"I try to bring 100 percent of the essence of something, the umami to the outside—that is what I’m trying to do." —Masa

Chef Masa

Masayoshi Takayama's appreciation for food started at a young age, growing up working for his family’s fish market in a town of Tochigi Prefecture, Japan. From his early years of delivering fresh sashimi to neighbors on his bicycle, to prepping and grilling hundreds of fish courses to cater weddings in high school, his relationship with food has always been a way of life.


Chef Masa apprenticed under the direction of sushi master, Sugiyama Toshiaki, at Tokyo’s well-respected Ginza Sushi-ko. The intense training proved invaluable, inspiring his intimate relationship with food and dining as an all-inclusive experience.

Always the dreamer, he followed a boyhood ambition to travel to the U.S. and started a small, casual kitchen serving both traditional Japanese dishes as well as more Americanized staples. His next venture was  more true to his heart and training.

Masa named his next project after his mentor; Ginza Sushi-ko opened in  Beverly Hills with an omakase menu served at a 9 seat counter. In 2004 he opened his renowned Manhattan restaurants Masa and Bar Masa at the Time Warner Center.