essential guide to tokyo japan tech scene

Come September 8, Tech in Asia will be holding its signature two-day conference in Tokyo. We’re extremely excited to be attending this event. It’ll be our first time in Japan’s vibrant capital, so to ensure that we don’t miss anything, we’ve gone ahead and created a simple guide to the local tech scene.

Now, we’re sharing it with you! Do note that it is not exhaustive – feel free to add in stuff that we’ve missed out in the comments below!

People to meet

saemin ahn

Rakuten Ventures’ Saemin Ahn.

Japan might be well-known as a country full of quirky and futuristic contraptions, but make no mistake – it’s tech startup scene has only in recent years been on the rise. Here are some of the people who played a crucial role in making that happen, and can help you make all the right connections (provided you buy them drinks, of course).

– Akio Tanaka (co-founder and managing partner at Infinity Venture Partners)

– Masahiko Honma (general partner at Incubate Fund)

– Batara Eto (co-founder and managing partner at East Ventures)

– Hiroyuki Watanabe (CEO at B Dash Ventures)

– Yuya Takegawa (vice president of CyberAgent Ventures)

– Takeshi Ebihara (founding general partner of Rebright Partners)

– Saemin Ahn (managing partner at Rakuten Ventures)

– James Riney (venture capitalist at DeNA)

– Akiko Naka (founder and CEO at Wantedly)

– Brandon Hill (CEO of btrax)

– Matthew Romaine (co-founder and CEO of Gengo)

– Ken Suzuki (co-founder and co-CEO at SmartNews)

– Naofumi Tsuchiya (president and CEO of Goodpatch)

Places to visit

hive shibuya coworking japan tokyo

Hive Shibuya, the newest coworking space in Tokyo.

It’s common knowledge that co-working spaces and accelerators are the very heartbeat of a city’s tech scene. Here are some English-friendly options you should definitely visit while you’re in town (hat tip to Tech in Asia’s very own Japan editor, J.T. Quigley).

– Co-ba Shibuya

– Hive Shibuya (newest in town, home to East Ventures and Skyland Ventures)

– Startup Dojo

– The Terminal

– CyberAgent Ventures Startup Base Camp

– HAPON Shinjuku

– Shinjuku Travelers Coworking

– Creative Lounge MOV (conveniently located in the very building that the conference will be held, registration with passport required)

– DMM.make Akiba (hardware only)

Essentials you need

essential guide to tokyo japan

Most Japanese only have a basic understanding of English, so it is essential that you arrive in Tokyo well-prepared – or else, be ready to point and gesture frequently! Below are some items that would make your trip to Tokyo a little more pleasant.

– Suica (prepaid rail pass)

– A subway map app (Tokyo Metro is a good option in English)

– Pocket wifi (can be purchased at Haneda or Narita airports)

– Travel adapter (the Japanese use two-pin plugs)

– Poncho / Umbrella (it gets rainy during September)

– Local currency / Traveler’s cheques (most local ATMs do not accept foreign cards)

If you’ll be in Tokyo from 6-9 Sept, we’d love to meet up with you. Drop us a line!

Images from Tech in Asia, Skyland Ventures, Stefan Lins

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