From age 3, Hiroko Akima began to drink matcha tea with her rather unusual family in a Buddhist temple in Shimane prefecture. She learned manners with her parents, being in harmony with her father (Omotosenke tea) and her mother (Urasenke tea). She began her formal study of tea at 14 years old, continuing chanoyu (hot water and tea) throughout her university education in chemistry.
In 1986, Akima-san received teaching certification. She moved to the U.S. in 1989 and began teaching and demonstrating Chado (the way of tea), receiving her master's diploma in 2010. She teaches both adults and children, is an accomplished oil painter, ikebana artist, and loves making her own wagashi (japanese tea sweets!)