Interview with Philippe Wauquaire about the creative tourism in Japan

The creative tourism is primarily a peer-to-peer tourism. It offers the travelers the opportunity to live unique experiences, shaped through encounters with the locals, far from the tourist clichés. Philippe Wauquaire was predestined to foster this new tourism in Japan. His passion for martial arts led this Belgian, born in Kinshasa, to settle in Japanese land in the 80’s. His expertise in tourism in Europe and Japan, as well as his perfect knowledge of both cultures, naturally led him to create a unique offer of creative activities within the Airserve agency, of which he coordinates the Inbound department.
We’ve met this pro-active and creative organizer, we are proud to count among the members of the Creative Tourism Network®.

There is way more to see and do in Japan than one might think so, stay tuned!

Congratulations for this initiative, Philippe! Creative Tourism and Japan, two « universes » that highly arouse our interest. How did this program come about?

Basically, from the need to offer something different and deeper than the usual very short “experience”. Also the will to show another side of Japan and its people. Nothing wrong with the “Mount Fuji, Geisha, Samurai and Sushi” tourist brochure “cliché” but there is much more to see and do!

What do you propose through this program?

We’re still in the very early days (the official date is April 2015) but I can already recommend the activities we organize in many areas such as food and home cooking, music, multimedia and wellness. We also offer ski stays and we are currently in talks with potential partners in sectors such as Japanese traditional arts, religion and philosophy, but also sports and fashion. We usually limit the number of participants to 6 or 8, and also organize “tailored” activities on request.

What are your flagship activities?

We offer a broad range of activities, some of them really unique. We could mention genuine Japanese cooking classes in Tokyo and Kyoto; the discovery of the Kappabashi and Ameyoko neighborhoods in Tokyo, real paradise for foodies, a day in the organic farms and tea plantations in Kyoto area, a visit to the famous Toyokasei vinyl record factory, located between Tokyo and Yokohama. Our 4-days-introduction to shiatsu, in a spa, or the shopping trip to discover hidden treasures such as vinyls, musical instruments, old books, maps or hi-fi equipment, also have much success! With our partners, we also offer a range of “traditional” activities such as tea ceremony, sumo wrestlers training watch and “Otaku” culture tour.
We are currently working on future offers like meditation/spiritual retreats in temples; introduction to shinto religion; “island hopping” cycling tours in the Seito inland sea and Kyushu area; shiatsu, moxybustion and acupuncture seminars; Japanese vegan cooking classes in Kyoto, among many others!

What makes this program unique?

We are not yet unique but ultimately, we aim to offer the right balance between “ordinary” and our very own “out of the box”, unique activities. It is my wish to hopefully show that there are many very creative individuals whose output is worth investigating. Definitely very high on the agenda too is developing activities in places like Shikoku, Kyushu and outside the usual tourist corridors.

Who are your the travellers who participate in the creative activities proposed by AIRSERVE?

Overall, I think our main customers are tourists who have visited Japan and performed the “Golden Route” (Tokyo-Hakone-Kyoto) and are interested in being able to think outside the box and live different experiences . But I invite anyone to regularly visit our site to learn something new!

+ Info:



Philippe Wauquaire – Inbound Coordinator Airserve

I am a Belgian national, born in Kinshasa (Democratic Republic of Congo).philippe-wauquaire p
Martial arts initially brought me to Japan in 1985 for a 2 weeks intensive training in a local dojo.I fell in love with the country and decided to come back for a year in 1986. This stay actually lasted 7 years, after which I went back to Belgium. I worked in Brussels at a Japanese DMC office (inbound), which allowed me to keep on speaking Japanese everyday and to strengthen my connection to the country. In 2001, I came back to Tokyo and have been living here ever since.
My current goal is to create and develop “out of the box” activities, alongside more conventional ones, in the country.

There is way more to see and do in Japan than one might think so, stay tuned!