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active 6 days ago

Kirsten Belinsky

Hi! I am a travel consultant with InsideJapan Tours. I work with you to develop a fully-tailored trip to Japan, tailored to your personal style and interests. Our team is unique in that every member has lived and worked in Japan, which gives us insider knowledge and the ability to offer exceptional experiences that other companies may not have access to. I look forward to helping you plan your dream trip to Japan!

What places and activities do you specialize in?

"Everything Japan! Most of my expertise is in Western Honshu, as well as lots of outdoor activities such as skiing and snowboarding, cycling, and hiking."

How did you get involved in travel?

"In high school, I jumped at the opportunity to volunteer for a summer in Panama. This sparked my love of languages and travel, and I haven't stopped since! I've visited many countries for a variety of reasons including volunteering, leisure, and studying. During university, I spent one semester traveling and studying in India, Argentina, and South Africa. After I graduated, I packed my bags and headed to Japan for two years to teach English in a countryside town called Hamada, in Shimane Prefecture. I knew after that I wanted to work in the travel industry, so I pursued a master's program in London, studying Tourism, Environment, and Development. I found my way back to all things Japan by working for InsideJapan Tours and cannot be happier helping others discover the wonders of Japan!"

Please share a unique travel experience you will never forget.

"During my time teaching English in Japan, my friend and I spent one week cycling from our "hometown" in Hamada, Shimane, to Beppu in Kyushu (about 300 km).

We travelled just with (very) small packs on our bikes and stayed in various hostels and hotels. It was a great way to explore the lesser known areas of Western Japan.

I remember seeing the largest koi banners I've ever seen for Children's Day, soaring in the wind in a countryside mountain town. One of my favorite stops was at the Karato Sea Market in Shimonoseki; you can go around all the stalls and pick out the most amazing variety of sushi, tempura, and other fresh seafood. So good we went twice - once for breakfast!

In Beppu, we tried out the famous hot sand baths (highly recommend), then we wrapped our bikes in huge tarps and carried them back on the local trains and the shinkansen (bullet train)! I love that no matter where you travel in Japan (or how), you will always be met with incredible hospitality and amazing scenery. "

Featured trips & expertise

Kyoto's Higashiyama historic district
Best of Tokyo & Kyoto - 7 Days

This weeklong adventure splits its time between two of Japan's most important cities with a mix of customizable tours and free time to explore on your own. Start off in Tokyo for a taste of modern Japan with top-notch architecture, animé, modern art, high fashion, and cuisine. Then head to traditional Kyoto for beautiful temples and shrines, ancient gardens, and cultural experiences like tea ceremonies and calligraphy.

Stop in Mount Fuji on your way to Kyoto
Japan Golden Route - 10 Days

This 10-day itinerary follows the path of Japan's ancient Tokaido Highway (the Golden Route) from the skyscrapers of ultra-modern Tokyo to the cultural heart of Kyoto. In between the two cities, you'll stop in the beautiful town of Hakone to soak up Mount Fuji views, hot springs, and excellent museums. Traveling by bullet train, your flexible Japan Rail Pass offers plenty of day-trips for a truly customizable adventure.

The torii gates of the Fushimi Inari Shrine in Kyoto
Classic Highlights of Japan - 14 Days

On this two-week journey to the four corners of Japan's main island, Honshu, you'll have plenty of time to enjoy its unmissable attractions. You'll visit sacred temples and shrines, go bike riding through the countryside, and roam around the capital's most famous neighborhoods. From the modern cities of Tokyo and Hiroshima to the island of Miyajima, the wonders of ancient Kyoto and beyond, there is so much to see, taste, and discover.