Charismatic Interpreter - Tour Guide

Yoko Hori Is a City Girl!

通訳案内士の世界 保里陽子






2020年のオリンピック開催を控え、今、世界に空前の日本ブームが巻き起こっている。政府は、当初、来日外国人観光客者数1000万人を目標にしていたが、2013年に既にその数字はいとも簡単にクリアしてしまった。 Ahead of the 2020 Olympic Games, an unprecedented "Japan Boom” is now happening around the world. Initially, the Japanese government’s target number for visiting foreign tourists up until the Olympics had been 10 million people, and that figure was easily cleared in 2013.


年々増え続ける外国人観光客。それを迎え入れ、日本の真の魅力を伝えるのが私たち通訳案内士の仕事。  Foreign tourists continue to pour in year after year. Most welcoming of trend are the ones whose job it is to communicate the true charms of Japan, the interpreter–tour guides.


今回、登場して頂いたべっぴんは、この通訳案内士業界で誰もが第一人者と認める保里陽子氏。彼女が通訳ガイドとして歩んできた道のり、カリスマ通訳案内士から見た日本の魅力、そして、「She’s a city girl!」と呼ぶにふさわしい、チャーミングで洗練された、彼女の最先端な生き方を紹したい。 This time, the Beppin we present is Yoko Hori, an undisputed guru in the interpreter–tour guide industry. I would like to introduce you to the path she has taken as an interpreter–tour guide, try to convey the appeal of Japan as seen from her a perspective, and explain why “She’s a city girl!” is an apt description of her sophisticated, charming, and state-of-the-art way of life.


彼女との待ち合わせは、東京、六本木ヒルズの片隅にあるオープンカフェ。お気に入りだというマイケル・コースのワンピースとサングラスに身を包んだ彼女が店に現れた瞬間に、周囲の空気が彼女の色に染まった。そして、BGMがどこからか聴こえてきた。ビリー・ジョエルの「Uptown Girl 」。  My meet-up with Yoko takes place in Tokyo, at an open-air café situated on the corner of Roppongi Hills. When she appears on time decked out in her favorite Michael Kors one-piece and sporting sunglasses, the surrounding air seems tinted with her color. Then my ears pick up an ambient background melody coming out of nowhere . . .  Billy Joel’s "Uptown Girl."


大輪の花のように人を魅了する華やかな存在感を放つ一方で、少女のような可憐さも兼ね備えたミステリアスな女性。注文したパンケーキを口にしながら、「私は、仕事に入ったらプロに徹するし、リーダーシップも発揮するけど、プライベートはそうじゃないの。」と語る彼女。二つのアンバランスな顔を見せる彼女はまぎれもないアップタウンガールである。  This is one mysterious woman: her glamorous presence is like a huge flower that attracts everyone's attention, while at the same time she radiates the loveliness of a young lady. While nibbling the pancakes we ordered, she tells me “Once I go to work, I’m a total professional and I will fully exert my leadership. But in private, I’m not at all like that.”  It is undeniably such an uptown girl who feels free to reveal those asymmetrical sides of herself.


東京生まれの東京育ち。名門ミッションスクールに通い、国際協力機構に勤務していた父親の影響で、幼い頃から、彼女は「国際交流」を日常的に経験してきた。  Born and raised in Tokyo, she attended a prestigious mission school through the influence of her father, who was working at the Japan International Cooperation Agency. From a young age, Yoko Hori was gaining experience in “international exchange” on a daily basis.


彼女はいつも「英語」が周囲から聞こえてくる環境で育ち、欧米文化を間近に見てきた。「外国の生活に憧れていたの。映画トップガンの世界がとても好きだった。」と彼女は語る。彼女の中には、もっと本格的に英語を使いこなし、国際交流をしたい、という思いが常にあった。   Because she grew up in an environment where English was always a part of her surroundings, Western culture was also within close view. “I’d longed for a life overseas,” she confides to me. “I loved the world of the movie Top Gun.” So she devoted herself to mastering the English language, with the intent of  working in international exchange.


そして、無類の「旅好き」な少女でもあった。「英語」と「旅」、この二つが結びついた、通訳案内士という職業に後に彼女が就くことになったのも必然だったのかもしれない。 There was also an unsquelchable “travel-lover” side of that young girl as well. “English” and “travel” are naturally complementary to each other, so it may have been inevitable for her to one day take up the profession of interpreter–tour guide.


そして、大学在学中に留学を決意し、渡米。教室では、先生の話を一言も聞き逃さないように、と、いつも一番前の席に座って勉強に励んだ。毎日10冊の英語の本を読んだ。アメリカ人のボーイフレンドとの楽しい時間も過ごした。がむしゃらに夢に向かって突き進んでいた日々だった。  Eventually it was decided that Yoko would attend college in America. So as to never miss a word that the professors were saying, she always took a front seat in class, working diligently at her studies. And every day she was reading ten English-language books as part of her coursework. During breaks in between studying, she enjoyed spending some time with her American boyfriend. In those days, she wholeheartedly immersed herself in the pursuit of her dreams.


帰国後、彼女は、国家資格である通訳ガイド試験を目指した。当時、通訳ガイド試験は合格率3パーセント程の超難関試験だったが、彼女は三回のトライアルで合格、晴れて、通訳案内士としての一歩を踏み出した。  After returning home to Japan, she focused on getting her professional qualification by passing the national interpreter–tour guide test. At that time, the national test was a formidable challenge with a success rate of just three percent of applicants. Yoko could pass it on her third try with flying colors, so with a bright horizon to look forward to, she stepped out into the world of the professional interpreter–tour guide.


通訳案内士になってからは、東京、鎌倉、箱根、京都を一週間で回るロングツアーを延々とこなした。「仕事は大変だったけど、立派な通訳ガイドになりたい、という思いで必死に頑張った。」と。 そんな一生懸命で、希望に満ち溢れた彼女を見て、当時の通訳ガイドの先輩達が色々と彼女にアドバイスをしてくれた。彼女は人に恵まれている。彼女の周りには昔から素敵な人達が常に自然に集まってきた。 What followed was a whirlwind of bookings for week-long guided tours around Tokyo, Kamakura, Hakone and Kyoto. “It was extremely difficult work,” Yoko says, “but I wanted to become a brilliant tour guide so much that I kept on with a sort of life-or-death determination.” Seeing her so full of hope and in such near-desperation at that time compelled senior tour guides to offer her a wide range of sound advice. When it comes to people, Yoko is blessed; since the early days, exceptional individuals have naturally tended to congregate around her.



全てが順風満帆だった。しかし、そんな彼女を、突然、病魔が襲った。治療法も確立していない難病だった。当時の彼女は年間260日以上ツアーで日本中を回っていた。完全なオーバーワークだった。  So everything was smooth sailing — until suddenly and without warning, she became seriously ill. And the diagnosis turned out to be a disease for which there is no cure. At that time, Yoko had been conducting tours all around Japan for more than 260 days a year. She was utterly overworked.


医者からは絶対安静を言い渡された。彼女は絶望した。「私の人生はもうこれで終わりだと思った」と、彼女は語る。しかし、彼女は、医者の言う通り、絶対安静にはしていなかった。「もし、仕事中に死んでも、それは本望だと思った。」   The doctor prescribed total bedrest. This plunged her into a deep despair. “I thought that my life was completely over,” she admits. However, counter to the doctor’s directive, Yoko chose not to spend endless days in bed. “This had been my long-cherished ambition,” she says, “even if I would end up dying on the job."

yoko3彼女は病院を抜け出し、仕事に生きることを選んだ。  So as Yoko left the hospital, she chose to live for her work. 


この時、彼女に救いの手がさしのべられた。以前、体調が悪すぎて、ツアーを途中で棄権してしまった経緯があったのだが、この時のエージェントが彼女に再出発のチャンスをくれた。彼女の今までの実績、人間性を信頼してのことだった。「この時は感謝の気持ちしかなかった。」と、彼女は当時を振り返る。  At this time, helping hands reached out to her. Despite her history of having to withdraw from tour-guide duties occasionally because of health problems, now agents were offering her new opportunities to start all over again. Her achievements up to that point rested on a simple trust in humanity. “All I could feel was gratitude then,” she remembers.


それからは、「とにかく、日本に来るお客様を私のガイディングで全員ハッピーにさせなきゃ。それがこれからの私に与えられた使命。」と彼女は自分自身に誓った。  She swore to herself that in any case she would be sure to make every Japan visitor in her care as happy as possible. “I gave myself that mission from then on,” she says.


そして、現在。彼女は相変わらず、毎日通訳ガイドとして忙しく日本中を飛び回っている。そして、その一方で、「後進の人達を育てていきたい。それで社会貢献ができれば嬉しいと思う。」と、新人通訳案内士の指導にあたる活動にも精力的に取り組んでいる。  Now we’re back in the present. And Yoko is still as busy as a bee, each day zipping here and there around Japan. At the same time, she also pursues another important objective in her work: “I want to mentor young people who wish to become tour guides,” she says. “I’ll be quite happy if I’m able to make that kind of contribution to society.” So she is energetically involved in various activities to prepare the newly arrived rookie tour guides.



日本は本当に魅力的な国。人は親切で勤勉。四季があり、それが衣食住に見事に反映されている。和食を例にとってみても、世界遺産に登録され、芸術と呼べる域までの美しさを追求している。全てが美しい国。新旧のものが絶妙のバランスで混在しており、日本を訪れる外国人観光客の目を決して飽きさせることがない。この訪日外国人観光客の「一生に一度の最高の旅の思い出作り」のお手伝いができるようにと願いつつ、毎日、多くのお客様を笑顔で迎え入れる彼女。 Japan is a truly fascinating country. The people are kind and hard-working. The four distinct seasons are beautifully reflected in the cuisine, fashions, and architecture. In 2013, UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) awarded Japanese cuisine itself inclusion on its List of Intangible Cultural Heritage, a testament to diverse pursuits in the realm of beauty that can be called art. All are the stuff of a beautiful country. Japan's exquisite balance of old and new ensures that the eyes of overseas tourists will certainly never be bored. And Yoko welcomes all of her foreign guests with a big smile that conveys her determination to help make for them “memories of their best once-in-a-lifetime journey.”


ユーモアあふれる軽妙なトーク、豊富な知識、通訳ガイドとして必要なこれらの資質に関して、彼女の右に出るものはいない。 No one else is quite like Yoko when it comes to humorous and clever conversation and a great wealth of knowledge, which are all essential to being a good guide.



今までに何万人ものお客様と出会ってきた。政府関係者やハリウッドスターなど、VIPの対応も多数してきたが、「どのお客様も全てVIPだと考えて、わけへだてない最高のおもてなしを提供してきたつもり。」と彼女は語る。 By now she has met tens of thousands of people — from government officials to Hollywood celebrities, as well as received correspondences from numerous other VIPs. But Yoko says, “I believe that all of my clients are VIPs. It would not be the best hospitality from me to offer any favoritism."


また、「一日のツアーでも、二週間のツアーでも、お客様にとってはかけがえのない、もしかしたら、一生に一度の日本訪問かもしれない。そのvisitを思い出深い、素晴らしいものにするのがガイドの仕事。この『一期一会』の出会いを最高のものにするためには、まずは、自分自身を常に磨き続ける努力をし続けなければ。」と語る。その言葉通り、彼女は常に時代を先取りするアンテナを張り、情報収集に余念がない。  In addition, “Whether it’s a one-day tour or a two-week tour, it is irreplaceable for the client,” she observes. "It may be a once-in-a-lifetime visit to Japan. So it’s the guide’s work to make it a most memorable and spectacular thing. To make this Forrest Gump-like (unique and treasured) encounter the very best it can be, first and foremost I must constantly strive to continue refining myself."


そして、一人の女としても、常に魅力的でいる努力も怠らない。女はいつまでも若く、美しく、そして、華があった方が結果的に仕事も上手くいくし、実りある人生を謳歌することができる。これは、私の主催するBe Japanese のコンセプトと一致するのだが、彼女もこれに共感してくれ、Be Japanese の活動に協力してくれている。  Also as a single women, one must not neglect efforts to remain attractive. For a woman to be always young and beautiful, in fact to flower, cultivates a sophistication that invites success in her business, and helps her to enjoy a fruitful life. This is consistent with the “Be Japanese” concept that I oversee, and Yoko, who is sympathetic to this cause, has kindly been willing to involve herself in the activities of “Be Japanese."


yokohori都会的で、洗練されていて、遊び心があって、型にはまらず、自由に生きる、が、その一方で、日本の伝統を慈しむ精神を持ち合わせる、これが、Be Japanese が定義する「べっぴん」のイメージ。彼女はこのイメージ通りの生き方を実践している女性である。  Urbane, sophisticated, playful, atypical, free to live, yet possessing the kind of spirit that cherishes the traditions of Japan — these are what “Be Japanese” defines as the image of Beppin. Yoko Hori is one such woman who applies the Beppin image to the life that she lives.


保里陽子、彼女こそ、最先端都市、東京に生きるシティガールを代表する女性である。Yoko Hori, she is an icon of the Tokyo city girls!


古い慣習にとらわれず、自由を謳歌。ポップなのに気品漂う、現代をタフに生きる女性 。洗練されていてクール、それでいて、脆い部分ももちろんある。傷の一つや二つあって当たり前、それでも、いつも前を向いて笑顔で生きていく。シティガールは、欲しいものを手に入れるのに絶対に妥協なんてしない。シティガールはただ今、ゴルフに夢中♡ 忙しい毎日を送る中、何とか時間を作ってはコースを回り、ゴルフを楽しんでいる。転んだって、また起き上がってもう一度頑張ればいい。進化し続ける街、東京にふさわしい、進化し続ける彼女。これからの彼女がどのように進化し続けていくのか、彼女からは絶対に目が離せない。  Unconstricted by old customs, enjoying freedom. High elegance with a great pop sensibility, and a spirited approach to modern life. Sophisticated and cool, yet with, of course, a frail and delicate part also. Granted, there are one or two scrapes, but even so always moving forward in life with a smile. A city girl will absolutely not compromise to get what she wants. A city girl is hooked on golf now♡ Although she is leading a busy life, she finds some time to play golf and live an enjoyable life. And when she takes a fall, it’s fine to get back up and try once more. Like the city that continues to evolve, appropriate to Tokyo, Yoko Hori also evolves. And from now on, how will she continue to evolve? We will be sure to keep an eye on her.






Yoko`s recommendable spot for the sightseeing in Japan !


京都 高桐院(こうとういん) 

Kotoin temple, which is a subtemple of Daitokuji in Kyoto


The grounds of the Koto-in are famed for its stunning autumn leaves. The Koto-in’s south garden beside the main prayer hall is particularly famous. Established in the early Edo period, the garden was created in order to enjoy the best of the seasons. The soothing greens of early summer, and the gorgeous colours of autumn’s maple trees make the Koto-in a popular site, especially in late November when the fallen leaves create a stunning red and orange blanket draped over the thick, green mattress of moss. Seasonal sweets and powdered green tea can be enjoyed while experiencing this stunning view.

Address: 73 Murasakino-Daitokuji-cho, Kita-ku,,Kyoto


Be Japanese

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Office : 3rd Floor, 36-6 Udagawacho Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, 150-0042 Japan


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