Business development intern

Jack is based in Gold Coast, Australia, where he studies international business and Japanese. He has held a strong interest in Japanese culture from a young age, solidified by his travels around Japan in recent years. His other passions include snowboarding, photography, and video games. Jack aspires to live and work in Japan and is excited to learn more about business and Japanese culture through his internship!


Chloe
Marketing, Business development research and content.

Chloe is from Queensland, Australia, where she currently studies Asian business and the Japanese language at university. She has a passion for learning about other cultures, which is what initially sparked her interest in Japan. In her free time, she enjoys reading and taking photos of nature. Through her internship with Arigato Japan, she looks forward to discovering more about Japan’s food and culture.