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Andy Moser

I love to explore, to travel, to meet new people and see the amazing diversity of the world we live in. In particular, I am passionate about Japan and the outdoors, and always on the lookout for new hiking trails and cycling routes to explore. Originally from Hawaii, I have travelled around the world and worked in the US and Japan, and since 2013 have been based in Kyoto, Japan. I love Japan, the hospitality of the people and the amazing diversity of the landscapes, the mountains, the seasonal culture reflected in everyday life.

We try to provide opportunities to truly engage with a different culture and allow you to really see Japan, meet the people and experience the culture.

What places and activities do you specialize in?

"We specialize in rural off the beaten path Japan and have a strong expertise in the Nakasendo, the Kumano Kodo, and the Shikoku 88 pilgrimage route. In addition we are pleased to offer walking and stays at Mount Koya, Nara, and Asuka and can arrange tours that include many other UNESCO World Heritage sites in Japan. "

Please share a unique travel experience you will never forget.

"Surfing big swells off the coast of Shikoku island with locals, snowboarding backcountry in the mountains of Nagano and enjoying outdoor Japanese onsen hot springs during the middle of winter."

Andy is part of the following groups: Japan Travel Agents
A dusting of snow along the Nakasendo Trail leading into Magome.
Winter on the Nakasendo Trail: Kyoto, Kiso Valley & Tokyo - 8 Days

Experience the tranquil magic of a Japanese winter during this immersive 8-day itinerary. Starting in Kyoto, you’ll head to the snowy Kiso Valley to hike along the ancient Nakasendo Trail, spending each night in quaint wooden villages or hot spring inns. After a week spent savoring regional cuisine, snowshoeing through cedar forests, and soaking in natural mineral pools, you’ll spend a final night enjoying the hustle and bustle of Tokyo—the historic endpoint of the trail.

Cycling Around Lake Biwa near Kyoto
E-Bike Cycling Around Lake Biwa - 7 Days

Enjoy the exceptional beauty of Lake Biwa on this 7-day cycling tour starting in Moriyama. Visit unique and historical villages such as Omi-Hachiman, Sugaura, and Harie, where you can sample local cuisine, learn about regional culture, and cycle along picturesque forest and beach paths. Stop at shrines, take a cable car to the top of Mt. Shizugatake, and enjoy a boat ride to the spiritual Chikubujima Island, all while sleeping at traditional guesthouses with onsen, hot spring baths.

Noto Peninsula, Japan
Cycle the Noto Peninsula From Kyoto to Nanao Bay - 6 Days

Explore the breathtaking natural scenery of the Noto Peninsula in this 6-day tour, starting in the bustling cities of Kyoto and Kanazawa. Cycle along coastal routes with stunning vistas overlooking the seaside, sandy beaches, and rice fields as you make your way to the charming villages of Togi, Wajima, and Suzushi where you'll stay in traditional, family-run guesthouses. Finish your trip on Notojima Island and in the town of Ogi, stopping at Sojiji Temple and a traditional hot-spring onsen before returning to Kyoto.

Hokkaido's iconic red-crowned cranes.
Hokkaido in Winter: Lake Akan to Shiretoko - 7 days

Discover the pristine natural landscape of Hokkaido on this 7-day winter itinerary. Japan’s second-largest main island is a paradise for nature lovers and bird watchers, with snow-capped mountain ranges, serene forests, and deep crater lakes. Starting in Kushiro on the east coast, you’ll travel north, heading into the winter wilderness of Akan-Mashu National Park. Visit UNESCO World Heritage nature reserves, experience spectacular snow-covered landscapes, and spot rare wildlife unique to Hokkaido before ending your adventure on the magnificent Shiretoko Peninsula.

Views across the Northern Japan Alps from the Shinhotaka Ropeway cable car station.
Winter in the Japan Alps: Mountains, Villages & Hot Springs - 6 Days

Explore mountain villages, snowcapped peaks, and Onsen hot springs on this 6-day winter journey into the heart of Japan’s Northern Alps. Start in the feudal castle town of Matsumoto, venture into the Oku-Hida Mountains to find biodiverse highlands and secluded Ryokan inns, and end your stay in Hida-Furukawa and Takayama for an unforgettable winter experience.

The Nakasengo Trail entering the town of Magome in the Kiso Valley.
Central Japan Highlights: Tokyo, Kyoto & the Kiso Valley - 9 days

This active 9-day itinerary takes you on a memorable journey through central Japan's history and culture, from ultra-modern Tokyo to the historic imperial capital of Kyoto. In between, you'll visit the famous gardens of Kanazawa, cycle through traditional thatched villages of the Hida region, walk portions of the ancient Nakasendo Trail, and explore the preserved post towns of the Kiso Valley.

Recent trip reviews for Andy

Kumano Kodo - Do it! · Japan - Oct 7 - Oct 17, 2019

Traveler: Emily S. - Local specialist: Andy Moser

Carrick was integral in making this trip happen! From booking the travel and accommodations, to answering questions, to helping me be as flexible as possible, there was no way I could have done the Kumano Kodo without her help. Through Carrick, I was able to do not only the Nakahechi Route, but the lesser traveled and (I think) more rewarding Kohechi Route. Even when things went slightly awry, their English speaking support team was able to help me work through any missed connections. I fully recommend her, Oku Japan, and their services via KimKim! Thank you for making my trip so amazing.

Louise

Discover the Nakasendo Trail · Japan - Oct 9 - Oct 14, 2018

Traveler: Louise I. - Local specialist: Andy Moser

Thanks to kimkim, our 4-night, 5-day Nakasendo adventure in October was amazing. We have been highly recommending it to friends and family. All arrangements were professionally, efficiently and patiently handled by our pre-travel contact Andy, our trip guide Atsuko-san and our local guide from Usui Toge to Yokokawa, Riki-san. The online information was very helpful and was among the deciding factors for joining our Nakasendo group. A delicious kaiseki dinner in Kyoto with Atsuko-san on... read more

Thanks to kimkim, our 4-night, 5-day Nakasendo adventure in October was amazing. We have been highly recommending it to friends and family. All arrangements were professionally, efficiently and patiently handled by our pre-travel contact Andy, our trip guide Atsuko-san and our local guide from Usui Toge to Yokokawa, Riki-san. The online information was very helpful and was among the deciding factors for joining our Nakasendo group. A delicious kaiseki dinner in Kyoto with Atsuko-san on the night before our hike for our group of 12 set the tone for the beautiful breakfast and dinner settings we experienced during the entire trip. The accommodations were comfortable and full of atmosphere, whether the inn we stayed at was rustic and charming (Tsutamuraya in Otsumago and Iseya in Narai) or refined and charming (Komanoyu Ryokan outside of Kiso-Fukushima and Nakadanaso Ryokan in Narai). All the towns we passed through were so enjoyable to explore, but I especially loved the historic beauty of Magome and Tsumago. We were so impressed by Atsuko-san's attention to every detail, like arranging four different options on the last day to meet the needs of those traveling directly to Tokyo, those who chose to visit Karuizawa first, those who wanted a longer hike and the rest of us who chose to ride up to Usui Toge and then hike down to Yokokawa. Atsuko-san even escorted us from Tokyo Station to the frenetic and huge Shinjuku Station in order to point us in the right direction. Well done, kimkim and Oku Japan!

Andy Moser profile photo
Andy Moser, local specialist, responded to this review:

Hi Louise, thank you again for choosing to travel with us along the Nakasendo trail - we're very happy to know the group enjoyed staying with the locally-run inns along the trail. We've also communicated your kind words to Ako-san and Riki-san. Please don't hesitate if we can assist with a future trip.
Best regards, Andy / Oku Japan

Gwen

Discover the Nakasendo Trail · Japan - Oct 9 - Oct 14, 2018

Traveler: Gwen P. - Local specialist: Andy Moser

We planned our trip with Andy who was accessible and communicated clearly. He made special arrangements for those that needed them. Once we got to Japan, our trip was amazing.
Akosan was such a gracious, accommodating, professional, knowledgeable guide. Despite the disparate needs of our group, she never made us feel that we were asking too much and always accommodated us. She took the time to listen and then shared her wonderful cultural and historical wisdom. She made the trail come... read more

We planned our trip with Andy who was accessible and communicated clearly. He made special arrangements for those that needed them. Once we got to Japan, our trip was amazing.
Akosan was such a gracious, accommodating, professional, knowledgeable guide. Despite the disparate needs of our group, she never made us feel that we were asking too much and always accommodated us. She took the time to listen and then shared her wonderful cultural and historical wisdom. She made the trail come alive! We had different hiking abilities-all were accommodated with sometimes as many as 4 options in a day provided. We transited with ease between locations, as Akosan was always organized and on schedule. SHe is a master at time management and set reasonable expectations for all of our schedule.
from the WE all had little needs and accommodations were top notch. We enjoyed

Andy Moser profile photo
Andy Moser, local specialist, responded to this review:

Hi Gwen, we are very happy to know the group had an excellent time along the Nakasendo - we've also communicated your kind words to Akosan.
Best regards, Andy / Oku Japan

Discover the Nakasendo Trail · Japan - Oct 9 - Oct 14, 2018

Traveler: Clarence P. - Local specialist: Andy Moser

It was a wonderful experience from the start of the planning with the Kimkim team through the actual hike with Ako-san. Andy and the team were very responsive to our needs and went out of their way to celebrate my wife's birthday with a cake at our initial dinner. Our guide was fantastic in her service and knowledge of the trails and the history. She explained fully what was happening and gave us many options to take. If we do another hike or tour in Japan (which we will) we will request... read more

It was a wonderful experience from the start of the planning with the Kimkim team through the actual hike with Ako-san. Andy and the team were very responsive to our needs and went out of their way to celebrate my wife's birthday with a cake at our initial dinner. Our guide was fantastic in her service and knowledge of the trails and the history. She explained fully what was happening and gave us many options to take. If we do another hike or tour in Japan (which we will) we will request specifically for Ako-san. I would highly recommend to anyone to use this company and their guides. Thank you for a wonderful time.

Andy Moser profile photo
Andy Moser, local specialist, responded to this review:

Hi Clarence, we are happy to know the group had such a fantastic time in Japan, and has made many good memories along the trip. We've also passed along your kind words to Ako-san.
Best regards, Andy / Oku Japan

Leslie

Discover the Nakasendo Trail · Japan - Oct 9 - Oct 14, 2018

Traveler: Leslie K. - Local specialist: Andy Moser

Akko-San was an incredible guide - she literally anticipated our every need and was such a delightful, thoughtful person. She is truly perfection! We were all bowled over by her professionalism and warmth. It was a sad moment when we had to say goodbye.

The tour was an incredible once in a lifetime experience. The Nakasendo is fascinating and the post towns chosen for the tour were beautiful and interesting. The accommodations were terrific. The first night was quite rustic which... read more

Akko-San was an incredible guide - she literally anticipated our every need and was such a delightful, thoughtful person. She is truly perfection! We were all bowled over by her professionalism and warmth. It was a sad moment when we had to say goodbye.

The tour was an incredible once in a lifetime experience. The Nakasendo is fascinating and the post towns chosen for the tour were beautiful and interesting. The accommodations were terrific. The first night was quite rustic which really fit the trail and made the next two nights’ accommodation all that more special and luxurious. And the food! The breakfasts and dinners in all of the accommodations were excellent and over the top plentiful. The service at each of these places was gracious and friendly. The side trip to Matsumoto was such a highlight - it was a gorgeous fall day and the castle literally gleamed in the sunlight. The town of Narai is the prettiest and more delightful of the post towns.

Andy Moser profile photo
Andy Moser, local specialist, responded to this review:

Aloha Leslie, we are very pleased to know the group had such an enjoyable time on your trip with us and Akko-San. Thank you for your kind words, we hope to welcome your group back to Japan on a future occasion! Best regards, Andy / Oku Japan

Soaking up some rural culture without breaking our necks! · Japan - Jul 27 - Aug 2, 2018

Traveler: Bill P. - Local specialist: Andy Moser

Fantastic trip and organisation ran like clockwork... the trains.. the buses...the timetable and so on. No corners were cut, as is often the case. Each ryokan visited over-delivered. This trip allowed us to get below the surface of Japan's big cities and let us experience the real Honshu. Simply fantastic.

Andy Moser profile photo
Andy Moser, local specialist, responded to this review:

Dear Bill, we are very pleased to hear that you had such a memorable time on your trip with us. Thank you for your kind words, we hope to welcome you back to Japan on a future adventure! Best regards, Andy / Oku Japan

6 day walk · Japan - Feb 8 - Feb 18, 2018

Traveler: Andrew T. - Local specialist: Andy Moser

All in all a wonderful experience very well managed, thank you.
Day 1: the first climb was almost a deal breaker. The path was not clear and we should have been warned that is was incredibly demanding.
Takahara ryokan was good. Private facilities and food were probably the best of all on the walk. Excellent packed lunch. To be able to fit around the tire at night after a private onsen was great.
Day 2: good walk with no surprises although the cold was extreme
Chikatsuyu food was good and... read more

All in all a wonderful experience very well managed, thank you.
Day 1: the first climb was almost a deal breaker. The path was not clear and we should have been warned that is was incredibly demanding.
Takahara ryokan was good. Private facilities and food were probably the best of all on the walk. Excellent packed lunch. To be able to fit around the tire at night after a private onsen was great.
Day 2: good walk with no surprises although the cold was extreme
Chikatsuyu food was good and private onsen enjoyable. Lack of private facilities was inconvenient although with only two other guests not a big problem
Day 3: this was an incredible trek, we did the entire 24kms, with ice and snow a real challenge, last 3 hours in rain made the achievement even more admirable. Knowing we had shorter options was comforting. Suggest it should end at Hongu as we had no time to sightsee given the bus timetable. Yunomineso was ok but again Hongu probably a better overnight stay. Hotel pick up and taxi drop off, enabled a later start after the exhausting walk, for next day were very convenient,
Day 4: good walk and enabled a little recovery. Momofuku was quaint but lack of private facilities was a little problematic. Nice hosts but we were over the food, especially the breakfasts by this stage.
Day 5: great walk and wonderful views on the way and just superb as we approached Nachi san. We should have stayed in Nachi san again to see more of the sites.
Kii-Katsuura, my choice, was disappointing. By this stage should have chosen a western hotel. Should have stayed in Nachi san. Lovely town to stroll around behind the train to Osaka.
Overall far more challenging than I thought but an incredible experience and achievement.
Directions, train abc bus connections all first class.

Karuizawa extension: fair to say we, especially Paula, were over ryokans at this stage again I should have requested a western hotel closer to the ski fields. Nevertheless the two days were saved by lovely snow falls and the outlet shopping, Paula was in heaven. Do highlight this in the future, some real bargains.
Food at tsuyaya was good and the buffet breakfast good fir westerners. Service was excellent here. If only the library had an open fire!
Travel by train back to Tokyo was again excellent, Japanese railways are impressive.
So all in all a great trip
Thanks for your planning, availability on the phone the only time needed, and efficient responses in preparation.
Our next walk will hopefully be coast to coast hopefully a little less demanding and not as rushed as I retire in a few months

Andy Moser profile photo
Andy Moser, local specialist, responded to this review:

Hi Andrew,

We are delighted to know you and Paula had an enjoyable trip in Japan (the walk to Nachi is perhaps one of my favourite walks in Japan). We greatly appreciate your feedback and have shared this information among our tour development team. We know that feedback from clients is the best way for us to improve our products and services.

We hope we may have the pleasure of welcoming you and Paula in Japan on another occasion in the future.

Kind regards,
Andy
Oku Japan