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Junko Nakahama

After Junko graduated in English and American Literature from Gakushuin University in Tokyo, she began her career as a writer, firstly in travel and subsequently in food and wine. She is widely published in her home country including in many leading magazines such as Brutus, Premium, Vinotheque, Agora and Chikyu-no-arukikata. The latter is Japan’s equivalent of the Lonely Planet. She has also authored her own book, Natural Wine, and translated Every Class in a Glass into Japanese. Her writing career led her to qualify as a wine sommelier which in turn led her to teach natural wine classes at Japan’s famed Mitsukoshi Department Store in Tokyo’s Nihonbashi.

Junko relates that a chance invitation to interpret at a Georgian, the country not the US state, wine tasting event held in 2014 became the spark that led her to become a travel guide. Realising how much she liked working in both the Japanese and English spoken languages, meeting people and travelling she began leading tours soon after.

Junko believes strongly that food culture is an ideal way to understanding any country. Not surprisingly, she delights in introducing Japan’s many and varied cuisines, especially at off-the-beaten-track restaurants, and in facilitating conversations with fellow local diners.

Junko combines her dual careers by working as a guide during the spring and autumn, and travels the world in summer and winter visiting artisanal wine and food producers to discover their stories for her Japanese readers. During the pandemic she also taught online classes in Japanese cuisine for US audiences and began training in conference interpretation.

Junko made her first trip overseas as a university student when she stayed with a family in the suburbs of New York. Since then she has travelled frequently abroad visiting North America and Chile, most European and many Asia countries, the Middle East and north Africa for both pleasure and for her work as a writer.

Born in Tokyo, Junko has made it her home ever since. To relax she practices the sado tea ceremony, dressing in kimono, cooking and yoga.

Junko became a Walk Japan Tour Leader in 2022.