In 2009, Nagomi Visit's founder Megumi visited Denmark for the first time and was invited to a
local family's home for dinner. The new bonds she made from eating this home cooked meal
became the inspiration for Nagomi Visit.
The first Nagomi Visit happened in September 2011 with four guests and hosts that met in
various homes in Tokyo.
For the guests, the Nagomi Visit was their first time in a Japanese home. It was an opportunity to
interact with locals beyond asking a few questions at a tourist information desk. For the host,
being able to meet new people in the comfort of their own home was both relaxing and exciting.
Though each Nagomi Visit is just a few hours, having a conversation over a meal made it easier
for both the hosts and the guests to open up. Many friendships have formed since we began as
an organization. Former guests and hosts have reunited all over the world. The simple Nagomi
Visit experience of eating a home cooked meal together opened the door to so much more.
Nagomi in Japanese has various meanings including "Japan," "to befriend,” and “to feel at
home.” The name Nagomi highlights our mission as a non-profit organization striving to promote
understanding about Japan by bringing people together in a comfortable setting that feels like
home. This mission is carefully reflected in how our program runs.
First, all our hosts are volunteers. We know the host and guest dynamic changes once money
changes hands so the fixed participation fee you pay are set at a price that covers fees to keep
our organization running. Half of the fee the guest pays goes directly to our hosts so they can
buy the ingredients to make your meal. The other half supports operational costs for the Nagomi
Visit team including paying the server fees to run the site you are looking at right now.
Second, just as we believe real life friendships should not come with a price tag, we also know
they do not come with reviews. We feel it will be difficult for friendships to form if you are worried
about being judged by reviews after meeting each other so we made a conscious choice not to
have reviews on our website. We understand this is very unconventional and that you may worry
about safety. Keep in mind that we allow you to review the Nagomi Visit Team so feel free to
read feedback about us and also about our safety measures.
It is important to us that visiting a local home should be more than an activity to be consumed.
We wanted to be mindful with our approach to cultural understanding so we decided to be a
non-profit to construct a program where hospitality can stay genuine.
As a result, over the years we have seen growth in our community. Our hosts have become more
confident speaking in a second language and comfortable interacting with people of different
backgrounds. For our guests, Japan is no longer just a travel destination but it is where their new
Nagomi Visit is still run by this same small team that brought those first four guests and hosts
together in 2011. However since then, more than 1000 volunteer hosts and approximately 7000
guests from 67 countries have chosen to be a part of the Nagomi mission.
To reach our goal, it is important for us as a non-profit organization, to inspire locals in Japan to
open their homes and minds to befriend people from all over the world. We truly believe that if
more people share their lives over lunch or dinner, the more friendlier the world will be. So as an
organization it becomes crucial that the Nagomi Visit experience is accessible to all future guests
and hosts. We welcome you all to sit at the same table and break bread together by "onaji kama
no meshi o kuu" or “eating rice out of the same pot.”
Megumi worked in many areas of tourism before founding Nagomi Visit in 2011. She is a former scuba diving instructor, tour operations manager, and marketing sales manager for online Japan resource japan-guide.com. She has also worked as a cooking instructor at a well known nationwide cooking school.
Alisa’s passion for cultural understanding comes from her unique background as a Japanese American from Texas. She launched an internationally recognized website on Japanese culture in high school called Real Japan, worked in the web industry promoting Japanese products and tourism, and traveled to more than 70 countries.
In all her professional life, Akiko has been connecting people through food. From handling imports at a trading company, to setting up international buyers with producers of traditional Japanese foods, she has extensive experience promoting Japanese cuisine and its products to people from all over the world.
Our Nagomi Visit hosts and guests who meet all across Japan make up the Nagomi Visit community.
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