Video Ring

Your Timeless Journey Awaits...

Information collected by:
Marco van Embden, CEO, Timeless Africa Safaris
Cape Town YPO Chapter, Founding Member(1987)
YPO Hickok Distinguished Service Honor Winner
Connect with Marco on LinkedIn

I have not personally vetted all of these recommendations, but have collected them from my various networks.

Japan Tour Operators

Inside Japan (Marco recommends – company used by son-in-law)

The J Team – Company recommended on travel network
James Kent

Tokyo Way – Company recommended on travel network
Get in touch with Dhwani Pandya of Tokyo Way at

Real Japan –

Plus Alpha
Contact: Nemo Glassman
Tel: +81 90-9875-1696


Plan Japan –
Rachel Laing
 speaks fluent Japanese and her team is based in Japan. Rachel has done multiple exclusive trips for YPO members and families. For a foodie, she can get you into private and exclusive restaurants which are amazing.
Tel: 0061 434 400 151

Michi Travel Japan
Contact: Shiro Yagaki

Dining Recommendations in Japan
  • INUA – Chef Thomas Frebel showcases Japanese ingredients in a whole new light. Taking its name from the Inuit term for the life force in all living things, INUA marries Japanese seasonality and ingredients with a Nordic sensibility.
  • Ukai Tei is world famous Ginza with its array of Japanese and Western antique furniture, an atmosphere where art-nouveau and Japanese style meet, just like a museum. Here the food is one half of the thrill; the other is watching the mesmerizing skills of the teppanyaki chefs.
  • Kyubey is great for a sushi experience. Not expensive and easier to get a booking.
  • Roku Roku at the Grand Hyatt
  • Gonpachi (Kill Bill restaurant) – really fun setting, unique, even if a little ‘touristy’.
  • Yanesen Nakamura (chef had earned a Michelin star) – bring cash, tell them your budget, and they will tailor it to you.
  • L’Osier (French – fine dining) Located in Shisedo’s luxury Ginza headquarters, The French call this one of the best French restaurants in the world—3 stars, every award you can imagine. It’s French Nouvelle Cuisine adapted to using the best ingredients from around the world—especially in northern Japan.
  • Kitsuneya (Japanese – casual beef gyu don-style) is A treasure that, ironically enough, is located at the main fish market for the country. They have a half-dozen menu items, but the Guy-Don (stewed beef in onion sauce on rice) is one of the best in the world.
  • Tonkatsu Maisen (Japanese – katsu) Perhaps the world’s ultimate comfort food, katsu is tempura’s deeper-flavoured cousin. Come here for a classic and classy take where you’ll be presented with the katsu of your choice (go for the pork cutlet!)
  • Ginza Koso (Japanese – mid-end beef varied-style) An all-around favourite for beef lovers.
  • Ishigaki-Yoshida (Japanese – high-end beef teppanyaki-style) A very special experience and among the best teppan’s in the world. Have a set-course tasting menu, and make sure to try the charcoal bread “beef sandwich” and the scrambled eggs with sea urchin.
  • Tempura Horikawa (Japanese – tempura) Incredible tempura restaurant in the MAIN building at the New Otani Hotel, Akasaka—it’s not a hotel resto but rather a 3rd-party that rents. Reservations not necessary, but you can.
  • Daikanyama Tsutaya Books / Ivy Place Restaurant (Western – assorted) Welcome to the world’s best bookstore… but so much more! An indoor/outdoor experience within three buildings, come here to experience a masterclass of design, care, and attention. Experience the concierge service and buy some books, gifts, and stationary while you’re at it.
  • Fureika (Chinese – varied) It’s a mid-scale sit-down restaurant that combines all the virtues of Japanese culinary skills with Chinese recipes.
  • Isetan Department Store Food Hall (everything – varied)
  • Coco Curry – all over Japan just walk in
  • Ichiran Ramen – all over Japan just walk in
  • Teppan Baby Shinjuku – need to reserve
  • Genki Sushi – all over Japan just walk in
  • Ippudo Ramen – all over Japan just walk in
  • Monja Street – for okonomiyaki
  • Sakura Tei – Shibuya for Okonomiyaki English friendly arty vibe area
  • Gonpachi – popular because it featured in Kill Bill movie. If you go Sunday at 7pm there is a Japanese drum show (Taiko Drumming)
  • Ramen -Ichiran Ramen (Asakusa) is not veg-friendly but best ramen in the world and an experiment to eat on the individual counter seats though they have tables at Asakusa branch.
  • Coco Curry –  Japanese curry rice, a really nice desi touch and taste. Chains all over Tokyo. Vegetarian friendly.
  • T’s Tan Tan Ramen – inside Tokyo station Vegetarian friendly.
  • Hakashu Teppanyaki Shibuya – Teppanyaki- hole in the wall place. Family run, no 1 on trip advisor. Don’t expect fancy but the best Kobe Beef anyone will ever have. Casual steak house. MUST DO 🌟 if you would like we can help reserve this for you as we know the chef very well.
Dining in Tokyo:
  • Soba Noodles and tasting plate at Kamakura Matsubaraan Keyaki near Harajuku
  • Katsu at Katsukura in Chome district
  • Be sure to eat at Tsukiji Itadori Bekkan when going to the market and sit at the bar with the older man in round glasses. Worth the wait and tucked away in a narrow pathway at the market.
  • Sukiyaki at Shabuzen in the Gion district
  • Narisawa is excellent in Tokyo if you can get a spot. – I highly recommend Narisawa. One of the best restaurant experiences we have had over the past decade. Hard to book though last minute!
  • The satoyama-inspired cuisine that Yoshihiro Narisawa serves at his sleek Tokyo restaurant is nothing short of a great experience deserving of the restaurant’s accolades and consistently rated amongst the top restaurants in Asia and in the world.
  • Dining at the Joël Robuchon Restaurant in Tokyo. The most “starred” chef in the world, Joël Robuchon has created a true dining experience in Japan. Located inside a French-style chateau, the restaurant is filled with sparkling crystals everywhere you look. Your gorgeous surroundings and their impeccable service are mere footnotes to the actual food: a French dining experience on par with the best in the world. Actually, 3 Michelin stars means, it is amongst the best in the world
  • New York Grill on the 52nd floor of the Tokyo Park Hyatt. Great food and incredible views of the city
  • L’Effervescence (Fusion – French/Japanese fine dining) If you want the Japanese take on high-end French cuisine, this is your place. A Michelin 3-star chef trained in Europe, this is the most beautiful dining room I think I’ve ever seen.
  • Patisserie Aoki (Fusion – bakery/desserts) An upscale boutique steps from the Imperial Palace grounds where Sadaharu Aoki combines his classical French training with Japanese flavours to create some seriously wonderful desserts. They’re particularly famous for the matchstick chocolates—which will make a fantastic gift for folks back home.
  • Ts tan tan vegan Ramen restuarant inside Tokyo station
  • Afuri only one vegetarian ramen
  • Los Caras Mexican good food near ometasando hills veg friendly
  • Farmers Cafe ometsando hills accommodates vegetarians
  • Krung Siam Nakameguro Thai restuarant in Shibuya veg friendly
  • Koffee Mameya coffee beans experience
  • Nissan Crossing cafe 2nd floor cafe latte art you can get a coffee with your photo on it.
  • Loving hut vegan rest
  • Cicada Mediterranean restuarant
  • Daigo vegetarian Japanese zen restaurant
  • Tofu Ukai

Michelin Star Restaurants:

  • Daigo for some shojin cuisine (pure veg, 2 Michelin stars)
  • kondo for a tempura tasting meal watching a 67 year old master at work
  • da isa in meguro for some of the best pizza this side of Naples
  • Ometosando Ukai-tei – Authentic Teppanyaki – Michilen – Beautiful ambience. President Trump had dinner here on his recent visit to Tokyo.🌟
  • Narisawa – Japanese Asian – Michillean – gastronomic experience. It’s fine dine for sure. Be ready to eat almost anything and everything. The menu and course is a surprise.
  • Tapas Molecular Bar – Fusion cuisine- Michillean- Molecular gastronomic experience. Almost like a food opera. Very difficult to get a reservation. MUST DO🌟
  • Jöel Robuchon – French Cuisine – Michillean – nice romantic French Parisian vibe. vegetarian friendly
  • Tratoria Dai Paesani (Italian) vegetarian friendly
  • Arva (Italian) Restaurant at Aman Hotel
Dining in Roppongi:
  • Sushi at Sukiya-bashi Jiro (Roppongi Hills branch)
  • Jiro Sushi in Roppongi (this is the sons restaurant of the famous Jiro Dreams of Sushi).
  • Best sushi dinner at Kinka in Roppongi.
  • Robotaya Roppongi – Donald Trump likes this cuisine in Tokyo.
Dining in Kyoto:
  • In Kyoto, we stumbled upon Sushiiwa. It was tiny, and ridiculously good.
  • Italian at Scorpione Kichiu Kyoto
  • Kobe Beef at Kobe Misono
  • Donguri – in Kyoto Teppanyaki – just walk in

Bars Recommendations in Japan:
  • Go to Gen Yamamoto for drinks. It’s an 8-seat “bar/lounge”
  • Jus de Pêche (Global – cocktails) traditional cocktail bar set-up. Located in the heart of Roppongi, the creative and traditional selection is the perfect beginning or end to any night (open until 3am)
  • Star Bar Ginza (Western – bar) You instantly go back in time to the 1950’s America feel at this magnificent, super-clean basement bar in the Ginza district. Only bar to have won the best Scotch bar award outside the UK.
  • Tokyo Whiskey Library
  • Mandarin Oriental Bar – Below Tapas Molecular. definitely have a drink there. Excellent collection of whiskey
  • Ritz Carlton Bar, 45th Floor
  • Andaaz Roof Top Bar

Activities in Japan
  • Akihabara – Technology City – Great stop to walk around and take in all of the technology shops and anime
  • Asakusa – Old temples, shops and markets Asakusa
  • Take guided tour on a rickshaw (jinrikisha, literally “man powered vehicle”).
  • Shibuya Crossing – Famous Crosswalk
  • Robot Restaurant – A fun, crazy, unique experience
  • The Yodobashi Camera store in Akihabara is the largest electronics store. 9 floors of every electronic gadgets.
  • Kyoto Day Trip
  • Bullet Train
  • Temples – There are a lot of beautiful options for visiting temples. We only had one day so we went to the ones most highly recommended by taxi to each
  • Visit Hakone Open-air museum (one of the best art experiences i have had in my life anywhere in the world)
Activities in Tokyo:
  • Meiji Jingu Shrine, Harajuku District
  • Nakano Broadway (Otaku “Nerd” culture hotspot for anime, games, cosplay girls etc).
  • Asakusa Shrine and then food in the market next door – Good on holidays and festivals.
  • Museum of Contemporary Art
  • Tokyo Skytower
  • Shimo Kitazawa district for vintage clothing
  • Ginza district for high street shopping
  • Shibuya crossing for the spectacle
  • Robot restaurant for the most amazing show you will see in your whole life.
  • Also must see the Tsukiji fish market
Activities in Osaka:
  • Eat Shaved Ice
  • Eat Okonomiyaki (savoury pancake)
  • Eat street food and see the crazy billboards on the Dotonbori
  • Buy the world’s finest knives at Tower Knives
  • Take a day trip to Kobe
Activities in Kyoto:
  • Food at Nishiki market
  • Gion district evening Geisha walk
  • Fushimi Inari Shrine and Bamboo Forest
  • Kinkakuji golden shrine
  • Yamazaki Distillery

Accommodation Recommendations in Japan
  • We stayed at Parky Hyatt famous from the Bill Murray Movie Lost in Translation. Has a great bar with a view
  • Stay in the five-star Palace Hotel Tokyo in the Marunouchi district. An iconic fixture since opening in 1961, a three-year redesign resulted in a gleaming new 23-story tower that’s retained hints of its historic past — from the original white grand piano in the lobby to the aji stone walls echoing the Imperial Palace stonemasonry.  An award-winning hotel to match our award-winning restaurants.
  • Stay in Mikaway Ryokan to eat kaiseki cuisine and bath in your own private onsen (hot spring), in Hakone
Shopping Recommendations in Japan
  • U-kiyo print shopping and other shopping at Nishiki Market
  • Art and Antiques on Shinmonzen-dori street
  • Shibuya – Shopping

In this article
  • Introduction
  • Japan Tour Operators
  • Dining Recommendations in Japan
  • Bars Recommendations
  • Activity Recommendations
  • Accommodation Recommendations
  • Shopping Recommendations