Kazuhiko Hayakawa , born and raised in Nagano, Japan, decided to pursue the culinary arts at a young age. At 16, he apprenticed at Hotel Kotobukiya to learn the basic skills for the culinary arts. Soon after, in 1967, he trained at the Ichizaka culinary school where he learned what would form the foundation for his future creations. Ichizaka offered him an opportunity to learn cuisine from a variety of cultures, spanning from traditional Japanese, Chinese, and French cuisine. Upon completion of culinary school, Hayakawa decided to refine his skills and trained at the famous Tsuruhachi restaurant in Tokyo. At the time, Tsuruhachi was a renowned restaurant from which chefs were brought in to the imperial court to serve the Emperor of Japan. Here, he acquired skills to create beautiful traditional creations, which would serve as the foundation of many course meal dishes in his future restaurant.