About Us

A rtisan Pacific Travel was founded in 2014 by Chris Huseby and Gary Lane with a singular purpose – to delight our customers by delivering world-class experiences, adventures and the best food and drink on the planet.
We love adventure, learning about different cultures, and lots of laughing. And travel has always been in our bones. Chris first travelled to Japan at 12 and was enthralled at its uniqueness; in college he co-founded and ran an unlicensed hostel in Paris, France. Gary was hooked on travel after his first trip to Spain where he taught English, ran with the bulls, and then guided students across West and Eastern Europe. After finishing his University studies, he circled the Pacific and ultimately took a job in Tokyo at 30.
Both Chris and Gary have travelled extensively for work and for pleasure, learning what makes trips anywhere from humdrum to exhilarating. The very best trips have great itineraries, adventures and interactions with locals. And with deep knowledge of our destinations, we can deliver a great experience in unparalleled locations. We also love being outdoors. That’s why our trips are heavy on adventures and active hands-on experiences – golfing, hiking, skiing – in the most picturesque surroundings.

Our Philosophy

We both got bitten by the travel bug early in life and have happily explored many corners of the world. In those explorations, we learned that authentic, local experiences make for the best trips. Chris lived for a time on the crooked part of Lombard Street in San Francisco and watched tour bus after tour bus drop swarms of people on top of each other. Living in Japan, Gary saw tourists lined up at the same shrines and get stuck in traffic while locals had a completely different experience.
We want to offer a new approach to help our customers actively engage, experience and enjoy the wonders of California and Japan. Our focus is on the vast array of fascinating culture and cuisine, diverse history and heritage. We feel that truly learning about the local history, interacting with and tapping into locals to find unique experiences off the ‘beaten-track’ make for the most memorable trips.
We have all taken trips and large tours with dozens of people or more. It is an effective way to get introduced to a place and is often inexpensive. But big tours are limited to fewer and more generic destinations. You miss the small, local artisans that make the places we visit so distinct.
We like smaller groups as a great way to meet interesting people and interact more naturally with sights and adventures. And small groups do offer cost-effective ways to see places outside major cities that normally are not accessible to individual travelers. We think that small package tours are the ideal way to run our business. Our preference is to have groups between 8 and 12 people.
Please visit our Japan tour pages and find the adventure that best suits your wishes.
And, if you like even smaller groups, or prefer to go at your own pace and itinerary, please visit our Custom Itinerary Examples page.

We are Locals

We didn’t want to pretend – like many other travel companies – that we have expertise in every state, country and continent. What we do have are decades of experience in California and Japan, where living, working and playing has given us inside knowledge and connections that can’t be duplicated in a week-long visit.
We are local and so are our tour guides. Our entire business is where we eat, drink, and play, so we know what is happening now, not just from a once-a-year visit.
Much of the managed travel around the Pacific is arranged by companies thousands of miles away.
Hotels can change ownership, the star chef can leave a restaurant, the terrace with a view is actually a construction zone, or a new hidden winery can win accolades.

What We Offer

Our tours are fantastic, highly local, and chock-full of activities, experiences, and enjoyment that set us apart from other tours… a direct result of our long-time local presence and insider knowledge. We welcome you to experience and enjoy with us what we know and love best – Japan.
We find local providers that show off their locale, provide exemplary service, and offer an amazing experience – so you don’t have to make any tradeoffs between budget or full luxury travel.
There are plenty of travel options in the places that we travel to, from budget to full luxury.
On the low end you will find many business hotels and chain restaurants. Once inside, it is very hard to tell what city, state, or country that you are in. On the high end, michelin-starred restaurants, hotel suites, and private villas offer unimaginable comfort. But that luxury can cost you a small – or medium – sized fortune. And it can often isolate you from the people living in the place you’re visiting, which is one of the best things about travel.
We offer a third path. With careful research and personal evaluation, we find local providers that show off their locale, provide exemplary service, and offer an amazing experience.

California Seller of Travel Registration

California Seller of Travel Registration No.: 2118327-40 Artisan Pacific Travel LLC is a registered Seller of Travel in California, and is located in Dublin, California. Registration as a Seller of Travel does not constitute approval by the State of California. Artisan Pacific Travel is a participant in the California Travel Consumer Restitution Fund. California law requires certain Sellers of Travel to have a trust account or bond. Artisan Pacific Travel has such a trust account.
We have decades of experience in California and Japan, where living, working and playing has given us inside knowledge and connections.