Alumni in this dazzling megacity are dedicated to boosting the next generation of Booth graduates from Japan.
- By October 10, 2017
The Tokyo Experts
John Ehara, ’78
Cofounder and Partner, Unison Capital
Hirokazu Morita, ’13
Founder, 3D Stylee
Mark Miller, ’87
Founder, M.Square Inc.
Akiko Nakajo, ’06 (AXP-5)
Director of YouTube Partnerships Japan, Google
Kyota Narimatsu, ’11 (AXP-10)
Principal and Copresident, Finsbury Japan
The Free Afternoon: Zeniarai Benten Shrine
The Shinto shrine, built circa 1185 inside a cave, is about an hour outside of Tokyo by train. Those who stop in to the candlelit shrine can spend part of the afternoon washing paper money or coins with the spring water inside the cave, a custom that is said to bring prosperity. (The washed money then needs to be spent in order to double in value.) The tradition isn’t always closely followed. “I even washed a credit card once,” recalled Nakajo. Visitors to the shrine can also spend time hiking in the nearby areas.
The Private Meeting: Tokyo Shiba Tofuya Ukai
Right next to the Tokyo Tower, Ukai (specializing in all things tofu) is a draw for visitors eager to see the site. The private rooms make it a good place to take clients for one-on-one meetings with lovely views out onto an elaborate Edo-style garden with a koi pond. Meals are served prix fixe style. “This is a really nice entertainment-type restaurant,” said Miller, who has dined there for business.
The Morning Run: Imperial Palace Jog
Ask locals and they will likely tell you that Tokyo’s most scenic jogging route is a loop around the Imperial Palace, which is slightly longer than a 5K run. The quintessential jogging destination doesn’t involve any street crossings and has plenty of drinking stations and a runners’ station where joggers can shower or rent sports gear. Sights of the palace itself, the Tokyo Tower, and the National Diet Building provide a stunning backdrop to break a sweat. “If you have time, this is the best place for a jog,” said Narimatsu.
The Out-of-Towner Dinner: Honmura An
The 46-seat spot in the Roppongi district has a tasting menu, exquisite service, and dishes unique enough to impress guests, said Nakajo. “During the cherry blossom season, they often put the leaves into the soba noodles, which brings out a really beautiful flavor,” added Nakajo, who used to visit the owner’s previous restaurant in New York.
The One-of-a-Kind Meal: Narisawa
Whether it’s serving up lunch or dinner, the creative Japanese hotspot with French influences is a crowd-pleaser for travelers and locals alike, said Ehara. Once you’ve scored a reservation, be prepared to spend a few hours enjoying the meal at this two-Michelin-starred restaurant. The menu showcases Japanese ingredients through what chef Yoshihiro Narisawa called “innovative Satoyama” cuisine, which is inspired by a part of Japan that’s surrounded by the sea and forests.
—By Alina Dizik