Hello! My name is Ryoji Shimada. I am a Japanese national, professionally qualified and fluent English-speaking tour-guide for inbound tourists. Although I received my tour-guide license this year, I have been voluntarily involved in introducing Japan to non-Japanese people extensively for the past 19 years. I set up an international cultural exchange organization in 1997 where Japanese and non-Japanese can get together through diverse cultural activities such as visiting various cultural places or enjoying outdoor activities like hiking and skiing. The organization, SIEN, is still very active and I have been the head since its foundation.
SIEN received an award from the local government, in Saitama where I'm from, which is north of Tokyo. Also, I have visited all 47 provinces (prefectures) in Japan and know various excellent spots and attractions throughout Japan, especially in my old and new hometowns in and around Tokyo and Kyoto (Nara, Osaka, Wakayama and Shiga) where I currently live. It has been my greatest passion ever since my childhood to meet non-Japanese people and introduce Japan to them. I am very happy to see them enjoying Japanese culture and society and mingling with local Japanese. I like visiting historical sites and outdoor activities like hiking. Hiking is a great way to appreciate Japanese nature and scenery. I can coordinate all aspects of many unique hiking tours, outdoor tours and regular tours visiting main tourist spots.
So please contact me anytime, as I'm delighted to discuss creating tailor-made tours to fulfill your own special needs and interests at very reasonable rates.
Yes! If you need to make changes such as removing or adding someone to your booking or changing the date or time of your tour, contact us by phone or email
After you secure your booking, the starting and ending points of your tour can be customized to your convenience (ex.: your hotel, nearby stations, etc.). Don't worry, we will take care of you! Some tours may have an extra fee for this service, make sure to check the tour page.
After booking a tour, the guide will accept (or decline) your booking within 24 hours. Then you will be noticed by email from Triplelights.
The price is charged per group. Which means that you make a one-time payment for your entire group and the price will not change if it is less or more people.
Some guides accept extra people (more than the specified number) for an extra charge. Please check for the extras on the tour or booking page, or contact your guide directly to clarify.
No. Your tour is private, only for you and your family or friends, there will be no other group of tourists together in your tour.
Yes, but there will be additional charge for that and it is not by car. The guide will go pick you up using public transportations. For further details, please contact your guide directly.
Yes, you can and you may be able to get a discount if you are traveling alone. Price depends on which guide you choose.
Ryoji is a charming, professional and very knowledgeable guide. His English is impeccable which enabled me to enjoy a relaxed and very enjoyable tour. I would genuinely recommend Ryoji to all other travellers wishing to enjoy exploring Japan.
We enjoyed a fun day in Kyoto with Ryoji. He took us to some awesome places and which both ourselves and our two boys enjoyed! Ryoji was very thoughtful and brought us to a nice lunch spot with a wide selection of local specialities even the kids had many choices to choose from. Wish we had more time for him to show us around. Definitely a guide you should consider if you are traveling with young kids.
The Kyoto at Night tour with Ryoji was educational, as well as thought provoking. His overview of the spectacular hidden garden and canal was so intriguing. A highlight of the tour was our view of a maiko in the tea house, where she graciously permitted us to take a photo of her. Ryoji's night tour is historically evocative and atmospheric, even showing me some small shrines down unassuming alleys. Please seek him out if you want a truly memorable Kyoto experience!
Not knowing what to do and how to get around Kyoto in the evenings, I decided to book Ryoji’s evening tours and he definitely did not disappoint. Our whole family (my husband, our three adult children and myself) enjoyed Ryoji’s company for two consecutive evenings.Ryoji was a very good tour guide. He gave us a walking tour of the Gion district for two nights showing us different spots each night. He impressed us as he was very thorough in his description and expalnation of the minute details seen in the old houses along the alleys in the central district of Kyoto and in the Gion district. He pointed out a lot of things only seen in areas where geikos and maikos still exist. The evenings we spent with Ryoji had been truly memorable.He took us in one of the hidden gardens that was lit up in the evenings and we truly delighted in this experience. He didn’t mind taking us to the Yasaka shrine even if it was out of the plan. Being lovers of Japanese food, he knew just where to take us. We had dinner at a conveyor sushi place during our first evening and in a hole-in-a wall ramen place on our second and last evening. We had the time of our lives enjoying Japanese sushi and real good ramen. And the prices were really affordable. Thanks, Ryoji! You are my daughter’s favorite tour guide! Worthy to note are the email exchanges I had with Ryoji months before our tour. He made sure we had a great time with him by asking for our preferences beforehand. I really appreciate all your efforts, Ryoji! Hope to see you in the future! Cheers!
Ryoji told us many interesting details about the geisha districts and landmarks, and also about the geiko / maiko. He was also very helpful and accomodating to our needs and requests. My personal favourite part of the tour was our visit to the "secret garden", a very charming private garden attached to a restaurant.