Ryoji Shimada Private tour guide in Kyoto, Nara, Ōtsu - Japan

Ryoji Shimada

Guide profile:

★★★Please ask me first for my availability before booking★★★

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. The website is here: http://sienjapan.web.fc2.com/ (Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/sienjapan/ ) 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.

I also run a group of guides organization. Please visit www.cocomootravel.com to find me and other guides.

Recent reviews of this tour guide:

5 stars Edward A. C.

I highly recommend Ryoji. He is friendly, knowledgeable, and flexible. His English is excellent. Highly recommended!

Tour guide services/sample itinerary:

Kyoto Landmarks & Short-hiking Tour

Kyoto has 17 UNESCO world heritage sites. They are spread around the city of Kyoto, but many of them are only accessible by bus or taxi. But this private tour is done in comfort by private car, so you don’t have to worry about finding a bus or taxi. The sites covered on this tour are all world heritage sites, which are also "must visit sites" for tourists, with a special extra - probably the most famous mountain in Kyoto - Daimonji. The mountain is only 300 meters high, so perhaps more appropriately it should be called a hill! We hike up the hill to enjoy a stunning view of Kyoto city. As a very common hiking route for Kyoto residents, Daimonji is culturally important for its Gozan no Okuribi, a festival in which five giant bonfires spectacularly light up the hill at night.

*For tour examples, please visit here: http://sienjapan.web.fc2.com/tours.html

Transportation by tour guide:

Yes, transportation can be arranged upon request. I can come by car with insurance.

Private sightseeing & group tours offered by this guide:

Hiking in Kyoto's sacred mountain Price Per Group 210.00 USD
Kyoto Landmarks & Short-hiking Tour by CAR Price Per Group 350.00 USD
Kyoto Night Walk Price Per Group 95.00 USD
Michelin 3 Star Museum, Shigaraki Pottery by CAR Price Per Group 340.00 USD
Onsen Tour in Kyoto by CAR Price Per Person 260.00 USD
Private Maiko with Full Course Dinner Price Per Group 300.00 USD

Tour guide interests:

Kyoto sightseeing tours

Kyoto city tours personalized

Kyoto and adjacent areas (Nara, Shiga, Mie, Ise-jingu, Ise-shima, Shirakawago, Hidatakayama) travel tours for your needs

Kyoto tour guide general services

Reviews of this tour – by clients who booked!

5 stars Edward A. C. 07 Oct 2018

I highly recommend Ryoji. He is friendly, knowledgeable, and flexible. His English is excellent. Highly recommended!

Tour Guide Comment: Thank you so much for your positive comment! I look forward to seeing you some day again.

5 stars Gabriel P. 18 May 2017

We had an excellent guide on our 18/5 tour to SHigaraki from Kyoto

Gabi and Hanna

Tour Guide Comment: Thank you so much for your positive comment! I look forward to seeing you some day again.

5 stars Zha L. 27 Apr 2017

We were so lucky that Ryoji was available when we were booking within the same month. He was very thoughtful when we were deciding were to meet. We really enjoyed our night walk in Kyoto and learned a lot. He was very knowledgeable, shared so many interesting places and stories. Truly an excellent guide!

Tour Guide Comment: Thank you very much for your comment and I enjoyed your company very much too. Hope you discover more about Japan. Please take a good care and see you again.

5 stars Don A. 23 Apr 2017

We had a wonderful day with Ryioji touring the Gion district, temples and a tea ceremony. He was very attentive and very informative about the history of Japan and the local sites we were visiting.

Tour Guide Comment: Thank you very much for your comment and I enjoyed your company very much too. Hope you discover more about Japan and I hope I can help you with that. Please take a good care and see you again.

5 stars Carin S. 07 Apr 2017

It was such a pleasure spending the day with Ryoji! He was knowledgeable, flexible (with a 7 year-old that's essential!) and had great ideas about where to go and what to see. He was amazing with my son (who took an instant liking to him and declared him to be his "favorite guide"--high praise!). Ryoji's English was terrific--the best I encountered while in Japan.

Tour Guide Comment: Thank you very much Carin for choosing me and very positive comment! But I have to say sorry for my voice. Very hoarse! I hope the next time I guide you, I want you to hear my real voice. :-)

5 stars Dori P. 06 Apr 2017

Ryoji was a pleasure to spend the day with! He is very knowledgeable and willing to give tips for the rest of our stay in Kyoto. English is very good and he was very accommodating for us!

Tour Guide Comment: Thank you very much Dori, I hope to see you again.

5 stars Stephen F. 19 Mar 2017

I booked Ryoji for his tour of Kyoto and a visit to several Onsens. I was very pleased with his knowledge and tour guiding abilities. I am pleased to recommend him to anyone planning a visit to Kyoto.

Tour Guide Comment: Thank you very much Stephen, I hope to see you again and have onsen again. :D

5 stars Robert A. 15 Feb 2017

Ryoji gave my wife and me an absolutely outstanding glimpse of this magnificent city that we would NEVER have been able to see on our own. Ryoji is enormously friendly and is totally fluent in English. He deftly combined history, nature, culture, language, and humor to make our evening out very, very memorable. After having visited the more well-known tourist destinations with Ryoji during the day, we saw by night the genuine insider's Kyoto, largely free from tourists. Unforgettable! Thank you!

Tour Guide Comment: Thank you again Bob san. I enjoyed myself guiding you and Debi in the nighttime. Please come back again and I will give you a free night tour the next time.

5 stars Robert A. 15 Feb 2017

We were so fortunate to choose Ryoji on our first visit to Kyoto. He simply could not have been more helpful or a better guide. While never rushing us, he managed to show us more of the city than we could have ever seen on our own. He greeted us at the train station, helped us with our luggage, and then proceeded to guide us through not only the famous sites in Kyoto, but also to hidden gems of Japanese beauty and charm, far from the crowds. Thank you, Ryoji, you are a superb guide!

Tour Guide Comment: Thank you very much Bob. I enjoyed guiding and talking with you and your wife, Debi. You are such an ideal couple and you are very courteous and observant like Japanese people. Or I could say you are more Japanese than standard Japanese. I think it means you are the role model for anyone in the world. :D So I am lucky to have you as my client.

5 stars Karen H. 07 Jul 2016

We hire Ryoji as a guide for our son who only had a short time to spend in Kyoto. The service was EXCELLENT. He was able to help our son make the very most of his brief visit! Ryoji is very knowledgeable as a guide and his English is excellent! We are so happy we have made this connection and look forward to using his services in the future!

Tour Guide Comment: Thank you very much for choosing me Karen. Sorry for a late reply. I hope to see you again. :D

5 stars Smith A. 29 Apr 2016

Excellent day with Ryoji. Would highly recommend.

Tour Guide Comment: Thank you so much for your positive comment! I look forward to seeing you some day again.

5 stars Amani M. 18 Apr 2016

The whole trip was Amazing!!

Royji was nice ,chill,flexible and professional he answered all my questions I highly recommend him.

Tour Guide Comment: Thank you very much for your comment and I enjoyed your company very much too. Hope you discover more about Japan and I hope I can help you with that. Please take a good care and see you again.

5 stars Bhavna K. 06 Apr 2016

Ryoji was very good, prompt, flexible and very helpful. Highly recommend him to anyone visiting Kyoto.

Tour Guide Comment: Thank you very much Bhavna! I enjoyed your company very much too. The next time I would like to show you around during the daytime. Please take a good care!

5 stars Mary B. 30 Mar 2016

Ryoji speaks English fluently, which made it easier to ask him lots of questions and to design a tour just for us. He took us on a nighttime tour of Kyoto and showed us a hidden garden, lots of cherry blossoms, and back alleys that we would not have found on our own. His knowledge of Japan and Kyoto made our visit complete. He is very personable and fun to be with. I would engage him again and highly recommend him to others.

Tour Guide Comment: Dear Mary, Thank you very much for your positive comment. I also very much appreciated your good manners and great character. I hope I can guide you the next time during the daytime. Please come back and hope for the best of you and Mark.

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