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 expert on Japan hiking, and a Kyoto-based photographer and guide.

How It Works

We normally work by Zoom so that we can share maps and other images while we talk. Some of us are also work by email (handy if there are time differences). We don’t write a full itinerary or make bookings, but we give you all the information you need to book everything yourself, at the lowest rates.

Most importantly, we help you avoid costly and time-consuming mistakes, like going to see the “snow monkeys” (tourist trap!) or staying in a hotel far from the Tokyo Loop Line (inconvenient!). We also share our favorite secret spots and restaurants based on our pooled database. For more information, scroll down to What We Do.


  • US$180 per hour


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

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.