Anne is the CEO and Founder of Arigato Japan. She was born and raised in the Philippines. Anne majored in Airline Business Administration and Tourism. She has traveled to 44 countries between 2006 and 2016. After living in Japan for almost 20 years, Anne founded Arigato Japan in 2016 with tours in Tokyo, realizing her true calling to create amazing experiences for visitors from around the world. Anne was a featured speaker at the New York Times Travel show and continues to share her knowledge of tourism and what it takes to run your own company. Arigato expanded to offer tours in Kyoto, Osaka, Hiroshima and at the base of Mt. Fuji, and Anne's dream is to offer amazing food tours across Japan.
Matthew is the Co-Founder of Arigato Japan alongside his wife Elizabeth Anne Kyle. He focuses on overall strategy, business development and compliance for the company. Matthew started his career as a professional basketball player with teams in Europe, Africa, the NBA and Japan. He switched from sports to professional services first with Ernst & Young in Tokyo, then with Tricor Japan going from Account Manager to Head of Sales, Marketing and Business Development over the course of 6 years taking them from 98 clients to over 560 when he left in the spring of 2018. In addition to supporting Arigato Japan's strategic growth, Matt is Chief Commercial Officer at weConnect helping multi-national companies realize there is a better way to manage their finance and payroll functions across the world.
Ramona loves travelling, singing and creating new recipes by mixing Italian and Japanese food. She studied Japanese and Japanese Literature at The University Institute of Oriental Studies in Naples, Italy. Her passions are, and always have been, Japanese culture and food. Ramona ran a couple of restaurants in Italy before moving to Japan where, she lives with her husband. Her aim is to transfer to our guests the love for the Japanese cuisine, while helping them enjoy the sightseeing, discovering and understanding of many interesting aspects of life in Tokyo.
Satoshi has a strong passion to share Japanese food culture and the history of Japan. He was born in Tokyo. He is also bilingual so there is no problem for him to communicate in English or Japanese. Satoshi loves gaming, manga, taking photos and he loves animals (especially dogs). One of his unique hobbies is that he is also a broadcaster and has plenty of followers! Satoshi actually knows the best fun, dating and hot spots in Tokyo.
Ryan has lived and traveled to many parts of Asia and Africa. He likes baking bread, tinkering with and building computers, and using 3D software. He loves to explore different areas of Tokyo and eat at different kinds of restaurants such as Ramen, Yakiniku, Sushi, and Gyudon restaurants. He enjoys going to parks and cafes around Tokyo, such as owl and cat cafes! He also enjoys hanging around Akihabara and looking at all the different DIY electronics and computer parts available in that area.
While Taena was born in Tokyo, she has spent most of her life in Australia. In 2016, she moved back to Japan and has fallen in love with her new home of Osaka. Taena believes that food isn't just about the flavors, food can tell a story about the history of a place, the culture and its people. And what better place to discover these than in Osaka, the 'Kitchen of Japan'!?
Food has helped Taena reconnect with her heritage in a new way and she looks forward to sharing that with you!
Alexandro came from México in 2007. He immediately fell in love with Japan’s culture and food. Because of that, ten years later came back and stayed, choosing Nakano area in Tokyo to live. Alex is a Spanish teacher, a model, performer, writer, painter & artist. He loves books, movies, singing & dancing Latin rhythms, traveling, food & drinks, retro video games, languages and sharing Japan as much as possible with new people. Alexandro is always very happy to share many Japanese curiosities and anecdotes with you!
Haruka was born and raised in Tokyo. She loves strolling around her home city from iconic sites to hidden back alleys to find good restaurants, unique shops, and pieces of history and culture. Haruka lived in Orlando Florida for the year of 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. She now lives with her husband from Hawaii who is also a foodie, discovering new favorite dishes every day.
Maki is a Tokyoite with an international background - lived in Rio de Janeiro as a child for four years, worked in New York for a couple of years, and traveled to 30 countries around the world as a global marketing executive. After semi-retirement, gained the national interpreter-guide license and now enjoys introducing overseas guests to Tokyo and other parts of Japan. She indeed has a wide range of interests – arts &crafts, architectures & gardens, history & culture, nature, hiking, travelling, etc. Among all, her biggest passion is cooking and eating good food.
Lora is originally from New York but has been living in Japan for a total of 7 years now. When she isn’t exploring Tokyo or 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 the animals in need! Her and her husband have since adopted two adorable kitties themselves. She also enjoys a good night of karaoke, either singing in English or Japanese, and fun with friends. She looks forward to helping you explore the wonderful city of Tokyo and the food it has to offer!
Norma is a passionate etching and woodblock artist, who came from Mexico to learn Ukiyo-e (one of the most delicate and oldest woodblock printing traditions in the world). She is a big geek, who loves anime, manga and learning Japanese.
As a foodie, Japan was the perfect place in the world to explore, because of its amazing variety of flavors and textures. Her grandmother used to say to her: “The heart of the taste in food, comes from the emotions the cook puts into it”, so she has a special love for homemade dishes, but as a Mexican street food is a must. Her top 3 dishes are: tsukemen (a kind of ramen), nabemono (hot pot dishes) and sashimi.
Kay is a big foodie and a traveler! She is a Korean who grew up in Osaka and Tokyo. Kay went to college in the US., loves eating, cooking, baking bread (cakes, not so much), camping, hanging out with her Shiba Inu, and scuba diving. Kay makes her own fermented foods such as miso, plum wine and nuka pickles She’s visited 12 countries, and she 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!!
ARIGATO JAPAN GUIDE OF THE MONTH MAY 2019-- Hiroe has lived in Kyoto over 15 years. She is an architect and got her second master’s degree in New Haven, CT. Her interest went further beyond architectural practice, and she has recently finished her Ph.D thesis on sustainable living design. She believes eating, dressing, and traveling are the most important activities for sustainable human life. For the pursuit of her belief, food and travel means more to her career. As she loves cooking by herself and sharing happy moments, she has been excited about more discovery in food and travel as a guide.Guide of the Month May 2019: Hiroe from Kyoto
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. For her, Japan has been wonderful and living in Osaka is amazing, she recommends everyone should experience Japan and it's culture specially through food, which she has learned to be a powerful way to get closer to locals.
Yappy moved to Tokyo from Osaka 20 years ago. Since then, he has worked in the entertainment industry. Working as a bartender and DJ he has the chance to use his Osaka dialect, and of course English too. From 2015-2017 he had an Airbnb listing where he hosted more than 400 guests. This unforgettable experiences made him want to continue to share his love of Japan. Now that he has joined Arigato Japan Food Tours he hopes to help 400 more people explore Japan.
Hugh has been a resident for 18 years over a more thirty-year relationship with Japan. Born in Sydney into an old Australian show biz family, Hugh opted in his late twenties to head off to Hiroshima, Japan where he immersed himself in the society and social fabric. Hugh enjoyed studying the language and traditional culture, notably the martial art Aikido, Japanese calligraphy for which he has received various awards in both disciplines and cultivated a profound interest in and Buddhist teachings. He loves food and loves to introduce culinary culture as well as broader Japanese history, traditions and social phenomenon.
Michie was born and raised in Tokyo. She attended college in Iowa for 2 years. She also lived in Hong Kong while working for an airline as a flight attendant. Her hobbies are tennis, skiing, and of course eating and cooking. Michie believes enjoying food is the best way to relax. She believes sharing good food helps people build relationships and understand other cultures. She is looking forward to enjoying good food with you.
Yutaka Clarke Kawakami is a Japanese American who moved to Japan from America five years ago. Born in Zushi City near Kamakura he was raised in the state of New Jersey for most of his life. Yutaka want to be a bridge between Japan, the U.S. and all English speaking countries. He is determined to become a true global citizen and travel to around the world at least ten times. Yutaka is extremely eager to both share Japan’s culture and learn about other people's countries and cultures.
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!
Originally hailing from the US, Mandy arrived in Japan in 2008 and has spent eight of the last ten years crisscrossing the archipelago, spending time in Kyushu, Okinawa and Tokyo. Now that she has settled down in Tokyo, she enjoys sharing her favorite parts of the city with visitors. Mandy's a huge fan of Japan's traditional sweets (wagashi), unagi (freshwater eel) and anything yuzu flavored. She's happily worn out multiple pairs of shoes exploring Tokyo's fascinating neighborhoods on foot.
Yuko was born in Yokohama and raised in Tokyo. Until recently, she lived in Hawaii with her two children for 7 years. When she came back to Japan she brought the Aloha spirit with her. Yuko is happy to share delicious Japanese foods and interesting part of the culture so that guests can bring back wonderful memories.
Josep is an adventurer, travel and fashion photographer based in Tokyo. He first landed in Japan in 2009 and decided to come back a few years later. Every year he likes to travel to new regions of Japan, searching for the greatest adventures including climbing Mt. Fuji. As any adventurer, he dedicates time to discover and try new flavors, interacting with the locals and finding the best spots and local foods. Josep's is favorites are fatty tuna sushi, tonkotsu ramen, and Noto beef sirloin steak.
‘H’ was born and raised in Kyoto. He worked at several companies engaging in overseas marketing & sales before his retirement. His job brought him to many countries around the world, although Latin American is still on his list of places to visit. ‘H’ 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. ‘H’ is crazy about fishing and his motto is “Catch and Eat.” ‘H’ is more than happy to introduce good Japanese food overseas’ visitors.
Ida is originally from Gothenburg in Sweden, but has lived in Japan for almost five years. In her free time she loves to try new food, hang out by Kamo river and explore Kyoto by bicycle. She always encourages her friends and family to come and visit Kyoto due to its long history and the area's unique culture. Ida is excited to share Kyoto cuisine with you!
Louie first came to Japan as a tourist in 2011, during which time he rode a bicycle from Sapporo to Kyoto. Traveling so slowly proved an effective way to fall in love with the country, while also learning a lot about various regional foods! Louie has a masters degree in visual anthropology and also teaches media art alongside his tour guiding work. He loves to spend his free time wandering new areas of the city and hiking in the mountains surrounding Tokyo.
Mariko was born and raised in Kobe, Japan but moved to San Francisco to study, and worked there as a global sales-coordinator with an agricultural company. During her time in San Francisco, she was inspired by food because people there were highly conscious of its quality. She also enjoyed many types of international food due to the diversity of the city. After coming back to Japan, she realized a beauty of Japanese culture and traditional food because of its subtle taste and presentation. She has many friends from over the world, and enjoys discussions about food and culture with them. Mariko is looking forward to showing you Japan's unique food.
Kimberly simply loves food and travel. Her Facebook and Instragram feeds are filled with pictures of food. During her undergraduate years she also got a Minor degree in Japanese Studies which helped to spark her love for Japan and she decided to move to Japan. She lived in other areas of Japan but decided to stay in Osaka because it has a wide variety of impressive cuisine and she just simply loves the city. In her spare time Kimberly loves cooking, trying new delicacies and she also likes growing her own herbs and vegetables. She is excited to share her life and passion with her guests.
Timothy has enjoyed Japan life since 2000, when he came to study design and Japanese. From Austin, Texas, he enjoys visiting the off-the-beaten-path parts of Tokyo. Timothy loves enjoying the Japanese countryside, taking photos, animals (especially dogs), and Tokyo nightlife. One of his unique hobbies is that he’s an avid surfer and organizes a surfing meetup group. He knows some of the most fun and traditional parts of Tokyo.
James is originally from Australia but has been living overseas for the last 15 years. He loves traveling and learning about new cultures. He has a background in photography and architecture. James fell in love with Japan as a teenager through anime and Japanese cuisine. His interests in Japan have since only deepened and he now lives in Tokyo, his favorite city in the world! James loves any excuse to visit the next izakaya, or try the next local delicacy. He believes Japanese cuisine is the best in the world and his favorite food is Soba noodles.
Thomás is a Brazilian who came to Japan to pursue his Master's and Ph.D. in computational neuroscience, a field that connects some of his interests: neuroscience, physics, mathematics, and informatics. But don't let it fool you. Even while enjoying these abstract subjects, his passions extend to many areas such as music, food, culture, history, politics, and most of all, making friends and sharing experiences with others. 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.
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!
Sabreena is from Malaysia and has been living in Kyoto for 2 years now. She goes to college in Osaka so she has experience with both Kyoto's food cuisine and Osaka's street food. She's adventurous when it comes to trying new food, exploring new places and cafes around Kansai area. 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!
Ada is a traveler and Japanese food lover. Originally from Spain, she first moved to Japan in 2013 to finish her studies and specialized in Japanese culture. She has worked at a Michelin 1-star ryokan for over 2 years and is passionate about ``omotenashi,`` the culture of Japanese hospitality that goes beyond good customer service. Always seeking new adventures, beautiful scenarios, and new flavors, Ada is delighted to show guests the hidden gems of Kyoto first-hand, and offer them excellent service while enjoying the time together!
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 in total, 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. This picture was taken when he traveled 75km from Shimanami Kaido by bicycle in October 2019. He is married with a daughter, a son, two grand daughters and a pet dog. He likes travel, food and classic 70's rock music, especially Pink Floyd.
Jenna is from Montreal, Canada and has lived in Japan for over 3 years. She first worked as an English teacher in Fukushima where she developed a passion for traditional Japan, from the locally sourced school lunches, to the harvest festivals, and even learned how to play the koto (Japanese harp). Once her contract finished, she moved to Tokyo to study Japanese and has been exploring the city ever since. She speaks English, French, and Japanese, and for her, the best part of living in Tokyo is that you are always meeting new people and hearing their stories. An art history major and self-professed foodie, she loves sharing her knowledge of Japan and personal experiences, from the bustling city streets to the picturesque countryside.
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. In her free time, she loves to watch documentaries on Netflix, write travel stories, spend time in nature, read, learn and eat new and interesting dishes. It was actually a Netflix documentary called Wild Japan that triggered her decision to move here and she has been loving it ever since.
Roberto came to Japan from Mexico after becoming a professional chef in the UK with the sole purpose of learning Japanese cuisine. After living in Osaka for a while, he moved to Tokyo for job-related reasons. And finally, after 4 years of living in Tokyo, he came back to Osaka, a city that feels like home. Roberto is a professional chef and always happy to share his love and knowledge of Japanese cuisine. He thinks Japanese cuisine is without question one of the most beautiful and tastiest food in the whole world.
Yuki hails from the Great White North. Japan has always called to her with its culture, people, and food. Some of her favorite foods include yakisoba, ikuradon, and taiyaki. An avid fan of Japanese pop culture, she knows the best places for anime, video games, and manga. She spends her free time traveling Japan, visiting maid cafes, and going to Tokyo Disneyland. After several visits and being the Japan Expert at a tour company, she is living her dream and living in Japan. Her mission in life is to help others fall in love with Japan through the many flavors that this country offers.
Shiori was raised in Tennessee, USA and Barcelona, Spain, then came back to Japan when she was 17 years old. Since then, she’s been living in Japan and continues traveling around the world. She loves traveling and has been to 19 countries in her life. “There are so many beautiful places in Earth” she says, and her home country of Japan has been like a fantasy island to her since she was a kid. From the experiences of living outside of Japan and traveling the world, she has a strong understanding of both Japanese and foreign cultures. Now she is based in Tokyo as a tour guide for Arigato Japan, sharing the love and passion of travel and Japanese culture.
Lauren is our General Manager and a partner in the company. Lauren has degrees in education and art and a background in multicultural businesses she is a lover of food, wine, travel, creative design. and LIFE! Lauren has worked in Tourism in Japan for the last 6 years. She is a long time resident here but is still discovering new things every day. With experience in the restaurant and wine business plus travel writing in Japan, Lauren hopes to share her passion for Japanese food with visitors from around the globe through Arigato Japan Food Tours.
Asha, our Training and HR Coordinator, has been in love with Japan since the first time she visited in 2012. She loved it so much she visited 5 times before finally deciding to move to Tokyo. While she was away from Tokyo, she learned more about Japanese food and the culture by working in an izakaya (Japanese pub) in Toronto. After moving here she knew working with a food tour company would be a good way to combine her passion for Japanese food with what she learned while working at an izakaya. Aside from food she loves meeting new people and traveling.
Josh first came to Japan in 1983, and lived in Sapporo for a short time. He has currently been living in Japan since 2005 and enjoys cooking, photography and travel, especially visiting Japanese onsen. Josh has lived in Hokkaido, Ibaraki, Chiba and now Tokyo, and has travelled extensively around Japan. Being a techie, he loves to integrate the use of technology when travelling, using his mobile phone to board trains, planes and buses. He also loves Japanese festivals and meeting new people. His favorite food in Japan is from Hokkaido and called jingiskan. Josh is an expert on many parts of Japanese food culture, and he loves answering questions! Ask away!
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. Tim speaks French, English, and Japanese. He enjoys Japanese food and culture and loves experimenting with cooking Japanese style dishes and uses their unique flavours to create new foods. He is also a very friendly guy who likes to interact with people.
Yoshiko is a lovely, happy individual who enjoys travelling, music, and food. She is a mother of three, an English teacher, and loves to cook. Yoshiko 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!
Enrie Aguila, who is originally from the Philippines, has been living in Tokyo, Japan for two years now. He migrated in 2015 and it did not take long for him to fall in love with this country. He finds Japan’s perfect balance between culture and modernity as something truly compelling. As a Communication graduate of De La Salle University-Lipa, Enrie finds joy in exploring new places and learning more about people and culture. Currently, he is the Administrative Assistant of Arigato Japan Food Tour Co. and sees his job as an everyday learning process and a window to other countless opportunities.
Chie was born and grew up in Kobe and has lived in Osaka for 15 years. Traveling and food are her passion. She is very picky especially about bread and sweets (she has a sweet tooth!) After living abroad and realizing that she had taken it for granted, she gradually has come to appreciate and like her own country including its culture and food. She is keen on discovering more about Japan her new friends from Arigato Japan.
In Kyoto since 2007 with his family, Bernard grew up in the Washington DC area but spent most of his life in Hawaii. He visited Japan some 30 years ago and instantly fell in love with her people, rich heritage and of course food and sake. Being a photographer, Japan offers bountiful opportunities to capture and to discover something new all the time. Considering himself an explorer allows him to keep a fresh perspective. And Bernard loves to find those little-hidden gems off the beaten path. He says, ``Let’s discover and explore Japan!``
Jenkie was born and raised in the Philippines. She is a Marketing graduate from PATTS College of Aeronautics, formerly Manager of Kirelis International for 10yrs, selling Health & Beauty Products and she joined Arigato Japan in 2017. Jenkie's hobby is watching toy reviews on youtube with her son and listening to music! Jenkie is a part of our admin team for Arigato and works hard to make sure our guests and guides have all the support they need.
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 famed Las Vegas Strip. Her true passion in life is sharing her knowledge of both food and beverage with those around her . She has a special interest in sake through countless years of studying, which allows her to pair sake and food together much like a wine sommelier would pair food and wine together thus creating a memorable experience like no other.
Mario is a certified beer sommelier in Japan (a rare feat and a great honor) and he is an undeclared foodie, Mario initially came to Japan to pursue his graduate studies after doing trade promotion for Japan in the DC area. Now fluent in Japanese, curiosity and a passion for food and (craft) beer fuel his passion as a tour guide. He is looking forward to re-discovering Japan through the eyes of visitors, while sharing his unique perspective on the local food scene and culture.
Jessica is Arigato Japan's Marketing, PR and Sales Manager. She was born in Paris and instantly fell in love when she visited Japan for the first time. For years, she’s been driven by a strong passion for the Japanese culture, language and food. Addicted to social media, she can’t eat without taking a picture and she’s currently on a quest to find the best tsukemen (noodles) in Tokyo. She is also a gaming enthusiast and was working as a Marketing Manager in a gaming company for more than 6 years. She quit almost everything last year to follow her dreams and come to live in Tokyo. In her spare time she likes to walk randomly to discover new restaurants and places.
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. She is a foodie and a beer lover. She is always to looking for different restaurants. Ayumi loves going to a local restaurant and trying new foods while traveling. Her favorite food in world is sea urchin (uni). There are lots of different ways to enjoy sea urchin. Ask her the best ways of eating this famous ingredient! Ayumi is a very kind and happy person and is excited to meet new people and share great Japanese food experiences with you
Joshua from our back office, customer service team, is a lover of food, music and travel. He lives in the Philippines, holding a degree in Information Technology. He had a long experience working in the BPO industry which ignited his passion in customer service. His hobby is watching movies and playing computer and mobile games. He is a dedicated guy working hard making sure every guest is happy and well-served.
Akari was originally from Nara and is now living in Osaka. She also has lived overseas in Australia and Canada. Akari loves eating out and finding great restaurants. She also loves dogs, playing the piano, watching movies, and travelling. Akari is a friendly person and she is really looking forward to exploring Osaka with you and sharing her love of great Japanese food!
Russ is from Wales and is a musician. He first visited Japan in 2010 with his band after discovering a record he released in 1980 was selling for 7000yen...and that it had been re-released on a Japanese label in 2002. He has since undertaken 8 tours of Japan and has had the opportunity to sample food from across the country. He regularly plays solo gigs in Dotonbori and Shinsekai. He has lived in Kyoto for 5 years. Russ has a Higher National Diploma in Fashion and Textiles, studied landscape architecture at post graduate level and has an MA in Garden History.
Kristine is our new admin from the Philippines. Being a food lover and a travel enthusiast gives her the opportunity to share her love of exploration. It is also her passion and dedication at work that makes her committed in providing excellent service to clients and will continue to be responsible for the company’s goal in offering the best food and travel experience to our guests around the world by showing Japan’s beauty and culture.
Christinna, who is helping with our content team, lived a total of 9 years in Japan with her husband while he did his military tours. She was born and raised in a military family and had opportunities to live in many places. These experiences helped mold her love of food and travel. Christinna was introduced to Japanese culture and cuisine at elementary school while living in England; it was then that she fell in love with Japan! She is a mom, traveler, foodie, cook, and writer. She hopes to help you fall in love with Japan through her writing.
Ayaka was born in Hiroshima but moved to Osaka 5 years ago. She often explores Osaka and Kyoto with her husband. She loves exploring all the amazing restaurants these cities have to offer. In her free time she enjoys listening to music, watching movies, and of course, eating Japanese food, especially Japanese sweets! After the kindness and hospitality she experience aboard, she decided that she wants to introduce Japan to others. She can't wait to share her love for Japan with you.
Yoko is a food lover. She graduated in nutrition science from Doshisha Women’s College, and in Japanese cuisine from Tsuji Culinary Institute. She believes food has important roles for our lives, which enable us not only to be healthier and happier but also to deepen relationships with others. Besides that, she enjoys meeting new people from all over the world. When she was a college student, she worked as a guide in Nara where she was born and raised, and guided over 200 people. She is open minded and always happy to share her knowledge.
Mayumi Kawakami was born and raised in Japan. She first moved to New York to study at Columbia University. She stayed in America for 35 years, including 3 years in Hawaii. During that time she started a family and worked in teaching. Although Mayumi loved the food in NYC and Hawaii, she fell in love with Japanese food all over again when Mayumi and her family came back to Japan in 2014. She loves to eat out and hopes to share Japanese food with others.
Ike was born in Japan, but moved to Boston in 1983 to go to music school. After graduating he played in few bands as a drummer. Around the same time Ike got into the restaurant business. 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!
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 also loves Kabuki and being from Osaka of course baseball. She is looking forward to helping you learn about the Japanese food that people eat daily.
Ecka was born and raised in the Philippines. She has a degree on Computer Science major in Software Engineering. Ecka loves anime and Japan’s culture. In her free time she love to cooking Japanese dishes, go out to eat, and binge-watch different series on Netflix. Her love for Japan grew when visited Japan during the spring in 2018. Now a member of the Admin Team Ecka is excited to help people around the world plan their next trip to Japan and get to experience what made her fall in love with the country during her stay.
Archelle was born and raised in the Philippines. Aside from having a degree in Information Technology, she also specializes in Digital Arts. Archelle is very enthusiastic about anime and has started freelance art commissions based anime-styled illustrations. She hopes to travel to Japan and experience Japanese culture. As a member of Arigato Japan, she is happy that she gets a sneak peak into what Japan has to offer and is looking forward to helping other people in their journey to experience this absolutely beautiful country.
Kumie was born and raised in Osaka and has lived in Tokyo since 2014. She studied food science and nutrition at university and worked at a food flavor company as a researcher for several years. Through her academic and work history, she often sees food from a scientific viewpoint. As she has lived in both urban and rural areas as well as eastern and western Japan. Kumie has a strong knowledge Japan and a keen eye for regional characteristics. She believes ‘having friends from other culture makes you more creative’.
Sotaro was born and raised in Kyoto, but loves to travel overseas. He spent 4 years in Australia and 1 year in Norway. While overseas he worked in restaurants, cafes and a sake bar. He enjoyed learning about the influence of international food. After returning to Japan he decided he wanted to rediscover his culture with the new prospective he gained while he living in other countries. He can't wait to teach others about Japanese culture and learn your countries about food and culture.
Peter was born in Czechoslovakia and is resident of Japan for more than 22 years. He used to work for major US IT company in Tokyo for 10 years, later moved to Osaka and started his own import-export business. Peter has traveled all around Japan, from Okinawa to Hokkaido studying Japanese history, culture and cuisine. He loves Japanese food and is ready to share his experience of most delicious Japanese food, diverse Japanese history and even stories from everyday life with you. Peter always has plenty to talk about and he will answer all your questions to his deepest knowledge.
Sarah was born and raised in France. She started learning Japanese at 15 and visited Japan for the first time at 18, in order to experience the life of a high school student. She was hooked ever since. She got to work and live in the Japanese countryside, in Tokyo, and is now living in the Kansai area. She loves watching movies, cooking, and is always happy to make friends with new people. Her perfect night in Japan would include some plum wine and karaoke with her friends. She hopes to make you love Japan and its quirks.
Ambre originally comes from France where she cultivated her love for Japan for half of her life. She arrived in Tokyo a year ago to finish her engineering degree at Keio University. Although she misses french cuisine, she was quickly fell in love with tonkotsu ramen, gyoza and teppanyaki. When she is not doing research at the university, she immerses herself in Japanese culture, practicing dance and floral arrangement with Japanese students. She also travels around Japan and of course loves cooking (and eating!). She thinks that good food and good friends make a good life so she will definitely show you.
Siddik came to Japan three years ago. He lived in Gifu for a few months before moving to Kyoto, where he has been ever since. He has a bachelors in bussiness, and is currently studying computer science at the Kyoto Institue of Informatics, because why not.
As well as having great passion for Japanese food, culture and (let's not forget) anime, Siddik also has a great desire to search for new experiences. That desire has taken him to all sorts of jobs in Kyoto. He has worked as a chef assistant at a Japanese restuarant, a cargo-handler, a waiter at an Italian restuarant, a food-delivery driver and a convenience store employee. He also loves learning new languages; he can speak English, Bengali, Japanese, some Hindi, some Arabic and is currently learning Mandarin.
Miyuki traces her interest in different cultures since she read the book “ People by Peter Spier “ when she was a child. Growing up she watched and tasted the food at her father’s Teppanyaki restaurant which made her interested in food. That was a beginning of her lifelong fascination with travel, culture and world cuisine. Her international background broadened her knowledge of the food cultures. She has lived in the U.S.A, Australia, Vietnam, Thailand, Mexico, Norway, Ireland and Malta for her school and work. She believes, food has a special place in this world and exploring local food is the gate into other cultures. She loves to interact with people from all over the world and share her in-depth knowledge of her Japanese “soul food”
Alan is an intern at Arigato Japan. He studied Japanese in college and grad school, and is now ecstatic at the chance to experience living in Japan. By interning at Arigato Japan, he hopes to learn more about Tokyo, Japanese food culture, making friends and getting to know people, and general life skills necessary for living in Japan, all while helping the company grow. His hobbies include blogging about VOCALOID music and practicing kendo, and he would love to add being a foodie into the mix. Any way that he can help Arigato Japan would help him as well, so feel free to ask him for any favor.
Megumi was born and raised in Hiroshima, but has been living in Osaka for long time now. 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 🙂
Reiko was born and has lived in Hiroshima all of her life aside from a 4-year period where she studied at both undergraduate and postgraduate level at the University of Portsmouth in the United Kingdom. Although spending most of her time in Hiroshima, Reiko is knowledgeable about the various local and regional foods within Japan, but of course, her main focus is on the food of Hiroshima. As Reiko says “Hiroshima food is amazing and has an extremely rich selection of local delicacies to try. I love helping my guests navigate their way through the wonderful food on offer here.”
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. When not on a tour, Jordan enjoys movies, bouldering, ice hockey, multi-day hiking/camping, travelling, and Dungeons & Dragons. Jordan's favourite thing, however, is to share his love of Japan, and he can't wait to share it with you!
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.' She is always eager to hear about the experiences of other visitors and loves sharing her passion for Japan and the charming hidden spots that only locals know.
Cole 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. Currently based in Kyoto, he can often be found with an ear to the ground listening for news on the latest stand bar opening or looking for somewhere to play tennis. He tries to get back to London when he can but finds the lack of decent tofu there a problem.
Chiara (read as 'Kiara') was born in Italy, but she has always been fascinated by Japan. This passion led to her studying Japanese at the University of Venice. Upon graduation, she moved to Japan and was surprised to find so many regional differences in food, much like in Italy. From natto to shirako, trying strange, new food and discovering their regional differences while traveling and connecting with people through food has become her new hobby and main interest. She also loves cooking, practicing sport and learning foreign languages.
Darren was born in New York City and raised in a small town called Hammonton, New Jersey, the Blueberry Capital of the World. Darren was always around food since a very young age. He always loved cooking as a hobby and has traveled all over Asia, America, and South America learning about different food. Having Colombian roots, he was also able too spend every summer with his grandmother at her farm, eating traditional Colombian foods. As a high school and university student, Darren 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 with whom he learns about Hiroshima traditions, culture, and how to cook Hiroshima food.
Sharing great food and conversation with our guests is what I love best about working with Arigato Japan. Everyday is an adventure filled with good food and new friends!
Foodie, Traveler, Writer & Guide
I love my job at Arigato Food Tours because I can meet new people and I get to see new places. It is fun talking with so many travelers from around the world!
Sharing food culture with global travelers is such a powerful experience. It gives me the chance to share my passion for Japan while enjoying a meal with new-found friends.
Food Tour Guide in Tokyo