Testimonials

Akiko invites us to discover an uncommon path of Nara through its history, spirituality and its actual issues.  By extension, she introduces how Japanese identity has developped by stopping at the main attractions of the city: Kôfukuji, Tôdaiji, Kasuga taisha.  Witnesses of the varied and precious legacy, past-present-future 

combine and give us a new aspect of the archipelago. Really great experience !! " 

Maï U.-(France)

"Akiko’s passion for the Nara/Yamato region shines brightly.  Her deep knowledge of Japanese spirituality opens your eyes to a new way of seeing, and being.  The special experiences we have shared together on our travels have enriched my life.  Akiko’s tours visit places of great significance and provide a unique perspective on Japan.
I highly recommend her as a guide".

- Professor Jann Williams -(Australia)

"Akiko is an exquisite guide. She brings depth to understanding the rich spiritual heritage of Nara."
 

- Cynda Rushton-(USA)

"Akiko Murakami is a knowledgeable, personable and kind guide. She will go the extra mile so you encounter Japan deeply, feel cared for and happy. It is a pleasure to be with this beautiful, intelligent, effervescent woman.

I recommend her 100%". 

- Hari Kirin-(USA)

"We had such an amazing experience yesterday. Thank you so much for everything! Your deep knowledge of spiritual traditions rooted in the long history of Japan provided an enlightening experience. I look forward to being in touch! You are the greatest!!

Than you so much!!". 

- Chas Curtis -(USA)

"We loved our day with Akiko!  It was the most enjoyable,  adventuresome, expansive and meaningful of all the tours we took in Japan!". 

- David & Sharon Pettus-(Hawai)

"After a few days wandering in Japan in Tokyo, Nikko, Kyoto and Toba, meeting wonderful people, visiting a few temples, eating exquisite food and drinking delicious sake, I ended up without any expectations in Nara. NARA!!!

 

Unexpected, what a surprise! Akiko is quite responsible for this wonderful experience. Annoyed not being able to understand the beauties and complexity of the temples, their content and their “cultural rules or ethic behaviors to observe”, Akiko was referred to me and I spent the most valuable part of my trip in Japan with her, where 2 days ended being 4 in Nara and its surroundings.

 

 More than a guide, Akiko is a sparkling woman eager for knowledge and just as generous in sharing them. She knew exactly what I was looking for, and passionately allow me to spend time with her, in marvelous places where I could at last really appreciate Japan, a part of its culture, its spirituality, its history, its creativity and more…sake ice cream ;-) The greatest discover Akiko made me realize was this one: Japanese are native people, still close to their environment and embracing spirituality in balance with mother earth quite identical to the native people in Quebec /Canada.

I wish there was an Akiko everywhere I travel!!! "

 

-Suzann from Montreal (Quebec, Canada)

"We were blessed to spend two private days with Akiko exploring beautiful temples in Nara and then the Kumara Temple.  We were in Japan at the height of Cherry Blossom season which was amazing but very crowded at the most famous sites.  

 

Akiko took us off the beaten path where we could actually experience the beauty and serenity of these sacred sites. without throngs of tourists.  

 

She is a Nara native and clearly loves the area. She is very knowledgable about history and customs and well as the Spiritual traditions which infuse not only these sacred sites but all of Japanese culture.  Her English is very good, allowing us to have a deep conversation.

We are meditators and also wanted a contemplative experience and she was equally at ease sharing her wisdom and knowledge as allowing us to walk and sit in silence.

 

Akiko was also very accommodating as I had gotten sick and could not do the more lengthy hiking we had planned to do.  She effortlessly re-wove our days to be more gentle while still providing an immersive experience.  We are very grateful. "

-Judith & Robert-(Colorado, USA)

The spirit of Japan has many forms ... maybe as many as there are Shinto gods. It was through Akiko that I have been able to voyage much further on my own spiritual quest. She has deep knowledge of and is very well connected to the area, which opens wide the doors into Japanese culture, history and spirituality.

 

That was five trips back, and each time Akiko has been a remarkable resource. Then, two years ago Akiko took me to me to Miwa--1 mountain, many Shinto shrines. She taught me how the Japanese purify themselves before talking with the gods. There, we visited one shrine dedicated to couples. It was there that I first knew that I would propose to the women with whom I would spend all of the rest of my spiritual days.

 

A year later Akiko took my fiancé and I back to Miwa Mountain as a full moon rose above the shrine... it was then we knew we wanted our wedding to be in Japan. 

This year, I proposed to that wonderful woman at shrine in Kyoto, and along the way, Akiko has been my introduction to the spirits of Japan who are now my guides for living the rest of my life.  

 

What started as a series of spiritual encounters in JAPAN has led to a journey with the woman with whom I will live all of the rest of my days!

 

Thank you Akiko! "

- Toby M. -(USA)

"This tour is perfect for anyone that has an interest in Japanese traditions and culture, as Akiko is very knowledgeable about both. She provides a unique and interesting perspective, having grown up in the Nara prefecture, but also studying abroad. It was great to have a local take us to some off-the-beaten-path temples, and explain some lesser-known facts about Japanese culture.

She definitely went above and beyond to make us feel comfortable, and was able to answer all of our various questions! Akiko is very personable, and always has a new fact to tell you. We thoroughly enjoyed our time with her!". 

- Rachel Toyonaga-(Canada)

"It has been great to have met you! I intensely enjoyed the day we could share together!

So much fascinating information about the rich history of Japan and the region around it.

So much beauty and wisdom which tends to be hidden. I think indeed its great that you try to have this side of Japan made available!

Great memories!". 

- Yan Huijis -(The Netherlands)

"Hello Akiko,

Each one of us enjoyed our time with you, your knowledge and willingness to share your space with us was truly special. 

The meaning of Yamato resinates so strongly within, meeting you and learning from you was the absolute best part of my trip to Japan, my only regret was how short the time was. 

I can’t tell you how great it was getting to know you, thank you for everything ️!

Oh by the way how special was that blessing from the priest!!?  I can still feel the peace from that moment". 

-----------------------------

Akiko’s tour was extraordinary! Her knowledge and willingness to share her space was enlightening, we left with more knowledge about Japanese history and a definite resolve to go back. Akiko was insightful, light hearted, fun and engaging she was the absolute best part of our fabulous trip to Japan!

- Monique Single-(Colorado, USA)

"Such a great day! Akiko showed us many interesting spots and had so much valuable information about the history of each place. Highly recommend! Thank you very much!!"

- Taylor -(USA)

A few years ago, my fiancé walked into a shop in the historic old section of Nara, Japan, looking for information about the famous, local Samurai sword maker. It was there he met Akiko, who not only introduced him to the sword maker but took him under her wing and shared all of the beauty and magic that was Nara, Japan. She took him to the legendary and most sacred mountain of the god, Miwa. They visited the couples shrine, where he made a wish . . . a year later he proposed to me in a shrine in Kyoto and Akiko has become a member of our global family. Her passion for and her knowledge of the sacred places in Nara and Japan is unsurpassed. If you have been searching for a safe and pure place—one of peace, serenity and all that is shibui, then let Akiko show you the way.”       

- Patricia Vining -(USA)

About Japan, with understanding of the meaning of Yamato...

“ One of the few places on earth steeped in thousands of years of native spirituality  and a loving respectful partnership with nature, that has not only spanned the millennia but has thrived and made Japan a modern marvel and a major influence on the world stage .”

 

- Patricia. -(USA)

"Our day with Akiko in Nara was one of the loveliest and most inspirational days of our entire trip to Japan. Akiko offers a wealth of information on the roots and practice of Japanese spirituality, on ecology, on the history of the women in Japan. She guided us to areas we would never have discovered on our own.  We delighted in every aspect of our time with her…. from the somen noodle shop and vending machine crepes to the traditional Japanese ceremonies we witnessed with her to the shrines and temples. Through it all, we so enjoyed not only Akiko’s knowledge, but also Akiko as a person… her passion, her curiosity, her commitment to so many good things. I highly recommend spending a day or more in Akiko’s company. You will be so glad you did!". 

- Connie Hernandez 

Naturopathic Doctor, 

Mountain View, California -(USA)

"The beautiful Akiko is as ethereal & as vibrant as the blossoms she guided us to see. Walking along the Philosopher’s Path in the gentle light of late afternoon - after an exquisite day of being in & with the temples historically, spiritually and mythologically - we laughed, shared matcha & strawberry ice-cream and delighted in the beauty of Sakura. Akiko opens so many doors and her spontaneity, passion, grace & humour have touched us in a way that revealed a glimpse of Kyoto that made us feel truly blessed. 

Thank-you..."

- Siobhan, Knysna -(South Africa)

You can see more than 40 reviews from the Airbnb Experinece site that I host

 

"Explore spiritual power spots in ancient Yamato"

"I loved this experience because got very deep understanding of Japanese shrine and temple culture. If you want to experience Nara in a different way, not touristy, but seeing gems and experience culture, you should go!

 

Lunch was awesome at a family owned restaurant and Mochi as well! Really loved the day and would go again! "

- Nicole -(Irland)

"Visites exceptionnelles avec Akiko qui est très attentionné et passionné ."

- Claude Zanello-(Vichy, France)

"Akiko est une personne adorable avec qui nous avons pu discuter et en apprendre beaucoup sur l'histoire de la création du Japon en tant qu'Etat unifié, sur les religions shintô et bouddhiste. Hors des sentiers battus touristiques nous avons pu voir de beaux monuments aux longues histoires et légendes. Manger un repas traditionnel de nouilles "somen" fraîchement préparées, faire une halte dans un temple,..., le tout en discutant de l'expérience comme d'autres choses sur le Japon. Cette "expérience" est adressée à tous, mais il vous faudra parler suffisamment l'anglais (ou le japonais bien sûr). Nous vous recommandons vivement la visite d'Akiko dans la région de Yamato". 

-Pierre Eric & Agathe-(France)

"Akiko is an great host and an amazing storyteller! She knew Japanese history, Shinto and Buddhism very well. I'm amazed she can answer almost every random questions came to our mind during the tour. Akiko told Japanese stories from the Japanese point of view, which was inspired to me. It's much deeper than foreign resources about Japan . The six hour tour went by quicker because we visited so many places. We also went to the noodle place where seems only local people will visit. The noodle set was delicious and fresh! I highly recommended this tour to people who are interested in Japanese history and want to visit local spiritual spots!"

- Zia -(San Francisco, USA)

"An absolutely fantastic experience! Akiko really knew everything there was to know about our destinations, answered every single question in wonderful detail. Her english was fantastic too so I really felt like I learned alot. Would absolutely take another tour with her! So wonderful and friendly"

- Ashley -(USA)

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