All About PacSet!
Welcome to the info page! I'm Kippu, PacSet's official mascot character - and yes, I'm a fox with a jetpack (it's a long story). To learn more about us and our mission, scroll on down. Looking for our FAQ, POLICY, or PAYMENT PLAN pages? Follow the buttons right here!
What our customers are saying:
"From beginning to end, this tour was something special. Everything I had ever dreamed of experiencing in Japan was both experienced and enjoyed. The tour guides were helpful and knowledgeable, and knew all the best places to see/buy/eat all the good stuff! This trip was a memory I’ll never forget. I would go again in a heartbeat. PacSet is the best!" — Ariana, Animated Spring '14
"Traveling solo is no longer the only option to experience Japan in an unconventional way. PacSet delivers an experience with carefully crafted trips for every need." — Alondra, Skate or Swim '18
"Our guide, Val, really made the experience special. She was patient, understanding, and very kind. I couldn't have asked for a better experience!" — Sofia, Sun and Sakura '18
"It was amazing. We hit amazing spots, ate amazing food, and our guide knew everything in the area. He even packed medicine, etc. for our every need! I'm so impressed by this company my wife and I are definitely coming back for another trip." — Donavin, Japan Holiday '16
The mission of PacSet is simple: to give you the kind of travel experience that feels more like a journey with friends – not a journey where everyone follows a dorky looking flag that a tour guide is holding up.
We won’t spend the entire trip addressing you from a microphone on a bus, and we won’t fill your schedule to the point that it can’t accommodate free time. No matter how you travel with us, we’re here to help you have a great time, the way the locals have a good time. To help you experience Japan as you want to experience it. In other words: if you’re ready to nibble on Japan’s best cheap eats, explore a majestic shrine and a bizarre electronics store on the same day, and have an unbelievable amount of fun – all with tour guides that are always there to help but don’t force you into a relentless, strict schedule – you’ve come to the right place.
Photos of our trips can be found on our Facebook page. See where we’ve been, and the fun other participants have had!
As the CEO and co-founder of PacSet, Evan has led more trips to Japan than he’s prepared to admit, but that’s cool – he loves his work. He first got into travel when he led tours of diplomats around rural Akita Prefecture as a Coordinator for International Relations on the JET Programme. While earning his MA in Japanese Literature at UW-Madison, Evan also began a career in the Anime industry at Anime News Network, where he got to interview lots of cool people and author a weekly art column called The Gallery. If he isn’t on a plane, you can find Evan cycling around LA, baking cookies, using bad puns, or at a convention running panels and helping friends in Artist Alley.
A seasoned world traveler with a passion for exploration, Valerie is PacSet’s Development Coordinator. She spent three years in Hyogo, Japan on the JET Programme teaching English and promoting cultural exchange. After earning her MA in International Education at NYU, she spent several years as a dancing artist teaching and performing in various cities across the globe. Valerie continues to travel using her passion to connect with communities wherever she goes.
Kippu (mascot character)
Kippu – or Kip for short – is the official PacSet mascot character. As an adorable fox, his hobbies include eating tasty food, listening to music, traveling, and flying around on his trusty jetpack. We’re not sure where Kip got the jetpack (we certainly don’t have the budget for such things), but he seems pretty happy when he’s flying around with it, so who are we to judge?
THE GUIDE MAFIA
No thanks to
Suzumebachi Shochu (“The Bees”)
Anime News Network
Anime Twin Cities
Nicole + Damien Rossi
All of our alumni and supporters - you are the reason we work so hard!
PacSet: The Timeline
2011: PacSet launches in December, mere months after the Earthquake and Tsunami, to encourage travel to Japan among non-traditional travelers and anime fans.
2012: We operate five trips in its opening year, including the first Animated Spring, Japan Holiday, and Anime Detour. Highlights include filling an onsen bath with awesome Minnesotans and enlisting the help of locals to find the best yukata in Ito.
2013: Seven trips happened in the second full year, and while the standard adventures were as popular as ever, trips to Ogasawara (Lost Islands) and the massive BL Teahouse Trip quickly establish PacSet's unconventional approach. Highlights: impromptu RuPaul renditions in the streets of Kobe, marathon games of Uno on a ferry with a bunch of school kids, and an in-depth discussion on what the Haagen Dazs "Crispy Sandwich" actually includes.
2014: NINE trips across half of Japan showcases our biggest (and busiest) year yet. Highlights: rescuing a stray cat in Tohoku, buying half of the plum wine in Tomonoura, and a really amazing party in Matsumoto after a visit to the crow castle.
2015: Our fourth full year brought us some of our most envelope-pushing trips yet, as we embarked upon eight adventures that whisked us to almost every corner of Japan. Along the way, we performed an impromptu reading of the Starfighter webcomic, sang the Canadian National Anthem in the streets of Akihabara, and confirmed that Miso Ice Cream is very, very tasty.
2016: Year five had us running some of the biggest and best versions of our most popular trips! Our guest Mark became a sled for the youth of Hokkaido, had our first FanFest Waterslide race, partied with the locals at the Oeshiki Festival, and had our fanciest social night ever on a balcony overlooking Kobe Harborland.
2017: PacSet's busiest year ever sees the business lead its first ever school trip and its largest Animated Spring group ever.
2018: PacSet reaches its 50 trip milestone!