Japan is a beautiful, culturally rich and vibrant country that never fails to amaze travelers from any part of the world. If you’re a tech startup heading there for the first time and concerned on how to navigate around, fret not – you’ll be sufficiently prepared with this useful guide we’ve put together for you.
Find out the what, where, and who below!
List of co-working spaces to go
From as little as 1000 yen (US$8.95) a day, you can enjoy the comfort and peace working in Japan’s co-working spaces. Whether you seek a cosy, cool, or café-like place to clear your work, be delighted at the range of options and amenities they are fully equipped with.
Here are some spaces we’ve compiled:
- Ginza Hub
- Yahoo Lodge
- Hive Shibuya
- Diagonal Run Tokyo
- GRID Nagatacho
- the SNACK
- Creative Hub131
- ATAATA House
- Creative Lounge MOV
Or if you prefer working to the aroma of freshly grounded coffee, this article features a compilation of cafes with free wifi connection.
People to know/meet
You’ve traveled all the way to Tokyo, so don’t miss the chance to meet some of the established industry experts in person and learn about Japan’s unique startup ecosystem.
Below’s a (non-exhaustive) list of who you should meet – people who have made significant contributions to the local tech scene. Use your time wisely and get interesting snippets of information and insight from what they have to share!
- Daisuke Sasaki is the CEO & co-founder of Freee, one of Japan’s top 10 funded companies and most used cloud accounting software in the country.
- Yasukane Matsumoto is a salaryman turned entrepreneur. He is currently the CEO of Raksul, and was selected as a Forbes CEO of the year.
- Yuzu Kano is the CEO & co-founder of bitFlyer, and the chief of JADA (Japan Authority of Digital Assets).
- Mio Takaoka is Partner at Arbor Ventures and Advisor of Monex Group, Inc. She is named one of the top 100 fintech leaders in Asia and also a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader.
- James Riney is Managing Partner & Head of 500 Startups Japan. He was listed in Forbes Asia’s 30 Under 30 in 2016 for his contributions to the venture capital field.
- Max Kinoshita is an angel investor, the founder of MugenUp, and now the managing partner of Skyland Ventures.
- Miki Nomura is the Japan Country Manager at Make School, a computer science and product development school training a new generation of creators and problem solvers.
- Shinji Kimura is an angel investor, the founder of Gunosy, and the current CEO of AnyPay.
- Natalie Fleming is the co-founder of Fintech Association of Japan and also Director of Banking & Regulatory Relations (Asia Pacific) at Payoneer.
- Akira Kurabayashi has supported more than 30 Japanese SaaS/Cloud startups, and is MD of the legendary Draper Nexus in Tokyo.
- Masanori Hashimoto is the co-founder and CEO of Nulab, Japan’s global startup pioneer with no venture capital.
- Akio Tanaka was formerly the head of the venture investment program for Adobe in Asia. He is now co-founder and managing partner of Infinity Venture Partners.
One thing they have in common – all of them will be speaking at TIA Tokyo 2017, so catch them there for an exciting experience! Check out which sessions they’ll be speaking at.
These are a few of the accelerator and incubator programmes you’ll find in Japan that may be useful:
- Plug and Play
- TECH LAB PAAK
- Code Republic
- Mitsubishi Digital Accelerator
- Will Group Accelerator
- Open Network Lab
- Fujitsu Acceleration Program
- Ishikawa Science Park
- NIRO (New Industry Research Organization)
- Japan Railways/subway: this is the most pocket-friendly way of traveling within the city (apart from walking of course), but its train maps can get confusing, so make sure you plan out your route and journey with ample time allowance! We recommend using NAVITIME or Tokyo Subway Navigation.
- Hyperdia: This is an easy-to-use, online timetable of the railway and aviation services in Japan. The optimal routes and fares are provided to guide you through your journey!
- Google Maps: A staple real-time GPS navigation for transit, details, and traffic, we’re pretty sure this needs no introduction.
- Private hire: Taxis are expensive and ride-sharing services like Uber are not really popular in Japan, but can help save you time if you’re running late for a meeting!
What to bring/prepare for a smooth journey
These are necessities you need to carry around with you during your trip for a pleasant, problem-free time there! Unless you can speak fluent Japanese, we highly recommend you follow this list.
- Pocket wifi: Free wifi is rare in Japan. In some cases, you need Google Maps to navigate your way, which means a stable wifi connection is a must!
- Travel adaptor: Because you don’t want to be running around trying to find a two-pin plug on a dying phone or laptop.
- Suica/Pasmo card: This is THE card you need to cover your public transportation needs.
- Power bank: Google Maps saps your battery faster, and it’s not possible going around the whole day without a portable charger, or one for emergency use!
- TIA Conference chat app: This helps you to connect and set meetings with attendees easily and conveniently. All attendees of Tech in Asia Tokyo would have received an email with access details to the app.
Have any other tips to contribute? Comment below!
Doors to the fourth edition of Tech in Asia Tokyo will open in six days. Don’t miss out on your final chance to catch Japan’s real tech conference and connect with startups, corporations, investors, and tech geeks from all over the world. Get your passes before it’s too late!
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