Opening Japan's Oceans

Konpira Consulting logo

We focus on Opening Japan's Oceans to foreign and Japanese tourists who want to experience the wonders of Japan's beautiful and varied marine environment, be it on their own boat, on chartered yachts, or by kayak. We also support the development and operation of marinas to cater to the rising number of cruisers, as well as play an active role in the marine-tourism industry.

Our Approach


We put ourselves in each customer’s situation to understand what they want and how we can meet their unique expectations. A yacht tour, for instance, would be built around a client’s specific interests, such as culture or cuisine or hiking.


We try to anticipate a customer's needs and, in particular, identify problems and find solutions earlier rather than later. For example, for a cruising client, we plot various moorage options up to a week in advance of an approaching typhoon.

People and Culture

What makes Japan such a wonderful place to visit are its friendly people and rich culture. For each of our clients, therefore, we strive to give them opportunities to meet local people, to experience the culture first-hand, and to foster cultural understanding and intercultural communication.


A photo of Konpira Shrine gate

Konpira Consulting gets its name from the Buddhist god, Konpira, who protects sailors and other seafarers.

Just to make things a bit confusing, though, Konpira is best known as the name of a Shinto shrine in Shikoku. And, more confusing still, the technical name for Konpira Shrine is actually Kotohira Shrine. Before the "modern era" started after the Meiji Restoration of 1868, Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines were often intermingled, but then the government forced them to choose one or the other (especially to reinforce the Shinto lineage of the Emperor). So Kotohira chose to be a Shinto shrine, but it continues to be best known by its Buddhist name of Konpira.

The Shinto counterpart of the Buddhist god who protects sailors is Omononushi-no-Mikoto. But somehow Omononushi-no-Mikoto Consulting doesn't quite lend itself to contemporary brand building!

Whether you prefer the Buddhist or Shinto god, or no god at all, Konpira Consulting is committed to protecting all those who want to safely experience the wonders of Japan's oceans.

Meet Kirk Patterson

A photo of Kirk with Silk Purse
A photo of Kirk and Silk Purse
A photo of Kirk and his wife

Kirk Patterson, the founder of Konpira Consulting, is a Canadian who has lived in Japan for over 30 years and can speak and read Japanese fluently. After 25 years working in senior management positions in Tokyo, he retired to pursue his long-held dream of becoming an offshore sailor (despite having zero sailing experience). Returning to Canada, he bought a 40' steel cutter – Silk Purse – and spent four years learning to sail by cruising the BC/Alaska coast, always solo.

Learning that no foreigner had ever done a full circumnavigation of Japan, Kirk decided to attempt that before heading to the south Pacific and then perhaps around the world. In 2012, he sailed from Victoria, B.C., to Honolulu, where the threat of typhoons forced him to wait 11 months before continuing on to Japan (and so became a Waikiki bartender to top up the cruising kitty). He reached Japan the following year and then spent three years circumnavigating the entire archipelago.

Kirk quickly realized that Japan is a fantastic cruising ground – many positives and very few negatives. But it is virtually unknown to foreign cruisers. So, after the circumnavigation, he decided to stay a bit longer to write a Japan cruising guide before continuing on to other parts of the world.

As the expression goes, though, "Life is what happens when you're making other plans." Kirk met a lovely woman at a marina in Fukuoka, got married, and decided to live permanently in Japan. He continued to cruise Japan, gathering information for the cruising guide, and then "swallowed the anchor" in 2019 to focus full-time on Konpira Consulting.

Work on the Japan cruising guide continues, with a targeted publication date of 2021.

Kirk has a Ph.D. in international relations with a specialization in Japanese studies. Combining his academic background with his love of the ocean, he is engaged in an extensive research project on Japan's historic and cultural relationship with the sea. Why is Japan, a highly developed island nation, not a maritime culture, unlike England?

Kirk looks forward to sharing his love of the ocean and of Japan with people from around the world.