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About us

Our Vision

To bring together people who would not otherwise be able to meet, and create a world full of WOWs

'WOW’ is an expression we use when we experience something that exceeds our thoughts and imagination. We are most likely to encounter such moments when traveling. In our contemporary world where we have easy access to a variety of information, information that cannot easily be accessed becomes particularly valuable. That is why individuals who possess unique, local insights gain our trust.

WOW U provides encounters with great, local guides, leading to unique experiences that only WOW U can offer. WOW U aims to create a world full of WOWs!

Our Mission

Revitalizing local regions

through inbound tourism

By having tourists experience the charm of regions outside the major cities, we contribute to local economies and cultural exchange.

Making tourism resources visible

By cooperating with local TV stations, we make information and videos about Japan’s local regions accessible to an international audience.

Establishing a new

guide industry

We help transform the guide industry, so that it can appropriately respond to increasing demand and legal reforms.

Members

Founder/CEO

Yukihiro Nakabayashi

After graduating from Waseda University, Yukihiro entered Hiroshima Television Corporation where he worked as a sports director before going on to work at the Osaka branch and Tokyo branch of the company. After carrying out advertising sales in Hiroshima for a major corporation, Yukihiro entered Waseda University Business School in 2013 and graduated in 2015 with an MBA. In December 2016 he started his second company EXest Inc. Yukihiro has a love for the sake and often talks in Hiroshima dialect.

CFO(Outside board member )

Hiroshi Nakanishi

Graduated with a Masters Degree in Science and Engineering at Keio University. Certified Public Accountant. After experiencing work as a developer at an electronics company, went on to work at Nomura Shoken in venture capital investment. In 2014 entered KPMG AZSA and carried out IPO support and CVC fund support. In February 2019, started up joint company called PAQS Partners, LLC in order to help support another venture company. At the same time, also became the outside director and audit & supervisory board member of many venture companies.

Editor

Chihiro Hayashi

Chihiro used to work at a specialized trading company before developing a spontaneous interest in the creative field. After a bit of freelance work while studying,  

 Chihiro joined EXest Inc. Chihiro covers the company’s media operations whilst also working as an editor/writer. She likes Japanese comedian Kazu Lazer.

Global Strategy

Pascal Wenz 

From Germany, Pascal majored in Japanese studies at the University of Cambridge due to having an interest in Japanese history. After graduating, Pascal went on to do research in Japanese Buddhism at Osaka University and America’s Princeton University Master’s program. After then gaining experience working as a strategy consultant at major PR company APCO Worldwide’s Japan branch, Pascal entered EXest. He currently works in Strategy and Operations at EXest.

PR/Editor

Miyuki Kashiwado

After graduating from university in America, Miyuki returned to Japan where she worked as a freelance writer writing articles in English and Japanese whilst working a separate job. After searching for what else she could do to help foreign visitors to Japan besides writing articles in English, Miyuki found EXest. Miyuki mainly works as an article editor as well as in media operations. 

Guide Management

Sumire Bessho

First university graduate employee at EXest. From Kagawa prefecture. Majored in English and Chinese at university. Sumire had a long term interest in the regional revitalization and after clicking with EXest’s vision decided to enter the company. Sumire currently covers social media content operations and helps Kotomi with guide support also. Sumire loves curry and likes to be called the “curry queen”.

After working at a digital contents and video production company Yuki entered an advertising company. After covering several national clients as a copywriter, Yuki participated in a video marketing startup company from 2015. Yuki worked a wide range of roles consulting in the marketing strategy field as well as starting up media outlets, creative production, and post project surveys.

Yuki Chiba

CMO

After graduating from university Kotomi worked at company LexisKorea supporting Japanese students studying in Korea. Through this experience, Kotomi wanted to develop and work further in connecting people and promoting intercultural exchange, and came to the decision to enter EXest Inc. At present, Kotomi is in charge of the support of guides and general guide operations.

Kotomi Uemura

Guide Management

After graduating Akito worked as an infrastructure engineer for a few years before becoming a freelance engineer. After taking part in several OSS projects, Akito entered EXest after being attracted to the WOW U vision. Akito leads all of WOW U’s service operations. In his spare time, Akito writes code for the Matrix.

Akito Tsutsui

Lead Engineer

Mariko worked for 5 years in the textiles department of a general trading company handling apparel import operations. After this Mariko went on to intern at a PR/Advertising company in Hawaii. After returning to Japan Mariko worked as an assistant marketing manager where she dealt with digital marketing and also worked as a designer and editor at the Hawaii tourism bureau. 

Mariko Shigeoka

Product Manager

George was born and raised in London before going on to the University of Leeds. After winning a national Japanese speech contest George went on to be a MEXT research student at TUFS in Tokyo where he mainly researched second language acquisition and language education. After this George worked in sales at Hitachi before becoming a Starbucks Reserve store manager. George has also been to all 47 prefectures in Japan and has spent a year traveling the world. At EXest, George’s work mainly consists of translation/interpretation work along with managing international interns and also writing English content for the WOW U website.

George Walker

Global Strategy

After graduating from university, Kenzo worked at a major software vendor company but quit the company within a year. Afterwards Kenzo taught himself programming before joining EXest in August, 2019. Kenzo currently works on development and media managment along with SEO measures.

Kenzo Tanaka

Engineer