Japan is an endlessly fascinating country, but it can be challenging to explore and understand – even for the most experienced travelers.
That’s where we come in. As Japan specialists, we don’t just “do” Japan. We live and breathe Japan, and want you to experience the Japan we know and love.
In-Depth Japan Expertise
We’re here to help you get the absolute most out of your precious time in Japan, thanks to our in-depth Japan expertise, relationships throughout the country, and extensive firsthand experience.
By devoting ourselves to Japan, we can offer you a truly specialized and profound experience. (See what our clients say about traveling with us.)
Fewer Clients, Richer Experiences
If you’re as obsessed with the details as we are, chances are we will be a good fit. We’re obsessed with the little things, and passionate about helping travelers have incredible Japan experiences.
Because of our focus on personalized service and bespoke itineraries, we actively limit the number of trips we work on at any given time (see our current availability).
While this means we can’t accept every trip request we receive, it enables us to devote all our energy to crafting amazing experiences for our clients, and giving each trip the personal love and attention it deserves.
It also means that as one of our clients, we pay attention to you in a way that most other companies can’t, and you’ll never get lost in the shuffle.
Japan Travel Specialists
Along with being certified Japan Travel Specialists, we are also honored to be a Condé Nast Traveler 2020 Top Travel Specialist.
We also maintain active memberships with reputable 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 2114860-40.
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.
The Boutique Japan Team
It all began when Andres fortuitously signed up for a Japanese literature class while studying at Columbia University in New York. He ended up loving the course so much that he decided to study the Japanese language, which ultimately became a lifelong passion.
With backgrounds in Japanese culture and language, customer experience, and the travel industry, we established Boutique Japan to help enthusiastic travelers experience this amazing country to the fullest.
We admit, we love what we do and it certainly doesn’t feel like “work.” Our job is to experience the best Japan has to offer and share the gems we discover with each of our clients.
This means exploring Tokyo and Kyoto – and everywhere from Hokkaido to Okinawa – to stay in the best hotels and ryokans, spend time with local experts, sample new restaurants and old favorites – and sharing what we find with our travelers.
To give us the freedom to travel extensively, and the opportunity to hire brilliant individuals from around the world, our globally distributed team has been virtual since 2013.
Julie Begley, Assistant Ninja
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.
When not on the road, I love going on new adventures with my husband, Matt, my son, Barrett, and our dog, Otis.
Ashley LaBoda, Operations Ninja
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.
In my free time, I enjoy so many things! Most notably, cooking, running, yoga, and spending time with my husband and pup.
Doris Melecio, Assistant Ninja
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.
Vanessa Miller, Operations Ninja
After studying Japanese in college, I moved to Japan.
During my nearly five unforgettable years there, I had so many amazing experiences — from seeking out countryside onsen and festivals to exploring the seemingly endless city of Tokyo where I lived. I also trained in the art of ikebana (flower arranging), and earned my Advanced Certification from the Ohara School.
Even after years of living in Japan — my second home — I still find it to be so rich with mystery, and I’m thrilled to be able to help others experience this amazing place.
Eléonore Simon, Operations Ninja
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.
Roni Sivan, Travel Ninja
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. My parents prioritized family travel, and I was fortunate to be exposed to new countries often. To date, I’ve visited 40+ countries across 5 continents (airports don’t count in my book!).
After studying in New York and graduating from NYU, I navigated solo backpacking trips throughout South America and Southeast Asia. I also had the chance to pursue study, work, and volunteer experiences in Italy, Israel, South Africa, and Cambodia.
I finally made my way back to Austin to start a career in the travel industry in 2008, and have been working closely with travelers ever since. I love nothing more than helping adventurous people bring creative trip ideas to life.
When I’m home I love spending time with my pup, unwinding with yoga, and taking advantage of Austin’s dynamic music and culinary scene.
Andres Zuleta, Founder
In 2013, Andres founded Boutique Japan to share his passion and enthusiasm for Japan, and over the years he has had the opportunity to help hundreds of wonderful travelers from around the world experience Japan in a truly personal and immersive way.
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 Oakland, 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.