Food Sake Tokyo conducts private guided field trips to Tokyo’s popular food destinations that is led by food professionals. Yukari Sakamoto is a chef, sommelier, shōchū advisor, and author of Food Sake Tokyo. Popular topics include market visits to Tsukiji, depachika, or shopping at local supermarkets. The customized tours are suited to your needs and includes suggesting restaurants in Tokyo for your trip. What makes Food Sake Tokyo different from other food tour companies is that we are food professionals ourselves (my husband Shinji sometimes helps with the tours). Shinji is also trained as a chef at the Tsuji Culinary Academy as well as a seafood specialist. We offer a unique insight to the food culture of Japan. Many of our clients are professional chefs, restaurateurs, beverage specialists, food retailers, and food journalists. Other services we provide include:
- Tokyo food tours led by a chef, sommelier, and shōchū advisor.
- Interpreting from Japanese to English for food related events, market tours, cookbooks, websites.
- Interpreting services for English speaking food professionals (retail and restaurants) visiting Japan.
- Depachika tours that deconstruct the massive food halls by Yukari, a former employee of one of Tokyo’s most famous depachika.
- Supermarket tours to learn about Japanese ingredients.
- Appearing in food and saké travel programs and interpreting services for food and beverage journalists.
Tsukiji Tour photo by Jun Takagi from Budget Travel
Praise of our Tokyo Food Tours: Travel & Leisure: World’s Greatest Tour Guides Budget Travel Rick Bayless ” I can’t thank you enough – I wish I had done this 4 months ago!” regarding supermarket tour – AK, Kamakura
“We love the sushi lunch as well and thought that the explanations and pictures of the different seafood were extremely helpful. For the first time in our life, we could at least visualize the seafood we were eating. Shinji’s insightful knowledge of seafood brought the tour of Tsujiki Market alive.” TK, Singapore
“Your knowledge shines through and your friendly and professional manner to your guests and the shopkeepers alike puts everyone at ease.” WL, Sydney
“We had great fun exploring the shops with you and learning the identities and uses of some of those different foods and ingredients that we’d seen but had only been able to guess at thus far, or those that we had never noticed before.” A&H, Orlando, Florida
“…especially to Shinji for a very enjoyable and informative tour of Tsukiji and environs, and a delicious sushi lunch. Our morning visit was one of the real highlights of our time in Japan!” BH, USA
“After reading the wonderfully informative and gorgeously illustrated “Food Sake Tokyo,” I knew I had to take a food tour with Yukari Sakamoto. During a two-hour guided stroll through the depachika in Takashimaya’s flagship store, I learned more than I could have ever imagined about Japanese food, history and culture. Of all the experiences I managed to squeeze in during my first trip to Japan, my tour with Yukari was easily the best.” EL, New York
“Shinji was a wonderful guide–informative, friendly, and full of enthusiasm for the market. We felt that we gained a real understanding of the market itself and learned about some products we can use in our own cooking at home–just what we wanted.” SK, New York City
“We had a fantastic time with Shinji in the fish market. We went on the later shift (i.e after the tuna fish auction) nevertheless that did not detract from the unique experience we had walking through the market with someone as knowledgeable as Shinji. He meticulously explained all the different types of fish, was very friendly and smiling from the outset, very generous with his time and took it upon himself to explain some of the more subtle cultural references that we would have been oblivious to had he not pointed them out. It’s very obvious he is passionate about Japanese food and cooking and truly loves the fish market. We were in great hands and don’t think we would have had enjoyed browsing through the bustling market a fraction as much were it not for Shinji. Would highly recommend. Good luck to Shinji and Yukari whose clear passion for Japanese food can make a stroll through the local fish market a delightful memory.” AA, London
- Born in Tokyo and raised on the shores of Lake Wobegon, Yukari Sakamoto trained as a chef and baker at the French Culinary Institute. Following that she trained as a sommelier at The American Sommelier Association and worked as a sommelier at the New York Bar and Grill in the Park Hyatt Tokyo. She also worked at Takashimaya’s flagship store in Nihonbashi as a sommelier in the saké department of the depachika. While at Takashimaya she passed the exam to be a shōchū advisor. Shōchū is a distilled spirit native to Japan. Yukari apprenticed at Coco Farm and Winery in Ashikaga, Tochigi. Yukari also offers market tours with Elizabeth Andoh’s Taste of Culture. Yukari’s writing can be found in Food & Wine, Saveur, The Japan Times, and several other publications. She is a regular contributor to Metropolis magazine in Tokyo.
Yukari is married to Shinji Sakamoto, a former buyer at Tsukiji Market. Shinji has ten years’ retail experience in Japan selling seasonal seafood directly to customers. He would make cooking recommendations and cut up seasonal fish as the customer needed. He also has three years’ experience selling seasonal Japanese seafood and frozen seafood in both New York City and Singapore.
Yukari’s first book, Food Sake Tokyo, is published by The Little Bookroom as a part of the Terroir Guides. It is a food lover’s guide to Japanese food and beverages and introduces restaurants and food shops in Tokyo. There is also a chapter on Kyoto’s Nishiki Market. The first half of the book focuses on the food and beverages of Japan. The second half selects some of Tokyo’s popular destinations by station and suggests shops not to be missed in that area. Any changes to information in Food Sake Tokyo, that I am aware of, will be posted on this blog. Please search under “updates” for the most recent PDF that you can print out. Our other blog focuses on cooking Japanese food at home.
Contact: yukari dot shinji dot sakamoto at gmail dot com. Please let us know what dates you are interested in when contacting us.
GENERAL CANCELLATION POLICY: Should Food Sake Tokyo need to cancel any or all segments of a program, every effort will be made to re-schedule sessions at a mutually convenient time. If that is not possible, a full refund will be made promptly for sessions canceled by Food Sake Tokyo. If an individual or group is unable to attend a Food Sake Tokyo program for which they have already enrolled, that person or group may designate a substitute for him/her/them. No additional fees are charged to the participant (substitute attendee). Any financial arrangements made between the original participant and his/her/their substitute is at the discretion of the person originally enrolled. All requests to have a substitute attend a program, however, must be received by phone or e-mail at least 24 hours prior to the scheduled class meeting. When making such a request, please provide the full name and (local, Tokyo) contact phone number and e-mail address of each person who will be taking the place of the originally enrolled individual or group. Once an individual or group has paid for a program it can not be refunded.
LIMITATIONS on LIABILITY: Every possible precaution is taken to ensure your personal safety and the safety of those in your group. However, registration for, and attendance at, all programs is subject to the following condition: the director and staff of Food Sake Tokyo, are released from, and specifically disclaim, all responsibilities for injuries or illness incurred traveling to and from sessions, during sessions, or resulting from food prepared at, or according to recipes distributed during, cooking & tasting sessions, market tours or other field trips, including restaurant meals. NOTE: Tuition fees for cooking workshops, market tours, and other field trips conducted by Food Sake Tokyo do NOT INCLUDE food & beverage not specifically mentioned in the program description. Tuition does NOT include the cost of local transportation. Any purchases made by participants during class, market tours or field trips are at the discretion of each participant. Participants in all programs are responsible for making arrangements for, and making payment for, their airfare, lodgings, and transportation to/from/within Japan. Participants are also responsible for obtaining and paying for any travel/trip/health insurance coverage they would like to have.
© Yukari Sakamoto and Food Sake Tokyo, 2009-2021. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, only after I have agreed to it.