Born in Tokyo, she began violin with the Suzuki method at the age of 6 and later won first prizes for violin and chamber music from the Academy of Vienna.

In 1983, she joined the National Orchestra of the Lyon Opera as head of the second violins, under the baton of John Elliot Gardiner. In 1986, she founded the Quatuor Ravel with which she traveled the world (Japan, USA, Australia, Europe ....). The Quartet won the Evian contest in 1989 and won the first classical music class victory in 1994.

From 2000 to 2013, Reiko Kitahama teaches chamber music at CNSM Lyon. Her interest in amateur teaching is reflected in the Association of Amateur Musicians, where she regularly conducts chamber music sessions since 1998.