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Yuta Arai

Tour Leader

Although born in Yokohama, at the age of two Yuta moved with his family to San Francisco, where his father established a branch of the family’s car repair business. Yuta spent the rest of his childhood through to young adulthood here.

During his formative years Yuta visited Japan several times, the first at the age of nine, when his fascination for his country of birth began. He was particularly struck by the Japanese supportiveness of one another and their kindness to visitors. The many Japanese who came to his home and related stories of their everyday life only further intrigued him, so much so he determined to return to live in Japan. In preparation to fulfil his dream, Yuta took up the study of his parents’ mother-tongue and voraciously read books on Japan, especially its history.

After graduating in Business Management from the College of San Mateo, Yuta joined his father’s business, which had expanded into the import and export of cars and car parts between the USA and Japan. Amongst other duties, Yuta was responsible for taking care of and entertaining their Japanese clients. This led to his first experience as a guide when he found himself leading them around the sights of San Francisco, and to other places of interest including the Grand Canyon, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and Lake Tahoe.

In 2013, Yuta was finally able to realise his dream and moved back to Japan. Although he readily found employment in the automotive sector, he readily admits that the Japanese’s unrelenting work ethic and business culture was not something he had expected at all. Despondent at the intensity of this lifestyle, in 2017 he decided to attend Tokyo’s Temple University, where he gained a qualification in teaching English. He also used his free time to explore Japan’s eastern coast, Yokohama, Saitama, Chiba, Atami, Hakone, and the Izu Peninsula by train, bicycle and on foot. Yuta describes how these adventures showed him how much Japanese culture was to be found not just in the city but also deep into the country side.

Yuta says he has now achieved a lifestyle more suited to his temperament by working part-time for a small, car import-export company in Yokohama, as a translator specialising in the automotive industry, and as a mechanic for a professional Japanese auto racing team participating in the Super GT and Super Taiyu Series. He also devotes time to a regular column in a national Japanese newspaper on business communication in English.

Yuta lives in his city of birth, Yokohama, close to the city’s famed Chinatown. When he has time Yuta enjoys taking road trips to explore other regions of Japan, sometimes alone and sometimes with friends. He also snowboards, although admits he does not find enough time to do this as much as he would like to. He is a regular at his local gym, enjoys shopping for new hiking gear, and has recently become interested in model trains, especially the Shinkansen bullet trains.

Yuta joined Walk Japan as a Tour Leader in 2018.