Staff

Meet the team at JPT

Haydn Thompson

Melbourne Office - Branch Manager

As part of my hotel management studies at University, I was blessed to have the opportunity to work in Japan for an 18 month period at a resort hotel in Nagano and Yamanashi. Upon returning to Australia, I soon found work with a Japan specialist travel agency in Melbourne who valued my language skills and intimate knowledge of Japan. This job proved to be the ideal fit and after a long apprenticeship I started Japan Package Tours in 2001. I honestly believe I have the best job in the world as as I get to live in Melbourne which is the best city in the world and have had the privilege of selling Japan which I rate as the best value for money, safe and always surpasses ones expectations destination. My team are on standby to assist with your Japan travel arrangements.

Manager & Group Tour Coordinator - Haydn Thompson

Favourite destination in Japan:

This is such a difficult question to answer as each major city and country town in Japan is magnificent in its own unique way. My favourite destination is Tokyo for it's great shopping, incredible range of delicious restaurants, state of the art architecture the organised chaos that takes places every day on arguably the best public transport systems in the world.

Travel tip:

When using a Japan Rail Pass, always reserve your seats on a bullet train where possible. There is great advantage in knowing your carriage, seat number, what time your train will depart and what time it will arrive.

Favourite food :

Raw dishes such as sushi and sashimi are famous and popular in the Japanese diet. In my experience the Japanese are also experts at barbequing chicken and beef and serving it on a bed of steamed rice with a side dish of Japanese salad with a sesame dressing.

Rebecca Hamilton

Sydney Office - Branch Manager

At the age of 16 I made my first visit to Japan on a school Japan Study Tour. This proved to be a life changing experience which was the start of a lifelong fascination and relationship with Japan. In total I lived in Japan for a period of 8 years which included time residing in Tokyo, Kyoto and Morioka where I worked in travel and hospitality. Soon I discovered the joy of introducing foreign tourists to the many wonderful destinations in Japan, the hospitality of her people and the richness of their culture.

Since returning to Australia I worked at Japan Package Tours in our Melbourne Office for a period of four years. In 2019 I became the Branch Manager of our new Sydney Office located in Market Street in the Sydney CBD. This is an exciting opportunity as we market Japan travel to clients located in New South Wales.

Whether it is your first journey or a repeat visit to Japan, I look forward to ensuring your Japan travel adventure is a great success.

Rebecca Hamilton - Assistant Manager

Favourite destination in Japan:

My favourite place to visit is Himeji Castle where I recommend taking a free English tour their volunteer guides are always very informative and entertaining. I also love soaking in their hot springs and riding their many scenic trains which run the length of the country.

Favourite food:

Japan is a very social destination. When drinking friends the end of the night would often finish with an inexpensive meal at our local gyoza shop. Gyoza is popular dumplings filled with ground meat and vegetables and wrapped in a thin dough. The typical gyoza filling consists of ground pork, nira chives, green onion, cabbage, ginger, garlic, soy sauce and sesame oil. Some gyoza shops have created a range of other fillings.

Travel tip:

Before you go please read our comprehensive suggested itinerary and the maps and brochures we provide you for each city. A little bit of pre-planning will add to the enjoyment of your Japan package tour.

Isabella Hansson

Japan Travel Specialist

I was born in Sweden and having completed my University education which included studying Japanese, I enjoyed the life changing experience of living in Tokyo for one year. Tokyo is an amazing city which everyone should visit at least once. Tokyo I found to be incredibly safe and home to a wide range of exciting entertainment. Their super convenient transport system is simply amazing. During my stay I fell in love with Japan’s delicious food, rich culture and friendly people. I made the most of this opportunity travelling extensively throughout Japan visiting places such as Kyoto, Nagano, Hakone, Nikko and Okinawa.

I now live in Melbourne and work with Japan Package Tours as one of their Japan Travel Specialists. In this role I have revisited Japan on numerous occasions visiting so many of Japan’s must see destinations and some hidden gems. I feel very fortunate to be able to share my knowledge and experience with Australians planning on visiting Japan. I look forward to being of assistance with your Japan Package Tour.

Isabella Hansson - Japan Travel Expert

Favourite destination in Japan:

There are so many beautiful, unique destinations in Japan. However, Miyajima Island stands out for its giant Torii Gate which looks as it is floating on water at high tide. To see this at the height of the autumn season with the rich colors of the mountains as a backdrop was an amazing experience.

Favourite Food:

I love the classic Tendon - tempura on rice. There are many affordable Tempura restaurants all around Japan which serve delicious Tempura dishes. I highly recommend.

Travel Tips:

Gazing towards the Giant Torii Gate and the Itsukushima Shrine on Miyajima Island at sunset is worth waiting for. It is a great opportunity to take some stunning photos.

Caitlin Romelingh

Japan Travel Specialist

I was first introduced to Japan through my high school language program where soon I fell in love with the Japanese language and culture. After participating in a number of Japan Study Tours in both high school and university, I spent six months working and travelling around Japan. I spent most of my time working at a resort hotel on the beautiful tropical island called Okinawa which is a two hour domestic flight south of Tokyo.

My career selling Japan travel began when I found employment at a Japan travel specialist located in Sydney. For two years I developed my travel industry knowledge and have since moved to Melbourne to join the team at Japan Package Tours. This is my dream job as Japan is my favourite holiday destination which I love to visit whenever I have the opportunity. I fell extremely fortunate to be able to share my passion for Japan and look forward to assisting our clients with their Japan Package Tour travel arrangements.

Caitlin Romelingh

Favorite destination in Japan:

Due to my long stay in Okinawa, this Island holds a very special place in my heart. Okinawa is very relaxed and laid back in comparison with the hustle and bustle of mainland Japan. Okinawa is home to some beautiful beaches, tropical weather and gorgeous sunsets. Clients may like to consider a short Okinawa or Ishikigaki stay for some relaxation at the completion of any Japan Package Tour.

Favorite food in Japan:

My favourite Japanese food is a simple but very popular dish called Omurice - a fluffy omelette wrapped around fried rice and topped with tomato sauce. It is a dish which is often cooked at home or restaurants in Japan specialising in simple western foods.

Travel tips:

Travel insurance is an absolute must for Japan. There is little to no crime, but for peace of mind each traveler should be covered by comprehensive travel insurance. Just a simple visit to the doctor in Japan can be a very expensive experience. Please alert us should you require travel insurance.

Mizuki Ajioka

Administration

For the first twenty years of my life I grew up and was educated in Osaka. As an adult I moved to Australia as a working holiday maker and fell in love with Melbourne. After a long period of study, I found my dream job at Japan Package Tours. I feel so fortunate to live in Australia and arrange wonderful holidays for Australians visiting Japan. Part of my role at Japan Package Tours is to secure both Japanese and Western style accommodation options to meet the needs of our clientele. So many of our clients will use one of our Japan Package Tour templates which we will then tailor to suit. I look forward to assisting with the preparation of your Japan Package Tour.

Mizuki Ajioko - Japan travel specialist

Favourite destination in Japan:

Of course my favourite destination is my hometown Osaka. Osaka is Japan's 2nd largest city which is famous delicious food and bargain shopping. Some of the famous attractions include Osaka Castle, Universal Studios Japan, the Ring of Fire Aquarium and the Namba and Umeda downtown shopping districts. Please make Osaka part of your Japan travel adventure.

Favourite food:

A popular and inexpensive meal which is famous in Osaka and Hiroshima is to try the local pancake called Okonomiyaki. Okonomi means "however you like" so you can try pancakes cooked on the hotplate in front you with all the ingredients you like. Pork or seafood is the most popular.

Travel tip:

Japan is home to so many western hotels for a range of different budgets. However I recommend you add some authentic Japanese hospitality to your itinerary and include a Japanese ryokan stay during your adventure. Please enjoy the experience of wearing a yukata and sleeping in a futon on a tatami floor.

Kanae Iwase

Administration

My hometown is Kagoshima which located in the south of Japan called Kyushu.

I moved to Melbourne five years ago and completed my studies at Monash University. Since joining Japan Package Tours, one of my roles is to liaise between the needs of our clients to our many different suppliers in Japan.

Kanae Iwase

Favourite destination in Japan:

Just a short and very picturesque 90 minute train ride from Kagoshima is the seaside resort called Ibusuki. The people of Ibusuki are famous for living unusually long lives and this is attributed to the healthy and therapeutic waters of the local hot spring baths. In this town you can also try a sand bath on the beach which is incredibly relaxing for those suffering from the aches and pains of travel

Favourite Food:

I really miss my mother's pork ginger dish called "shougayaki". The good news is this is a popular dish you can try at many Japanese eateries.

Travel Tips:

For those wanting to use an ATM machine in Japan, please visit any 7Eleven or Post Office which have ATM machines which accept international credit and debit cards.

Tony Shearer

Web Design

Our web designer Tony has family and friends living in Japan. He first visited in 2002 and has since been back on over 30 occasions. He loves visiting in March and October which coincides with the lovely mild weather which compliments those seasons.

Tony Shearer - Web Design

What is your favourite destination in Japan:

Wow, with so many amazing places to see, this is a tough question. When staying in Tokyo I love making the short journey to the charming resort town called Nikko. Here you can enjoy Japan's rich history amongst natural beauty. Designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1999, the area is famous for historic temples and shrines, waterfalls, a graceful river and museums.

What is your favourite food in Japan:

While in Japan I love going to their Izakayas which are fun, local Japanese eateries where you can try a range of inexpensive dishes.

Travel Tips:

Don't be afraid to shop at the convenience stores. As the name suggests, they are incredibly convenient selling a wide range of meals, confectionery, drinks and other snacks.

David Marsh

Graphic Designer

As a graphic designer I have an instinctive appreciation of the elegance and simplicity of Japanese design. They have a cheerful, unadorned approach to everyday objects which I find very inspiring. I visited Japan for a wedding anniversary and made the right choice by staying in an authentic Japanese Ryokan guest house which was over 200 years old. I plan to make future trips to Japan as I soon fell in love with the culture, lifestyle and food. As someone who doesn't speak a word of Japanese, I found Japan incredibly easy to navigate. I highly recommend.

Favourite destination in Japan:

Kyoto is the historic and cultural capital of Japan and home to many of their famous temples, shrines, parks and garden. My favorite destination in Kyoto is the Roanji rock garden where this Japanese Zen temple garden features distinctive larger rock formations arranged amidst a sweep of smooth polished river rocks in a linear pattern that facilitates meditation.

Favourite food:

I love simple dishes such as soba and udon. Tiny little eateries are hidden away down narrow lane ways where hot bowls of noodles are sold at very cheap prices.

Travel Tips:

I traveled in the autumn and could not have been more pleased. The lovely rich colours of the Japanese maples in the mountains are beautifully presented by nature during the autumn season

Back to Top