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active 6 hours ago

Jeff Aasgaard

I first moved to Japan when my father was transferred to Hiroshima when I was in college. This experience changed my life. When I returned to the US to finish my degree changed my major to international business which included Japanese language, history, and culture as part of the program. After graduation I moved back to Japan but this time to Osaka as I wanted to live in a place where I did not know anyone as a personal challenge. I continued to study Japanese language and taught English as second language.

I always wanted to show travelers the Japan I fell in love with so in 2000 my wife and I started a travel business that focuses on Japanese culture and people. We started by making reservations at traditional ryokan inns all over Japan as this is one of the best ways for travelers to experience Japanese culture at its finest. This service grew and we started to hire more like minded people. Then in 2006 we started to build completely custom tours of Japan for travelers who want to travel independently but also wanted the support and guidance from people who know Japan.

After 14 years living and working in Japan I moved back to the US with my family but continue to work with my team in Japan to build wonderful custom trips to Japan for travelers. Each summer we head back to Japan to visit family and so I can work with my team in Japan. I also return to my home Aikido martial arts dojo to train directly with my sensei.

I am looking forward to working with you and creating your ideal Japanese experience.

What places and activities do you specialize in?

"We build completely customized trips that include a mix of modern, traditional and rural Japan. We listen to our travelers, make suggestion and then present an itinerary that they will love. "

How did you get involved in travel?

"I was in Kyoto, Japan and saw a bus full of tourists existing a large bus; they all looked tired and almost bored. I knew there was a better way to travel and a way to experience and engage with the Japanese culture. One way is to stay at a ryokan inn to have a wonderful meal, to sleep in a Japanese room and to take a Japanese hot spring bath. The other way is to have a mix of guided sightseeing and free time to explore on your own. I love just picking a street to wander down to see what I see. It is not just the must-see sights but also the small things that a large group tour will just pass over."

Please share a unique travel experience you will never forget.

"I was in Kyoto near a street called Hanamikoji which is known for geisha and maiko (apprentice geisha). As is my habit I wandered away from the crowds and was looking down a very narrow street. To my surprise, a maiko appeared along with a young girl walking down this narrow traditional alleyway. I was able to take a number of photos of just the two of them before a swarm of travelers noticed. The background and scene were perfect. "

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