Tenkara USA is the first company to introduce tenkara rods outside of Japan. Founded in 2009 by Daniel W. Galhardo, Tenkara USA is a fully independent company, based in Boulder, Colorado. We strive to provide the tenkara gear and knowledge needed for people to enjoy simple fly-fishing.
In 2007, Daniel discovered tenkara while researching the history and culture of fishing in Japan. In 2008, he visited Japan for his first time with his wife and saw tenkara in person. He returned to the US with a tenkara rod in his bag and started enjoying tenkara on backpacking trips. The method was simple and effective; yet, there was no information in English on tenkara. Daniel decided he wanted to share tenkara with people, it would make it easy for people to take-up fly-fishing and experienced anglers like himself were sure to enjoy its minimalist nature. He realized that to share tenkara he could have written many articles and books about it, but if people didn’t get a chance to experience tenkara for themselves it would not spread. Thus, Daniel set out to create a business designing tenkara rods, tenkara lines and tenkara flies and putting them in the hands of people.
In March of 2009, after several months of hard work creating the business and a month before Tenkara USA officially “opened doors”, Daniel left his nascent career in international banking to dedicate himself full-time to creating Tenkara USA. There were many challenges ahead with introducing a type of fishing that doesn’t target the largest fish around and went against the grain of the established industry.
Tenkara has been called a fad, and was initially dismissed by the industry. But, it’s probably not an exaggeration to say that tenkara has since created a small revolution in the fly-fishing industry. 5 years on, tenkara has proven it is here to stay.
Tenkara USA X Japan
Part of what makes us unique is our connection with Japan. Tenkara is a method of fishing that comes from Japan with a long history. We are not trying to reinvent the wheel here, but rather to share the tenkara story. We believe the easiest way to keep tenkara simple is to look at the Japanese tenkara anglers and what they have to teach us.
We have been fortunate to connect and be taught by the most respected anglers in Japan. We also count on their support in the development of our products. Daniel goes to Japan yearly and spends time fishing and sharing what he learns. That provides insights into tenkara that one could not get otherwise, and helps in the development of our product as well as the instruction we provide. For posts about Japan, visit our blog
Meet our team
Tenkara USA is a team of responsive tenkara anglers dedicated to sharing tenkara. While we work with outside firms for some other aspects of our business (such as fulfillment), and count on supporters at events, the team below is our close-knit in-house staff with whom you're likely to interact when you reach out. Tenkara is who we are.
Daniel founded Tenkara USA in 2009 and introduced tenkara outside of Japan. He strives to ensure tenkara touches and inspires people to simplify their fly-fishing experience.
TJ has been working with us since 2011 and is in charge of customer service. His jolly smile and friendly connection with customers has helped ensure Tenkara USA earn a reputation for terrific customer service.
John Geer brings decades of fly-fishing with him. He helps us give the impression of having 24/7 customer support (which because of him we kind of do). He also works with our dealer network and at events.
Jeremy Shellhorn is our in-house graphic designer. Jeremy brings a unique sensibility to our brand; his work is the embodiment of tenkara in graphic form. Jeremy is also the illustrator and designer for Daniel’s “tenkara – the book”.
Margaret helps Tenkara USA stay in touch with teachers and friends, joins on visits to Japan as an interpreter and helps with projects. Daniel and Margaret got married in 2007; soon after they visited her relatives in Japan and Daniel got hooked on tenkara.
Faith Clauson has been an integral team member that jumps on whatever projects come her way and works closely with Daniel. Faith supports our operations in a way that allows more and more people to be reached by tenkara.
Jen Kugler Hansen ensures we stay in touch with you all through social media and helps us use those channels to spread tenkara. Jen is based in Idaho at the moment, but spends a lot of time traveling and fishing around the world.
Eiko helps with our communications with factories and teachers, interpreting when we bring people in from Japan, and translating writings from Japanese anglers. She helps us share knowledge directly from the source.
Why we exist
It is possible to make many things in life complex. We can choose to carry multiple fly patterns with us. We can carry multiple line weights. We can carry accessories along. When we don’t know any better, it may seem like the burden of carrying additional things in our fishing packs (in addition to the burden of then having to think about those additional things) will add value to our fishing and make it easier.
Often it does not. We exist to tell people that fly-fishing is much simpler than it seems. We exist because we believe that with more people taking up fly-fishing the more closely they will connect with their environment and help take care of it. We exist because we want to share the fun of tenkara by making the best tenkara rods so you don’t have to think about them. We exist to share the tenkara story.
The tenkara story tells us we can leave many things behind. And, after we know that we can leave stuff behind, what we then do is simply a matter of choice.
Our Environmental Commitment
From our very first day we have committed to supporting the environmental organization that look after places we recreate. Between excise taxes and our 1% for the Planet commitment, every Tenkara USA rod set you purchase helps contribute $16 to caring for fish habitat.
Tenkara USA is the only tenkara company committed to
donating at least 1% of its revenues (sales, not profits) to environmental organizations.
To date (2020) we have contributed well over half a million dollars to the environment.
Main Organizations We Support:
For any tenkara questions you have, help with our Tenkara Care® guarantee and tenkara rod replacement parts, to place an order or figure out what is the best tenkara equipment for you, contact our responsive customer service team.
Highly regarded by the tenkara community as having the best and more responsive customer service out of any tenkara rod company, we are all tenkara anglers, happy and ready to help.