Meet the team

Our Staff

  • Matt Malcomson


    Matt first traveled to Japan at the age of 18, and has been exploring the archipelago ever since, living in Nara, Miyazaki and Tokyo for 10 years, working for an international magazine, leading outdoor trips and travel writing. He returned to the UK in 2005 and set up Oku Japan. An avid lover of Japanese onsen (hot springs), Matt is always on the lookout for the ultimate off-the-beaten track place to 'take the waters'.

    Amongst his current projects are building an eco hotel along the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage route in Wakayama.

  • Adam Downham


    Adam has had an interest in Japan from a young age and he finally moved to Japan in 2008. Living in rural Okayama prefecture, he enjoyed the quiet life so much he ended up staying for four years. As well as hosting fundraising events following the Tohoku earthquake, Adam was very active in encouraging cross-cultural exchange in the local community. Personal highlights in Japan were visiting Bikan Chiku, a small market town maintained in the style of the Edo period, as well as the Setouchi International Art Festival, where over 200 international artists took to 12 small islands on the Setouchi inland sea.

  • Hiroshi Kawaguchi

    General Manager

    Hiroshi was born and brought up in Osaka. He studied tourism management for his masters degree and since then, his interest has always been in the travel industry. He worked for inbound tour operators in his late twenties and thirties and coordinated many tour groups travelling all over Australia. He returned to Japan in 2011 to be a destination specialist in Japan and now works organising tours at our Kyoto office. Hiroshi is a keen birdwatcher and enjoys travelling far and wide in search of ones he has never seen.

  • Kathie Callum

    Agent Sales Manager

    Kathie is originally from New England but also calls Scotland home. Following her studies in Canada and the United Kingdom, Kathie was a lecturer in political science at universities in the United Kingdom, Ireland, and the United States. She decided it would be a lot more fun to help people see the world for themselves rather than stand at a podium telling them about it, so left academia to work in the travel industry 13 years ago. She has always had a passion for Japan, and visits frequently, always looking for new areas to discover. She is interested in traditional Japanese crafts, loves Hakata ramen, and enjoys working with our partners in the travel industry to help them introduce Japan to their clients.

  • Yoshiko Hinata

    Operation Manager

    Yoshiko was born in Nara and grew up in Gifu and Kyoto. In Kyoto she spent her childhood visiting Arashiyama and the temples around the city, and she got to know and love Kyoto. She has always enjoyed nature, especially the sea and mountains. After working at a travel agency for some years she moved to a small island in Micronesia where she worked for a local tour operator. After leaving Micronesia, she traveled in Asia, Europe and Australia. When she returned to Japan she worked at travel agencies for many years. Now she spends her free time walking in the Japanese countryside, camping and exploring the more remote villages.

  • Daniel Kolosi

    Agent Sales Executive

    Daniel was born in Hungary, and raised in Australia. His childhood holidays were family road trips focused on naturally beautiful locations and lots of time spent outdoors. His interest in the outdoors burgeoned and he is an avid fisherman.

    First visiting Japan in 2005, Daniel lived in Nagoya for 18 months on a working holiday. Over the years Daniel travelled around Europe and to Japan each year before finally deciding to settle in Kyoto. Fascinated with Japan's biodiversity and Kyoto's close proximity to nature, Daniel spends his leisure time hiking and fishing in the surrounding mountains.

  • Kanata Ide

    Sales Executive

    Kanata's family originally immigrated from Japan to America, where he grew up, enabling him to maintain close ties with both cultures from a young age. One of his personal traveling highlights was cooking seafood on the beach in Innoshima (an island off the coast of Hiroshima) near his grandmother's house.

    He has been living in Kyoto for two years and prides himself on creating similar unforgettable and "off the beaten track" experiences for visitors new to Japan.

  • Kana Hattori


    Kana was born in Nagoya and raised in Kobe, studied in Kyoto and the US. She has studied the tea ceremony in Kyoto and the philosophy of Zen -- "Living in the moment" -- has been always the core part of her spiritual life. Kana is passionate about Japanese traditional culture, and about explaining it to foreign visitors through her guiding.

    Her hobbies include singing; she regularly sings at concerts and including once at a sake brewery, where she sang and played the piano wearing kimono.

  • Satomi Nagai


    Satomi was born and grew up in Nagoya, and has lived in Tokyo over 20 years since she became a professional guide in 1985. She has studied in the US (Tennessee) majoring in Communications.

    Satomi has guided from Hokkaido, the Northern Island, to Okinawa, the southern-most prefecture, on a wide variety of trips for both tourist and business clients. Satomi is a keen cyclist, and guides our cultural and walking tours.

  • Emi Shibata


    Emi was born and raised in Nara, the ancient capital of Japan. She holds a degree in foreign studies. After becoming a guide, Emi moved to Kyoto and lives in a traditional 'machiya' townhouse. She is a member of the Kyoto traditional musical art foundation and enjoys lots of geisha events every year.

    On her days off she takes her young sons by bicycle to various spots around Kyoto while her husband jogs along.

  • Tomomi Shimazu


    Tomomi was born and raised in Tokyo. After she finished her degree in international relationship she studied in the UK and the US. Later she lived in Hawaii and Israel for Years and travelled extensively in Europe, the US and Middle East. She now lives in Tokyo, close to its center and loves gardening, walking, cycling and Yoga. Tomomi enjoys guiding and sharing her knowledge of both traditional and urban cultures of Japan.

  • Naomi Honda


    After working at travel agency for over 6 years as a branch manager, Naomi earned her master’s degree in sports tourism and marketing to expand her knowledge in the tourism industry. During her study, she organized and managed events for international students for the purpose of cross-cultural exchange. In 2014, she passed the national tour guide exam and since then, she has been working as a guide as well as a tour conductor. She is interested in Japanese history, food culture and sports. Currently, she is studying to be qualified as a Kikisake-shi (Master of Sake).