ABOUT PMP



ABOUT PMP

 
We discover inspiring destinations in Japan and help you experience them.

From itinerary writers to tour guides, we all share two things: a love for travel and a passion to help others experience all the wonders Japan has to offer. Our greatest reward is seeing our customers return home inspired and fulfilled.

People are at the heart of what we do. Both our travel guides and our tours focus on characterful destinations and the individuals who create them: the restaurant and its chef, the fashion brand and its designer, the coffee shop and its barista. Our mission is to introduce these wonderful people - and their places - to you, and most importantly to help you visit them.

That's why People Make Places is a multi-platform service, with a range of premium travel services and guides including a beautiful hardback book and a handy digital app. Together they provide inspiration, navigation and human-to-human help.

 

MEET THE PMP TEAM

 
Charlies Spreckley, Founder & CEO of People Make Places
CHARLES SPRECKLEY

Founder and CEO

Charles originally moved to Tokyo from the UK in 1998, the result of severe wanderlust and “getting stuck” en route to China. After working as a television producer and journalist, he founded his first travel business in 2007, offering tours with a friend. This eventually became what People Make Places is today, and Charles still personally designs most customers’ itineraries, while also running the business. “We just like helping people,” he says. “Simple as that.” He enjoys wandering around Tokyo’s Daikanyama area, which also happens to be home to the PMP office. “It’s one of the nicest ‘urban villages’ in the city – you never feel the pressures of the rat race here,” he says. His favourite region of Japan is Kyushu, for its volcanic landscapes and amazing ryokans.

 
Charlies Spreckley, Founder & CEO of People Make Places
CHARLES SPRECKLEY

Founder and CEO

Charles originally moved to Tokyo from the UK in 1998, the result of severe wanderlust and “getting stuck” en route to China. After working as a television producer and journalist, he founded his first travel business in 2007, offering tours with a friend. This eventually became what People Make Places is today, and Charles still personally designs most customers’ itineraries, while also running the business. “We just like helping people,” he says. “Simple as that.” He enjoys wandering around Tokyo’s Daikanyama area, which also happens to be home to the PMP office. “It’s one of the nicest ‘urban villages’ in the city – you never feel the pressures of the rat race here,” he says. His favourite region of Japan is Kyushu, for its volcanic landscapes and amazing ryokans.

 
TOHRU OKAHARA

COO

Originally from the island of Shikoku, Tohru moved to Tokyo in 1994. He’s been with PMP since the beginning, and has a hand in every aspect of the business. “I believe that encounters with people are what make a great trip even more wonderful,” he says. “PMP knows this, which is what makes working here stimulating and fun.” In the summer Tohru spends his free time at the beach, and he hopes to one day become an expert on Japan’s many beautiful islands. His most-loved Tokyo area is the one he calls home: Yoyogi Uehara. “Even though it’s in the city centre, the neighbours are friendly with one another, which gives it a village-like feel, and there are a lot of good restaurants,” he says. “I’ve moved to other areas many times, but somehow I always end up back here."

Tohru Okahara, COO of People Make Places
 
Tohru Okahara, COO of People Make Places
TOHRU OKAHARA

COO

Originally from the island of Shikoku, Tohru moved to Tokyo in 1994. He’s been with PMP since the beginning, and has a hand in every aspect of the business. “I believe that encounters with people are what make a great trip even more wonderful,” he says. “PMP knows this, which is what makes working here stimulating and fun.” In the summer Tohru spends his free time at the beach, and he hopes to one day become an expert on Japan’s many beautiful islands. His most-loved Tokyo area is the one he calls home: Yoyogi Uehara. “Even though it’s in the city centre, the neighbours are friendly with one another, which gives it a village-like feel, and there are a lot of good restaurants,” he says. “I’ve moved to other areas many times, but somehow I always end up back here.

 
MICHIE TOMOI

Travel Designer

Known affectionately around the office as Tomochin, Michie was born and raised in the Tokyo suburb of Machida, and worked in the fashion and dental industries before joining PMP as project coordinator. “I enjoy researching and making travel plans that are carefully catered to each individual customer, and I want to help more foreigners to experience all the wonderful things Japan has to offer,” she says. In her free time she enjoys watching movies and international TV dramas, and shopping for clothes and stylish furniture. Her favourite areas of Tokyo are Shibuya and Harajuku: “I love these neighbourhoods because there are so many people with a really unique fashion sense, and you can find any kind of trendy thing you want there.”

Michie Tomoi, Project Coordinator for People Make Places
 
Michie Tomoi, Project Coordinator for People Make Places
MICHIE TOMOI

Travel Designer

Known affectionately around the office as Tomochin, Michie was born and raised in the Tokyo suburb of Machida, and worked in the fashion and dental industries before joining PMP as project coordinator. “I enjoy researching and making travel plans that are carefully catered to each individual customer, and I want to help more foreigners to experience all the wonderful things Japan has to offer,” she says. In her free time she enjoys watching movies and international TV dramas, and shopping for clothes and stylish furniture. Her favourite areas of Tokyo are Shibuya and Harajuku: “I love these neighbourhoods because there are so many people with a really unique fashion sense, and you can find you can find any kind of trendy thing you want there.”

 
Shu Kuge, Resident Professor of People Make Places
SHU KUGE

Travel Designer

The son of ceramic artists, Shu moved from Tokyo to the United States in 1990, where he studied at UC Berkeley and earned a Ph.D. in Japanese literature and comparative literature from Stanford University. He taught comparative literature at Penn State between 2003 and 2007. Teaching about Japanese culture in the U.S. made him want to return to Japan, which he did in 2008, working as a writer and writing coach. Now he designs itineraries for PMP and also conducts history tours in Tokyo. “I have a bad sense of direction, but I feel that I always discover interesting things in a place by getting lost,” he says. “Then I can introduce those places to visitors in my tours.” His favourite place to go when not working is Kujukuri, a long stretch of beach in Chiba prefecture to Tokyo’s east.

 
Shu Kuge, Resident Professor of People Make Places
SHU KUGE

Travel Designer

The son of ceramic artists, Shu moved from Tokyo to the United States in 1990, where he studied at UC Berkeley and earned a Ph.D. in Japanese literature and comparative literature from Stanford University. He taught comparative literature at Penn State between 2003 and 2007. Teaching about Japanese culture in the U.S. made him want to return to Japan, which he did in 2008, working as a writer and writing coach. Now he designs itineraries for PMP and also conducts history tours in Tokyo. “I have a bad sense of direction, but I feel that I always discover interesting things in a place by getting lost,” he says. “Then I can introduce those places to visitors in my tours.” His favourite place to go when not working is Kujukuri, a long stretch of beach in Chiba prefecture to Tokyo’s east.

 
KELLY WETHERILLE

Editor in Chief

When Kelly moved to Japan from the U.S. in 2002, she told her family she would stay about a year, but she still hasn’t left. She works as a freelance writer and editor, and is in charge of PMP’s ever-expanding library of content. “My favourite thing about my job is getting to meet interesting people and hear their stories, and then to share them with the world,” she says. She’s happiest when she’s in or on the water, so on weekends when the weather is nice, she teaches stand-up paddle boarding and SUP yoga from the beaches near Tokyo. She loves living in what she firmly believes is the world’s greatest city, but she also tries to get sneak away whenever possible: “Most people don’t realise what incredible natural beauty Japan has, and how easy it is to get there. I am always trying to discover new places to hike, swim and relax.”

Kelly Wetherille, Content & web coordinator
 
Kelly Wetherille, Content & web coordinator
KELLY WETHERILLE

Editor in Chief

When Kelly moved to Japan from the U.S. in 2002, she told her family she would stay about a year, but she still hasn’t left. She works as a freelance writer and editor, and is in charge of PMP’s ever-expanding library of content. “My favourite thing about my job is getting to meet interesting people and hear their stories, and then to share them with the world,” she says. She’s happiest when she’s in or on the water, so on weekends when the weather is nice, she teaches stand-up paddle boarding and SUP yoga from the beaches near Tokyo. She loves living in what she firmly believes is the world’s greatest city, but she also tries to get sneak away whenever possible: “Most people don’t realize what incredible natural beauty Japan has, and how easy it is to get there. I am always trying to discover new places to hike, swim and relax.”

 
Mae Chikuba
MAE CHIKUBA

Intern

Born in Tokyo to an American mother and Japanese father, Mae has grown up in the city, where she is currently a full-time university student studying visual arts and tourism. She helps out behind the scenes on PMP events and tours, doing everything from folding origami table decorations to buying snacks. “I love working behind the scenes, and I love the fact that my contributions help to create some kind of order,” she says. When not working or studying, Mae relaxes by watching movies at home on her laptop. Her favourite area of Tokyo is Kichijoji. “Kichijoji was like Shibuya to us kids who grew up in the neighbourhood—we went there all the time. It has a huge park, but also cool places to shop at and good food. I've been there countless times, and there are still places I didn't know existed!”

 
Mae Chikuba
MAE CHIKUBA

Intern

Born in Tokyo to an American mother and Japanese father, Mae has grown up in the city, where she is currently a full-time university student studying visual arts and tourism. She helps out behind the scenes on PMP events and tours, doing everything from origami table decorations to buying snacks. "I love working behind the scenes, and I love the fact that my contributions help to create some kind of order," she says. When not working or studying, Mae relaxes by watching movies at home on her laptop. Her favourite area of Tokyo is Kichijoji. "Kichijoji was like Shibuya to us kids who grew up in the neighbourhood - we went there all the time. It has a huge park, but also cool places to shop at and good food. I've been there countless times, and there are still places I didn't know existed!"

 
MARIKA KINOSHITA

Travel Designer

Marika was born and raised in Niigata, where her family runs the city’s oldest bakery. When she was 17 she traversed the globe in order to study in Brazil, an experience that she says changed her life. Before joining PMP she worked in a variety of service and hospitality positions, including at the Ritz Carlton Tokyo and at a co-living space. She thinks Japanese hospitality, or omotenashi, is one of the best aspects of Japanese culture. “I never used to be interested in Japanese culture or history—I was more internationally focused. But taking guests around Tokyo has given me a new perspective and awakened in me a new fascination with my own country,” she says. Marika describes herself as a huge dog lover, and she enjoys wearing kimono, cooking, baking and doing crafts.

Marika Kinoshita
 
Marika Kinoshita
MARIKA KINOSHITA

Travel Designer

Marika was born and raised in Niigata, where her family runs the city’s oldest bakery. When she was 17 she traversed the globe in order to study in Brazil, an experience that she says changed her life. Before joining PMP she worked in a variety of service and hospitality positions, including at the Ritz Carlton Tokyo and at a co-living space. She thinks Japanese hospitality, or omotenashi, is one of the best aspects of Japanese culture. “I never used to be interested in Japanese culture or history—I was more internationally focused. But taking guests around Tokyo has given me a new perspective and awakened in me a new fascination with my own country,” she says. Marika describes herself as a huge dog lover, and she enjoys wearing kimono, cooking, baking and doing crafts.

 
Clara Payro
CLARA PAYRO

Travel Designer

Hailing from Geneva, Switzerland, Clara travelled extensively with her family as a child, but it was her first trip to Japan in 2005 that fascinated her the most, inspiring her to minor in Japanese literature and culture at university. She moved to Tokyo in 2015 on a university exchange program, and became so attached to the city that she stayed. “I love exploring Tokyo and its many neighbourhoods—it’s hard to pick a favourite! But if I had to try, it would be somewhere like Yanesen, Sangenjaya or Koenji—areas that have more of a local feel to them, with a stronger sense of community and many cute little cafés and stores to visit,” she says. In her free time Clara enjoys biking around the city taking photos with her analog camera, making ceramics, and upcycling vintage clothes.

 
Clara Payro
CLARA PAYRO

Travel Designer

Hailing from Geneva, Switzerland, Clara travelled extensively with her family as a child, but it was her first trip to Japan in 2005 that fascinated her the most, inspiring her to minor in Japanese literature and culture at university. She moved to Tokyo in 2015 on a university exchange program, and became so attached to the city that she stayed. “I love exploring Tokyo and its many neighbourhoods—it’s hard to pick a favourite! But if I had to try, it would be somewhere like Yanesen, Sangenjaya or Koenji—areas that have more of a local feel to them, with a stronger sense of community and many cute little cafés and stores to visit,” she says. In her free time Clara enjoys biking around the city taking photos with her analog camera, making ceramics, and upcycling vintage clothes.

 

For media inquiries, to apply to work with us, or for more information on People Make Places, our travel services, our social club, or our corporate hospitality services, please click here.

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CORPORATE INFORMATION

PMP Japan Co. Ltd.
Company number: 0132-01-019003

5F Daikanyama Center Bldg.,
15-9 Daikanyama-cho,
Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 150-0034,
 Japan

Tel: 03-6455-5154