Our History

As a reference for the travel industry both in Japan and worldwide, with over 100 years of expertise and innovation, JTB has an amazing history. Here are some of the major events and expansions that helped shape JTB into the global leading company that it is today.

1893 March

The “Kihinkai” (Welcome Society) is established as Japan’s first organization to attract foreign visitors.

1912 March

On March 12, the Japan Tourist Bureau (JTB) is founded, as a collaboration between the government and the private sector in order to promote travel to Japan by travelers from overseas, taking on the mission of the “Kihinkai”.

1912 November

Inquiry offices are opened in Dalian, Gyeongseong (modern day Seoul) and Taipei.

1913 June

The magazine “Tourist” reporting about tourism business in Japan based on detailed investigation is launched both in Japan and abroad.

1913 August in America

Opened “Japan Tourist Bureau” information desk in New York.

1913 November

Published an official English guidebook “Japan”, and distributed to many global organizations in many countries.

1914 March in Europe

Opened “Japan Tourist Bureau” inquiry office in Berlin.

1915 January

Commissioned by the Ministry of Railways to sell tickets to foreign visitors.

1916 July

The JTB emblem was created for the cover of “Tourist” magazine. This is the first promotional material for JTB.

1920 July

Signed agency agreement with Thomas Cook and started to sell traveler's check and various tickets.

1924 April

The magazine “Travel” was launched to promote leisure trips in the Japan market.

1925 April

Launched the “Train Timetable”, which will later become the “JTB Timetable”, which is still being published nowadays.

1925 December

Started selling domestic railway tickets and “special coupons” (railway & accommodation) to Japanese customers.

1927 January

Issued Japan's first Traveler's Check in Japanese Yen.

1929 October

Held a Japan Day in New York and exhibitions introducing Japan at the Roxy Theater and Columbia University in New York.

1932 January

Start selling accommodation vouchers for designated ryokan, which were included in the Special coupons.

1935 July

Start of operations and arrangements for conducted group tours, organized by the Ministry of Railways.

1940 September

JTB is instrumental in the evacuation of over 4000 Jews escaping from the Nazis to America via Japan during WWII.

Jewish Passengers with crew and JTB Agent Tatsuo Osako (left), from the special booklet “Visas for life”.

1948 November

Accredited as an IATA travel agent.

1952 December

First edition of the calendar “Tabi no Egoyomi” is published.

1955 April

The first series tour for foreign tourists called “Nikko” (a prototype of “SUNRISE TOURS”) operated.

1957 February in America

Opened New York office.

1957 March in America

Opened Los Angeles office.

1960 December

Headquarters building in Marunouchi is completed.

1962 March

50th Anniversary of JTB's foundation, published a special book “Japan” with many beautiful pictures of Japan with Japanese/English texts.

1962 August in Asia Pacific region

Opened Sydney office.

1963 November in America

Opened Chicago office.

1963 November in Europe

Opened representative office in Paris. This office will later become a branch office in 1972.

1963 November

Demutualization to establish JAPAN TRAVEL BUREAU Inc. as a joint stock corporation.

1964 January in America

JTB International, Inc. is established in New York with a local subsidiary in the office. A San Francisco office is also established.

1964 March

SUNRISE TOURS is launched for the Japan inbound travel market.

1964 October

Handling operations for the 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, the first Olympic Games held in Asia.

1964 October in America

Established Honolulu office.

1967 March in Asia Pacific region

Opened representative office in Hong Kong.

1968 June

The LOOK brand is launched for guided tours for Japanese customers to visit abroad.

1970 March

Arrangements provided for 12 million people at the 1970 World Exposition held in Osaka.

1971 January

JTB Launches the ACE brand for domestic tours.

1973 January in Europe

Opened representative office in London. This office will later become a branch office in 1974.

1973 February in Europe

Opened representative office in Geneva. This office will later become a branch office in 1974.

1973 March in Europe

Opened representative office in Rome. This office will later become a branch office in 1975.

1973 May in Micronesia

Established Guam branch office.

1973 July

“Rurubu” Magazine is launched to promote leisure trips both inside & outside of Japan for Japanese customers.

1975 December in Micronesia

Acquired a local coach company to establish Lam Lam Tours & Transportation.

1976 March in Micronesia

Tasi Tours & Transportation, Inc. is established.

1978 August

International Congress Service is established for high-quality work in the fields of international congresses, academic conferences, corporate events, trade shows and the management of various programs.

1981 December in Europe

Travel Plaza Europe is established, which is a parent company of all companies we have in Europe.

1982 March in Europe

Paris office becomes a local subsidiary, established as JTB France S.A.S.

1982 March in Europe

JTB Germany GmbH is established in Frankfurt.

1982 May

“Mori no nigiwai”, a new festival to promote folk local culture becomes a regular JTB event.

1982 July

Start to sell Japan Rail Pass as an official agent of JR.

1982 August in America

Established Canadian subsidiary JTB International (Canada) Ltd. in Toronto.

1982 December in China

Opened an inquiry office in Beijing, the first office in China.

1983 February

Founded “JTB Goodwill Foundation” in Hawaii to promote cross cultural communications between Japan and Hawaii.

1983 April in America

Established Vancouver branch office.

1983 June in Europe

London office become a local corporation with the function of regional headquarters of JTB offices in Europe, established as JTB UK Ltd.

1984 April

SUNRISE TOURS served over 3,000,000 customers since its opening.

1985 June in America

Sunrise Plaza Inc. is established in Los Angeles to do coach operations.

1985 November

JTB Tourist Spot Cleanup Campaign launched to maintain clean touristic spots and engage with local communities.

1985 December in Micronesia

Pacific Micronesia Tours, Inc. is established in Tokyo as a sales headquarters for the Japanese market to visit Guam, Saipan and other islands in Micronesia.

1986 April in America

Opened Banff office to cover services in Canadian rocky mountain area.

1986 July in China

Opened an inquiry office in Shanghai, China.

1987 March in Europe

Vienna branch office is established in Austria.

1987 March in Europe

JTB Viajes Spain S.A. is established with a branch office in Madrid.

1987 April in Asia Pacific region

Sydney office becomes a local subsidiary and is established as JTB Australia PTY Limited.

1987 June in Asia Pacific region

Opened representative office in Singapore. In October, it became a local subsidiary and is established as JTB PTE Ltd to start hotel bookings.

1987 August in Asia Pacific region

Opened Gold coast office in Australia.

1987 December in America

Spin off some of the business in JTBI Canada to form Tourland Travel Ltd.

1988 January in Asia Pacific region

JTB Oceania PTY Limited is established with the function of headquarter of JTB offices in Oceania.

1988 April

JTB World Vacations Co., Ltd. begins wholesale sales of “Look” packages tours for Japanese market to travel overseas.

1988 July in China

MY BUS (Hong Kong) Ltd. is established to operate sightseeing bus tours in Hong Kong.

1988 October

Renamed JTB Inc., and the brand logo with the corporate colors were redesigned.

1988 October in America

Established the Torrance Extension Office near Los Angeles.

1988 December in Asia Pacific region

JTB New Zealand Limited is established.

1989 March in Micronesia

PMT Guam Corporation is established to manage companies in Guam.

1989 July

Establishment of JI Accident & Fire Insurance Co., Ltd., in a joint venture with AIG of the United States.

1990 February in America

Opened sales office in Orlando, Florida, the U.S.

1990 March in Europe

JTB Greece E.P.E. is established as a joint venture with Hellenic Tours in Athens.

1990 June in Asia Pacific region

Opened representative office in Bangkok. This office becomes JTB Thailand Ltd. in October.

1990 June in Asia Pacific region

JTB (Malaysia) Sdn. Bhd. Is established in Kuala Lumpur.

1990 August in Europe

My Bus UK is established to operate sightseeing bus tours in U.K.

1990 August in Asia Pacific region

Acquired local land operator to form STC (Southeast Travel Center) to do direct operations in Taiwan.

1990 September in Europe

My Bus Italy S.R.L. is established to operate sightseeing bus tours in Italy.

1990 November in Micronesia

T.P. Micronesia, Inc. is established to manage Lam Lam Tours & Transportation.

1990 November in America

Opened sales office in New Jersey, the U.S.

1990 December in America

Honolulu Branch Office is divided to form JTB Hawaii Inc.

1991 February in Europe

JTB UK Ltd. changed company name to JTB Europe Ltd.

1991 March in America

JTB Americas Ltd. is established as a regional headquarters of the U.S. mainland, Canada and Hawaii.

1991 April in Europe

Opened sales office in Milano, Italy.

1991 May in Asia Pacific region

PT. JTB Indonesia is established in Jakarta.

1991 October in Asia Pacific region

Opened sales office in Bali, Indonesia.

1992 January in Europe

Spin off of the local operation function from JTB Europe Ltd. to form JTB UK Ltd.

1992 April in Europe

Geneva office become a local subsidiary, established as JTB Switzerland S.A.

1992 April in America

Spin off of the transportation division of Sunrise Plaza, Inc. to form Sunrise Plaza Transportation Co.

1992 October

JTB DATA SERVICE, Inc., is established as a special subsidiary to promote employment of persons with disabilities.

1992 November

Construction of the group headquarters' training center “Foresta” is completed in Tama City.

1993 August in Europe

JTB Netherlands B.V. is established and opened Amsterdam office.

1994 June in Europe

My Bus France is established.

1995 March

Celebration of the 1st Honolulu festival which is Hawaii’s premier cultural event, promoting mutual understanding, economic cooperation and ethnic harmony between the people of Hawaii and the Pacific Rim region.

1995 April

Oli Oli trolleys, the circular bus service in Honolulu, implemented in Hawaii for Look JTB passengers.

1996 June in Europe

Rome Branch Office is divided from Travel Plaza Europe to form JTB Italy S.R.L.

1996 November in America

JTB Americas moved company headquarters from New York to Los Angeles.

1997 April in America

Spin off of the outbound division in the U.S. to form JTB USA, Inc.

1997 December in America

Sunrise Plaza Transportation of Nevada, Inc., a coach company in the Las Vegas area is established.

1998 February

Handling of The 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano.

1998 April

Start of full scale online sales on “JTB INFO CREW” system to sell travel products with online payment.

1998 December in Europe

City Circle UK Ltd. is established as a joint venture with Miki Travel in U.K.

1999 May

The JTB Code of Conduct is formulated.

2000 February

JTB BENEFIT SERVICE Corp. is established to handle the outsourcing of welfare and other benefts.

2000 March

Internet travel sales company Tavigator, Inc. established jointly with Yahoo Japan Corp. and the Softbank Group.

2000 April in China

JTB New Century International Tours Co., Ltd. is established in Beijing, China.

2000 December

JTB-CWT Business Travel Solutions, Inc., is established as a business travel company, in a joint venture with Carlson Wagonlit Travel (CWT).

2001 January

Renamed from JAPAN TRAVEL BUREAU Inc. to JTB Corp. and Head Office moves to Tennozu in Tokyo.

2002 June

Handled all official transportation and other tours relating to the FIFA World Cup jointly hosted by Korea and Japan.

2003 January

JTB Group Environmental Declaration enactment.

2003 March

ACE JTB customers top 10 million/year.

2004 January in Asia Pacific region

STC in Taiwan is reorganized to establish JTB Taiwan Ltd.

2004 June

All the Publishing operations in JTB Group combined to form JTB Publishing Inc.

2005 February

Celebration of the 2005 Japan-Korea Friendship Year. “Mori No Nigiwai” festival held in South Korea.

2005 April in Japan

Spin off of the Japan Inbound division in JTB Headquarters to form JTB Global Marketing and Travel.

2006 April

Transfer to a new management structure (segmentalization of business to split-up the company), and “Your Global Lifestyle Partner” designated as the new Group tie-line.

2006 June

JTB Americas reorganized from a pure holding company to an operation and holding company to build a business and sales structure encompassing 17 companies in Canada, the USA and Hawaii.

2006 July

Establishment of J&J Business Development Corp., as a joint venture with JCB Co., Ltd. , a credit card company to expand new business.

2007 April

“JAPANiCAN.com” launched to provide online multilingual services for overseas visitors to Japan.

2007 April in America

America Travel LLC is established as a joint venture with STW USA in the U.S.

2007 May in America

JTB Global Travel Services became a member of JTB Group.

2007 May in Korea

LOTTE JTB Co., Ltd is established in South Korea as a joint venture with LOTTE Group.

2007 June in America

Tachibana Enterprises, LLC becomes part of the JTB Group.

2007 June in China

JTB China Corp is established as a regional headquarters of China.

2007 August in Asia Pacific region

JTB (Macau) Travel Ltd. is established.

2008 January in Europe

Tumlare Group became a member of JTB Group.

2008 January in China

JTB (Guangzhou) International Tours Co., Ltd. is established.

2008 February in America

Silkway Travel and Cruise Inc. became a member of JTB Group.

2008 April in Asia Pacific region

JTB-TNT Co. Ltd. is established as a joint venture with T&T in Vietnam.

2008 July

Handling of the Hokkaido Toyako Summit (34th G8 Summit).

2008 August in America

Lassen Tours becomes a member of JTB Group.

2009 February

Global Business Unit (GBU) headquarters is formed in JTB Group headquarters to expand global business.

2009 April

JTB Timetable 1,000th issue.

2009 July

GMT merge with JAPANiCAN, and start to accept credit card settlement with China Union Pay.

2010 October in Asia Pacific region

Star Holiday Mart Pte Ltd becomes a member of JTB Group.

2010 October in Asia Pacific region

Singapore Alive Pte Ltd becomes a member of JTB Group.

2010 December

“Rurubu” is offcially recognized as the largest selling travel guide series in the world, by the Guinness Book of Records™.

2010

Handling of the Asian Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Conference.

2011 April

Formulation of a new Group brand message, “The JTB Way.”

2011 May

In China, NEW CENTURY INTERNATIONAL TOUR CO., LTD. acquired the permission for overseas travel sales for Chinese citizens. In September of the same year, the company started to sell a travel product, “Youyi.”

2011 November in Asia Pacific region

JTB India Private Limited. is established.

2012 March

100th anniversary of JTB foundation.

2012 July

Served 7,178 people at the London Olympics.

2013 July in Asia Pacific region

JTB Polestar Co., Ltd. is established in Myanmar.

2013 November in America

Established JTB LATINO AMÉRICA PARTICIPAÇÕES LTDA. and JTB BRASIL PARTICIPAÇÕES LTDA. as the holding company in each respective region and country.
Grupo Alatur and JTB Americas, Ltd. established Alatur JTB Viagens e Turismo S. A. (Alatur JTB) as a joint venture in Brazil.

2014 March in Asia Pacific region

Dynasty Travel International Pte. Ltd. in Singapore becomes part of the JTB Group.

2014 April

JTB Kumamoto Relations Center established to outsource the backyard tasks of the sales functions.

2014 April in Asia Pacific region

PT. Kura Kura Indonesia, a coach company in Bali is established.

2014 July in Europe

Europamundo Vacaciones in Spain becomes a member of JTB Group.

2014 September

Signing of United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) World Tourism Ethics Charter.

2014 September in China

JTB Tours Shanghai Co., LTD. is established as a joint venture with East Travel Co. Ltd., Shanghai.

2014 October in America

Quickly Travel Agência de Viagens e Turismo Ltda. (Quickly Travel) became a member of Alatur JTB Group in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

2014 October

State of Hawaii declares October 1, 2014 as “JTB Day”, commemorating the 50th anniversary of JTB Honolulu Branch opening.

2014 December in Asia Pacific region

Tour East Holdings Pte Ltd becomes a member of the JTB Group.

2015 January in America

Merger of JTB USA, Inc. & JTB International, Inc. to form JTB USA, Inc.

2015 April in Asia Pacific region

JTB Philippines is established.

2015 September

“JTB Sports” established as new brand to promote tours related to sports.

2016 March

JTB concludes Official Travel Service Partner agreement for 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games.

2016 April

JTB Communication design Inc., a specialized company in arranging meetings, conventions or trade shows is established.

2017 January in America

MC&A in Hawaii becomes a member of JTB Group.

2017 March in Asia Pacific region

PT Panorama JTB Tours is established as a joint venture with Panorama Group in Indonesia.

2017 June

JTB University (Global) launches in Singapore.

2017 August

JTB Singapore's 30th anniversary, coinciding with the celebration of 50 years of Japan-Singapore diplomatic relations.

2017 September

Kuoni Global Travel Services becomes a member of JTB Group