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Kathie Callum

Oku Japan operates guided, self-guided and custom tours around Japan. Our main office is in Kyoto, and some of our sales staff are based in the UK. In spring 2015, Oku Japan opened a branch office in the village of Chikatsuyu, where we are proud to be part of the local community.

Our mission is a simple one; to introduce visitors to Japan to the beautiful scenery, delightful towns and villages, and above-all the lovely people, we have discovered on our travels. We are a small team of people passionate about Japan, and every one of us speaks Japanese and knows the country intimately. We have travelled the length and breadth of the country; stayed at hundreds of hotels, Ryokan and Minshuku, taken trains, planes, ferries and buses to the far corners of this amazing country, to discover the best food, best accommodation and best service that you can expect.

We strongly believe in travel having a positive impact on both the traveler and the local people. Our tours travel both to the famous sites, but also to the lesser-known places that have not made it into the guidebooks. You may find yourself on a super-fast bullet train one day, and the next sitting in a small country hot spring miles from the nearest town.

We try to strike a balance between easy, comfortable travel, with seeing places that require a degree more effort to get to. Some of our destinations are not visited by any other tour company, and that's because they are not suited to mass-market tourism. Our favourite inns may not have internet access or even their own website, but they have the freshest food and personal service you can't reproduce on a large scale.

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. "

How did you get involved in travel?

"Oku Japan has been bringing travellers to Japan for over 10 years."

Please share a unique travel experience you will never forget.

"Enjoying a traditional shamisen performance in our office on the Kumano Kodo in Chikatsuyu"

Kathie is part of the following groups: Japan Travel Agents
Japan's Nakasendo Trail
Nakasendo Trail: Tokyo to Kyoto - 12 Days

Perfect for active walkers, this trip combines a four-day walk on Japan's Nakasendo Trail, which connected Tokyo and Kyoto during the days of shoguns and samurai, with a visit to three historic Japanese capitals, Tokyo, Nara, and Kyoto. You'll begin your trip in Tokyo, then take to the trail and stay in post towns once used as feudal-era stopover points.  You'll visit UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Nara, Yoshino, and Mount Koya, then spend two nights in Kyoto, where geisha still entertain well-heeled guests and Buddhist temples beckon.

Fall Colors of Kamikochi National Park in the Japanse Alps
Hiking The Japanese Alps From Nakasendo to Takayama - 6 Days

Combine the natural beauty of the Japanese Alps with visits to historic post towns in this 6-day walking adventure. Hike across mountain passes and descend into villages filled with craft shops, gorgeous architecture, and picturesque streets, all while enjoying dramatic views of the alpine scenery. End your trip with an unforgettable hike through Kamikochi Wetlands, but not before sleeping each night in traditional onsen ryokans and enjoying daily hot spring baths.

Trip Highlight: Snowshoeing in the Norikura Highlands
Discover Winter in the Japanese Alps - 6 Days

This 6-day winter tour starts in the buzzy city of Matsumoto and continues into the scenic Japanese Alps for adventures like snowshoeing tours, cable-car rides, and peaceful walks through snow corridors. Stay in traditional alpine villages like Nagano and Oku-Hida where you'll sleep at onsen ryokan inns with relaxing hot springs. End your trip by preparing and eating traditional Japanese cuisine with locals before enjoying a little retail therapy in the city of Takayama.

Noto Peninsula, Japan
Cycling Noto Peninsula, From Kyoto to Notojima Island - 7 Days

Explore the breathtaking natural scenery of the Noto Peninsula in this 7-day cycling 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.

Kasuga Taisha Shrine, Nara
Ancient Capitals of Japan Self-Guided Walking Tour: Asuka and Nara - 5 Days

Explore the ancient capitals of Japan by foot on this walking tour along the country's oldest known road. Visit Tanzan Shrine, one of Japan's oldest Buddhist temples, and wander the streets of Nara's Edo-period merchant district. Walk through forests dotted with statues of the Buddha, and deepen your understanding of Japanese culture with an overnight stay in a ryokan (traditional inn) or minshuku (family-run guesthouse)—or, spend a night or two getting to know a local family with a Japanese homestay.

The wonderful Nakahechi route
Kumano Kodo Self-Guided Tour - 6 Days

Get ready for an unforgettable village-to-village trek on the Kii Peninsula along sections of the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage trail. Perfect for avid hikers, this self-guided tour will take you past thermal hot springs, grand shrines, and waterfalls as you walk in the footsteps of emperors.