I’ve had a long-term love affair with Japan, and Tokyo in particular, as it’s where I started my career 25 years ago. The Japanese and the residents of Tokyo are very passionate people and they are all about giving pleasure rather than collecting it. It’s a wonderful and vibrant place to visit.
Tokyo’s residents are attached to heritage and authenticity while being rooted in the present, and are dedicated to excellence. This gives the city so much energy. On one hand it has such soul and history, and on the other it invites you to go for the unexpected. This contrast catches my breath every time I visit. Of course, the food is also a key part of the mix.
I usually wake up early and take my breakfast at the Mandarin Oriental, Tokyo in Chuo-ku, where I stay. From there, we have a fantastic view of Mount Fuji. When I wake up really early, I love to go to the Tsukiji fish market, which has a very special atmosphere. One of my passions is fishing for sea bass and when I’m not travelling around the world, I go to a tiny, magical island in the northwest of France called Île d’Yeu. The Tsukiji fish market reminds me of its port, with the same excitement early in the morning.
I always look for people to connect with, to talk and share ideas with. Through people, I really understand the soul of the place I’m in. Everyone has something interesting to add; everyone has a good story to tell. Taking my time, smelling, listening, feeling… as if it is my first time in Tokyo. I always seize the opportunity to visit my dear friends in their amazing and singular restaurants: Chikara Yamada, Kanda San and Sushidokoro Tada.
The Berluti shop in Ginza is the ultimate shopping experience. The level of care given in serving their clients offers a moment of pure pleasure. And I’m fascinated by Berluti’s non-conformist spirit, a heritage that has persisted for generation after generation.
If I’m feeling cultural, I love to go for a tea ceremony. The attention to each single detail—the selection of one particular tea, served at a specific temperature, in the perfect cup—draws my admiration. A true art. It’s also a moment when I focus on my feelings and emotions—a moment of intense tranquillity in this city that never settles.
I would probably end my day in Tokyo by having dinner in chef Kanda San’s amazing restaurant in Minato-ku. We have been friends for nearly 30 years. He’s a real sushi master and always has Krug in his fridge. Then we would finish the evening in a ramen bar in Ginza or Shibuya.