How Voyagin came about:
When I first traveled to Dharamsala in India to see the Dalai Lama in December 2007, I didn't know anyone, and was struggling to look for things to do. My only way of figuring it out was to sift through a messy collection of flyers, and it was perpetually difficult to determine the quality of the activities I was interested in. All of it made the process a little stressful, because I never knew what I was going to get.
This flyer for Conversational Tibetan was a typical sight on bulletin boards in Dharamsala. Without much information on hand, showing up to a meeting place was always a real leap of faith.
Thankfully, I met a few great people by chance who took me to local houses, ashrams, and hidden places that I would have never been able to find in any guidebook. I had a once-in-a-lifetime experience in India because I made local friends.
After I returned from my travels, I started hosting international guests in my apartment in Tokyo and eventually became the top Airbnb host in the city, hosting several hundred guests in my living room over the course of 3 or 4 years. My guests' common complaints made me realise that similar to India, Japan was extremely difficult to navigate without a reliable source of information or local help.
Based on my own travel and hosting experience, I decided to solve this issue of fragmented information and lack of transparency by creating a travel marketplace for visitors to Japan called FindJPN in Jan 2011. This eventually evolved into Voyagin in Dec 2012 when we extended our reach to the rest of Asia.
I guess you could say that we were really the pioneers in Asia before the trend started catching on, and it is my sincere hope that we are able to change the way people travel and give everyone an opportunity to truly discover Asia in a unique and personal way.
Masashi Takahashi (Founder & CEO, Voyagin)