Naoko was born and raised in Osaka, Japan. She started skiing as soon as she could walk and grew up ski racing from a child and through her teenage years in Nagano Region.

Naoko continued skiing while she was studying in the USA, Australia and Japan. Her first visit to New Zealand was in 2003 during her university holiday and she made the switch from SAJ to NZSIA in 2004.

After she completed her degree and convinced her parents to let her work “only 1 season” as a full-time instructor before getting a “real job”. She loved instructing so much that “1 season” has become her permanent job. She has been working at Cardrona Alpine Resort since 2005.

Naoko has also taught skiing in the USA and Japan, and previously worked as translator for Japanese ski magazines. She owns and currently manages her own ski school in Hokkaido Japan.