Japan is one of the most fascinating countries in the world, but getting beneath the surface can be challenging for even the most experienced travelers.
That’s where we come in. As Japan experts, we don’t just “do” Japan. We live and breathe Japan, and want you to experience the Japan we know and love.
Fewer Clients, Richer Experiences
Unlike most travel companies, we intentionally work with fewer travelers. This lets us take an extraordinarily personalized approach when it comes to your trip.
Along with our expertise and creativity, our low-volume approach is one reason Condé Nast Traveler has named Boutique Japan founder Andres Zuleta a Top Travel Specialist for Japan. As Condé Nast first wrote back in 2020:
Zuleta’s Boutique Japan is a small company that eschews volume and spends more time customizing each trip to offer travelers a fresh, creative approach to Japan – something that discerning travelers seek out after learning of Zuleta’s deep immersion into the Japanese language and culture from years of living in Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka.
If you’re as obsessed with the details as we are, chances are we’ll be a good fit. We’re obsessed with all the little things that go into creating an exceptional, one-of-a-kind experience.
Japan Travel Experts
With backgrounds in the travel industry and Japanese culture and language, our team of Japan experts (learn more about us below) specializes in creating highly unique Japan itineraries to help travelers experience this amazing country to the fullest.
Our job is to experience the best of Japan, and share the gems we discover with our clients. This means constantly exploring wonderful destinations, staying in the best hotels and ryokans, sampling incredible Japanese cuisine, and spending time with our favorite local experts throughout Japan.
We’re here to help you have a truly unique and personalized Japan adventure, thanks to our extensive firsthand immersion and in-depth expertise, tight-knit network around the country, meticulous approach to trip-planning, and passion for authentic travel experiences.
The Boutique Japan Team
Andres Zuleta, Founder
The Boutique Japan story really began when I (almost by chance) signed up for a Japanese literature class at Columbia University in New York. I ended up loving the course so much that it inspired me to begin studying the Japanese language, and ultimately move to Japan.
I founded Boutique Japan to share my passion and enthusiasm for the country, and over the years we have had the opportunity to help hundreds of wonderful travelers from around the world experience Japan in a truly personal and immersive way. (Read extended bio for Andres Zuleta.)
Doris Melecio, Operations Assistant
I am a work-at-home mother and wife who loves travel, the beach, exploring new places – and food! I aspire to travel abroad as much as possible with my family, to experience different food, cultures, and lifestyles. In my spare time, I love reading, watching movies, and Japanese manga and anime.
Julie Begley, Accounting Specialist
My first international travels were to Cameroon and Kenya. While there, I stayed with local families and had the opportunity to live away from common tourist routes, getting instead a sense of real lives and communities. For the last 10+ years I have set down roots in Ireland with my 2 daughters, and I’m hoping our next journeys will involve an old VW bus and an open road!
Piper Christian, Operations Director
My love of travel started in college, when I studied abroad — twice! — first living for a year in Madrid, Spain, then continuing my education overseas in Brazil. Ever since, I’ve worked in the travel industry, crafting client journeys to some of the farthest corners of the globe.
My intimate knowledge of and personal passion for travel has led me on my own adventures in over 40 countries. From sleeping under the stars in the Sahara and wandering among the ancient ruins in Eastern Turkey, to trekking with gorillas in the Virunga and connecting with the masses in the Golden Temple of Amritsar, I’ve had some magical experiences around the world.
But I keep going back to Japan because it is one of my favorite destinations. As much as I love the bustle of Tokyo, I enjoy wandering through the quiet backstreets even more. Every time I visit, I look forward to indulging in the amazing and varied cuisine (did someone say okonomiyaki?). And whenever possible, I love venturing to the countryside for its unique and serene beauty. One of my favorite memories is an early-morning soak in an outdoor onsen during a light snowfall. There is nothing more rejuvenating than the soothing hot springs in winter weather.
When not on the road, I love going on new adventures with my husband, Matt, my son, Barrett, and our dog, Otis.
Roni Sivan, Trip Designer
Travel has been a huge part of my life since I was a child. I grew up traveling frequently between Israel, my birthplace, and Texas where I was raised. I have been fortunate to be exposed to new countries often throughout my life, and to date I’ve visited 40+ countries across 5 continents.
After graduating from NYU, I navigated solo backpacking trips throughout South America and Southeast Asia. I’ve also pursued study, work, and volunteer experiences in Italy, Israel, South Africa, and Cambodia.
Japan never ceases to delight and surprise me no matter how many times I visit — from strolling the backstreets of Tokyo’s hip neighborhoods to staying in a remote farmhouse in Shikoku’s stunning Iya Valley, each time I visit I feel inspired to return.
I’ve been in the travel industry since 2008, and love nothing more than helping adventurous people bring unique trip ideas to life. When I’m not working or traveling, I love spending time with my pup, unwinding with yoga, and taking advantage of Austin’s dynamic culinary scene.
Ashley LaBoda, Boutique Japan 友達
I fell in love with travel as a college student while studying abroad in Costa Rica. Since then, my travels have taken me to enchanting places throughout Europe, Latin America and Asia.
Several countries (and years!) later, I’m still always looking for the next adventure. I love sharing my passion for travel with others, and find joy in seeking out and sharing hidden gems and local tips that can make an experience extra memorable.
When I travel to any country, I always make time to visit small towns and wander backstreets — trying to catch a glimpse of local life. One of my favorite things about Japan is that no matter where you are, it always seems as though you are just around the corner from a charming boutique, trendy coffee shop, local gallery or something delicious to eat!
In my free time, I enjoy so many things! Most notably, cooking, running, yoga, and spending time with my husband, daughter, and pup.
Eléonore Simon, Boutique Japan 友達
Growing up in the travel and hospitality industry, I caught the travel bug early. I was raised in France where my family relocated to a different region every few years, and seized every opportunity to travel internationally.
I first traveled to Japan in 2012 and fell in love with the country. I’ve been lucky to return several times to continue exploring this fascinating culture and I am excited to help others experience it. Few things will get me more animated than the sentence, “I have never been to Japan, did you like it?”
I left France to finish my art history studies and lived in Philadelphia and New York. After several years there, I was ready to pack up my bags again and moved to Chile. I spend most of my free time wandering with my camera in search of the perfect shot.
Vanessa Miller, Boutique Japan 友達
I moved to Japan after studying the Japanese language in college. During my nearly five unforgettable years there, I had so many adventures — from seeking out countryside onsen and festivals, to exploring the fascinating city of Tokyo where I lived. I also trained in the art of ikebana (flower arranging), earning my Advanced Certification from the Ohara School.
I now call Austin, Texas, home and spend my free time with my son, daughter, and three cats.
Even after years of living in and traveling around Japan (which I consider my second home), I still find it to be so rich with mystery. I discover something new and wonderful each time I visit, and I’m thrilled to be able to help others experience this amazing place.
Blanca, Support Team
Blanca is a feisty and affectionate bichon-poodle who loves to snuggle (on her own terms). She’s always ready for a walk or hike, where she can sniff her surroundings to her heart’s content.
She spends her time in Northern Virginia and Italy.
Lola, Support Team
Lola is a playful Chihuahua-Dachshund rescue who is obsessed with cuddling, sunbathing, rolling around in grass, and playing with her pet monkey doll, Toyo.
She lives in San Diego, California.
Otis, Support Team
Otis is a loving, mischievous, energetic, somewhat-smart, cuddly, playful, protective rescue. No one really knows what breed or mix he is, but that just means there’s no one else quite like him.
He lives in Sacramento, California.
Popsi, Support Team
Popsi is a quirky German Pointer rescue who excels at sleeping like a contortionist and fancies herself to be a wonderful, 70 lb. lapdog.
She lives in Austin, Texas.
Vivi, Support Team
Vivi is a sweet kitty-kat princess who loves cuddling when the weather gets colder.
She lives in Austin, Texas.
We are accredited Japan Travel Specialists, and maintain active memberships with organizations including the International Association of Travel Agents Network (IATAN) and the Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA). Our California Seller of Travel registration number is CST 2114860-50.
Boutique Japan donates 1% of the cost of each trip to Pencils of Promise, a global organization that creates schools, programs and global communities around the common goal of education for all.