YES Yakushima guide team

Steve

Steve comes from England and he arrived to Japan (Tottori Prefecture) in 1999. After visiting Yakushima in 2008, Steve & his wife moved to the island in 2010. He is the proud father of two daughters.

Steve`s outdoor lifestyle began when he was 11 when his science teacher (Mr Linn) would regularly take students out hiking in Northumberland, UK. From then on, hiking and camping became an obsession and it finally led him to fulfill his dream by living in Nepal and undertaking numerous Himalayan adventures. Steve considers the less strenuous life as a Yakushima guide as a privilege and he enjoys explaining the beauties of his home – Yakushima.

Steve`s interests are things historical and botanical. When not guiding on Yakushima he makes furniture in his workshop using the local sugi and tends to his chickens!

Brian

Brian grew up in Lowell, Massachusetts USA, where he studied horticulture and Japanese. He first visited Yakushima in 2015 and was overwhelmed by the beauty and grace of the island. Each journey into the forest offers him some new discovery and inspiration, and he is deeply grateful. Brian farms turmeric and rice, and is very proud of his kitchen garden. On rainy days and evenings he enjoys making and playing bamboo flutes. Brian performs at festivals with the island traditional music ensemble and plays sacred music at the local shrine.
Shortly after moving to Yakushima, Brian converted his diesel van to run on waste vegetable oil. He collects used-cooking oil from restaurants and kitchens, and filters the oil at home to fuel his drive away from the carbon economy.

Hiroko

Hiroko moved from Kanagawa to Yakushima with her partner and golden retriever in November of 2011. After her children had left the home, Hiroko decided to pursue an idyllic life in a southern island – Yakushima. She soon fell in love with Yakushima. The idea of co-existing with the beauty of nature, while being environmentally conscious, was a passionate dream since childhood.

Having an educational background in tourism in the USA, Hiroko worked in various occupations after moving to Yakushima. She worked in a local hotel for a year; then at a regional vitalization project lead by the Yakushima Town Authority for a little over two years; and finally at the Yakushima Tourism Association for four and a half years.

Hiroko now enjoys working with inbound tourists by utilizing the knowledge she has gained through her work experience on Yakushima. Hiroko wants to help maximize the tourists’ travel experience by introducing Yakushima’s most scenic places, the local souvenir shops, explaining the history, geology and culture of Yakushima. She hopes to do so with the utmost hospitality, care and respect for visitors’ needs. 

When Hiroko is not working then she enjoys playing ukulele, working in fields surrounded by seasonal crops, fishing on tranquil waters and immersing herself in activities related to nature and animals.

Damien

Damien comes from the United States of America. He has lived in many areas of the United States (Kentucky, California, Nevada), but before arriving to Japan he was a cycle guide around the deserts of Las Vegas! He came from one of the driest locations on the planet to one of the wettest locations on the planet!

Damien is the father to two young boys and he lives in a house on Yakushima that belonged to his wife`s grandparents. Damien`s hobbies include Jiu Jitsu.