Hayden Cox has always been fixated on quality design. It’s what saw him start Haydenshapes Surfboards on Sydney’s Northern Beaches at just 15 years of age and later form a relationship with IWC as a friend of the Swiss watchmaker. Japan was the first country Cox sold surfboards to outside of Australia and his eye for detail informs the 41-year-old’s fascination with the eclectic design influences in the region. “I really love Tokyo and the progressive fashion. You can visit some of the best underground vintage stores in the world there.” Here, he shares his tips for the ultimate Japanese escape.
Indulge in a curated sushi experience
“When I was last in Tokyo, I visited the restaurant Narukiyo and loved it.” Found in the city’s Shibuya precinct, a 15-minute drive south-west of Tokyo’s city centre, the omakase eatery has no menu and is entirely at chef Narukiyo Yoshida’s whim. Sit back and enjoy plates of seasonal dishes that might include deftly sliced chutoro (tuna belly) sashimi or medium-rare Wagyu beef washed down with saké. Plant yourself at the counter of the large open kitchen where you can watch the chefs and “soak up the fun vibe”.
Sleep in a Japanese art gallery
In the heart of Tokyo’s Nihonbashi district, visitors to the BnA Hotel, short for “Bed and Art”, are met with a colourful mural in the lobby bar, where seasonal saké and riffs on fruit smoothies are served. Staying in this hotel, which has 26 rooms, is like bedding down in a small art gallery. “They constantly switch up the art and creativity with rotating local artists who transform each space.” From minimalist dwellings to psychedelic interiors, each room “offers something unique” with the hotel giving a portion of every booking back to the artists.
Ride the epic waves of Tatadohama Beach
“Whenever I’m in Japan I try to make it out to Shizuoka and get a surf in.” Just over three hours’ drive south of Tokyo’s bustle, you’ll find the white sands of Tatadohama Beach. Here, there are glassy waters and sets of rolling waves primed to ride. “There’s a strong surfing community in Japan. Some of the pro shops have been around for generations.”
The precision of watchmaking drew Cox to IWC and he favours the IWC Pilot’s Watch Chronograph Top Gun (Ref. IW389101). He was also attracted to the timepiece’s ceramic case. “It has such a unique materiality – hard-wearing but also very high-end.” The watch has some handy features, with Cox using the stopwatch function in his design workshop when testing new resin formulas. $13,800 RRP.