Born in Kyoto. Photographer and 16th-generation head of Owariya soba business. Ariko Inaoka went to the United States at the age of 17, discovered photography in high school, and went on to study in the Photography program of Parsons School of Design in New York. After graduating, she started her career as a New York-based photographer. In 2001, she experienced the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the United States. The following year she visited Iceland, where she was fascinated by the scenery of the water. Thus began a five-year period of travelling to Iceland to photograph the country’s water-filled landscape, culminating in the release of her first photobook, SOL (Akaaka Art Publishing), in 2008. The next year she began photographing two twin sisters she met in Iceland; this project continued for eight years, and led to the 2020 release of her second photobook, Eagle and Raven (Akaaka Art Publishing). During this time, in 2014, she became the 16th head of the family business, which was founded over 550 years ago. She continues to lead a double work life, as head of the Owariya soba shop and photographer. The beautiful water that springs from the land of Iceland, the soft moss, and the rocks that have been there for centuries. Photographing the sisters growing up surrounded by this magical nature evoked in Inaoka scenes of the waters of Kyoto and memories of her own childhood. Eight million gods dwelling in nature around us... invisible now, but we could see them when we were children. Animism, which flows deep in the Japanese soul, is the consistent theme of Inaoka’s works.