Miho Beck's encounter with some heavy metal fans in an English pub in Manchester provided the lightbulb moment that redefined the way she thought about travel, eventually leading to the start of her travel experience platform, TripJunction, some 25 years later.

Along with co-founder Taejin Kim, Beck's mission is to help international visitors to Japan connect with locals who can provide an authentic, tailormade experience.

"I was a big fan of heavy metal music and I wanted to see the local (English) scene but it wasn't easy to find that kind of information as there was no internet at the time," she recalls with a smile. "So, I placed a small ad in a heavy metal magazine: 'I'm a 20-year-old Japanese Metallica fan and I'm looking for some friends.'"