Japan Travel Consulting (JTC) is a team of Japan travel journalists, long-term Japan residents and travel consultants. JTC is operated by Chris Rowthorn, a 20-year resident of Kyoto and author of 19 Japan guidebooks for Lonely Planet. The JTC team consists of four Lonely Planet Japan authors, the leading foreign export on Japan hiking, and a Kyoto-based photographer and guide.

How It Works

We offer phone/Skype/Facetime consulting (voice consulting) and full trip planning services.

Voice consulting is great for high-level planning. We help you choose your destinations within Japan, your mode of travel, the places you’ll stay and your activities. We don’t produce a full, detailed itinerary, but we send you a list of links and place names following the conversation.

Full trip planning usually starts with a voice consultation. Then, we work with you by email to produce a full itinerary, with accommodation recommendations, daily itineraries, transport information and, in some cases, restaurant recommendations. This usually comes in the form of a Word document or a PDF, and it might include Google maps, where necessary.


  • Phone/Skype/Facetime (voice) consulting:
    ¥10,000/US$89/€75 per hour
  • Full trip Planning:
    ¥15,000/US$133/€113 per hour


Payment is via PayPal (you do not need a PayPal account to make a payment).

Payment is in advance for voice consulting.

For full trip planning, we require a deposit of Y15,000 to start the consultation and this covers your first hour of consulting. Thereafter we bill for every two hours we spend. Payment is as you go and full details of how we spend our time are provided. There will be no surprises. We can provide an estimate before we start. As a guideline, a typical 1-week trip in Japan takes about 7 hours to plan (but this can vary widely).

What We Do

We are consultants and not travel agents. Here is what we do:


  • brilliant hotels (best value, best locations, boutique hotels etc)
  • wonderful ryokan (traditional Japanese inns)
  • excellent restaurants (from local noodle joints to sumptuous kaiseki)
  • the best sights (secret temples, perfect gardens, museums, etc)
  • seasonal events (festivals, geisha dances, sumo, baseball, etc)
  • great activities (private guides, tea ceremonies, courses, etc)
  • efficient transport (Japan Rail Pass, special passes, the most efficient and comfortable routes, etc)

In short, we provide all the knowledge you need to make the most of your trip. We tell you the best places to visit, to stay and to eat.

In some cases, we are also available for private guiding. Wes lives in Osaka and can guide Osaka and the mountains in Japan. Paul lives in Kyoto and can guide Kyoto and Nara. Of course, this depends on their availability. In other cases, we can introduce the best private guides in Japan.

What We Don’t Do

Since we are not travel agents, we do not actually book your trip for you. That means:

  • We don’t sell or reserve transport (train tickets, plane tickets, etc). But, we tell you the best deals and how to buy tickets on your own (note that it’s difficult to purchase Japan train tickets before arrival in the country).
  • We don’t book accommodation. However, we can check availability and rates of hotels and ryokan. And, we tell you the best deals and how to book them on your own.