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Food Sake Tokyo (The Terroir Guides) Paperback – May 18, 2010

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Editorial Reviews


"Where to eat sushi in Tsukiji if you don't want to wait in line? How to find the finest wagashi confections, sake or shochu, handmade rice crackers or croissants to rival the best in Paris? These conundrums and plenty more are answered in Yukari Sakamoto's Food Sake Tokyo, the first proper English-language guide devoted specifically to eating and drinking in the megalopolis. Sakamoto has filled her little volume with all the intelligence she has gleaned over many years living and working in the city." -Japan Times

“Tokyo is notoriously hard to navigate, but the densely populated Japanese capital might seem especially overwhelming when it comes to deciphering its restaurants, markets and bars. Never fear–chef, sommelier, journalist and culinary consultant Yukari Sakamoto guides the reader through the best of this city in Food Sake Tokyo…. Sakamoto provides a glossary of food terms and a guide to restaurant etiquette. In the first half of the book, she demystifies the central ingredients of Japanese cuisine. In the second half, she lists restaurants, shops and bars organized by neighborhoods, with addresses in English and Japanese.” –Pittsburgh Tribune

Food Sake Tokyo is the ideal guide for indulging in the best of Tokyo dining and drinking, whether you’re a first-time visitor or a Japanophile foodie keen on discovering new favorites.” –The Examiner

"Chef, educator and food journalist Yukari Sakamoto has just published a new book: Food Sake Tokyo, a fabulous guide to the city's eats. Go Yukari! I first met Yukari a few years ago; I've always learned a ton when she lectures on Japanese food. Her book reflects her deep, deep knowledge -- what I love about it is the incredible, broad and extensive details she shares, from the phrase for "juicy meat" to a detailed rundown of the stores in Kappabashi, the city's restaurant supply district, to a listing of "antenna shops" (read the book to find out what that means!) to wonderful culinary itineraries. I am so impressed by how much work Yukari has put into this book. If you're into food and heading to Tokyo, this is your guide."  – Harris Salat, The Japanese Food Report 

"Japanese-American chef and sommelier Yukari Sakamoto unveils the diversity and subtlety of Japanese food...She explains Japanese food philosophy, offers advice on basic etiquette and proper attire, introduces the basic ingredients of the Japanese pantry, and describes the astonishing number and types of restaurants."--The Chicago Tribune  PRAISE FOR THE TERROIR GUIDES: "Getting to the heart of regional cuisine can be a tall order, but The Terroir Guides ably examine the interplay between markets, local food artisans, winemakers, and chefs on a town-by-town basis, taking the reader from field to plate and making a great companion for any food-obsessed tourist...packed with local history, food lore, and useful translations." –Sherman's Travel “When I travel, food is naturally a primary focus, but most guidebooks provide minimal information in that realm. Thankfully, The Little Bookroom is publishing Terroir Guides, a series for the foodie traveler that focuses entirely on culinary delights." –Cravings "I love The Terroir Guides. They give me everything I want. They're a tactile pleasure, compact, meaty. They're lovely to look at, elegantly laid out, mutedly and tastefully colored...positively overflowing with the Who, What, Where and How even an intrepidly independent traveler should know...The Little Bookroom has a knack for putting guidebooks into print that are as useful as they are beautiful." –Wine News "I advise you not to go [to Tokyo] without Food Sake Tokyo tucked into your tote. Digest [Sakamoto's] preamble on the mysteries of Japanese dining rules and rituals and then follow her footsteps to the best places to eat and drink and shop, to snack and splurge."Gael Greene, Forkplay 

About the Author

Trained at the French Culinary Institute and the American Sommelier Association, Yukari Sakamoto was the first non-Japanese to pass the rigorous exam to become a “shochu adviser.” She has taught classes on food, wine, and shochu, and has conducted culinary tours of Tokyo’s shops and markets. Her writing has been featured in such publications as Food & Wine, Travel & Leisure, Time, The Washington Post, and Time Out Tokyo. She divides her time between Tokyo and New York City.

Tokyo native Takuya Suzuki specializes in food, travel, and culture photography. His work can be seen in magazines like Brutus, Goethe, Sotokoto, and Hers, among others.

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Product Details

  • Series: The Terroir Guides
  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Little Bookroom (May 18, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 189214574X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1892145741
  • Product Dimensions: 4.3 x 0.7 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #83,314 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Born in Tokyo and raised in Minnesota, Yukari Sakamoto is trained as a chef, sommelier, and a shochu advisor. She has been a columnist with Metropolis magazine in Tokyo for five years and has contributed to several publications including Food & Wine, Saveur, and Time magazine. She conducts culinary tours of Tokyo including destinations like Tsukiji Market, Kappabashi, and depachika as well as hands on cooking classes. She divides her time between Tokyo and Singapore.

Her blog on food shops in Tokyo is:


Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I feel so fortunate to have stumbled upon this book before my very last-minute, first-ever trip to Tokyo and Kyoto.

As a culinary professional - I am always compelled to seek and sample the best food a country has to offer. I knew Japan would be challenging, given my time constraints and the overwhelming number of choices in such large cities, and especially because of its famously rich and sundry culinary traditions. I couldn't waste the limited time I had there on searching out the best soba noodles, the crispiest tempura, or the perfect sushi (there were gardens, museums and temples to see, too!). I had just several hours in Kyoto's Nishiki Market - not the several trips I would've preferred to have made, had I several more days in Kyoto. Still, I was intent on making the right choices...

Enter Food Sake Tokyo - carefully and conscientiously researched by someone who clearly possesses real knowledge and discerning taste, and whom, gratefully, saved me from the useless and practically non-existent recommendations from the (almost-as-useless-otherwise) guidebooks I'd purchased.

Thanks to this guide, I tasted the most perfect (not to mention atmospheric) plate of Soba noodles. I sampled the crispy/tender delights of a properly-prepared tonkatsu. And I was experiencing sensory overload at Tsukiji Market (on a very cold, rainy, jet-lagged morning) when I sat down to not one (the donburi at Nakaya), but two (the fried anago filets at Tenfusa) memorable breakfasts.

Then there were things like the hit-the-spot soy doughnuts in Kyoto! After the first couple of successes, I felt comfortable giving up "the search" for this or that, and just following the author's lead.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase

This book is very special worth buying. A trip to the book store may also help you understand why it is a standout from the other travel books on Tokyo or Japan in general.

This book is one of a kind not just for people who will be traveling to Tokyo but also for anyone interested in Japanese food and drink and the culture that makes it so special. If you like this book, please do not forget to check out the two wonderful blogs by the author.


The coverage in the older, or more traditional part of Tokyo (Shitamachi) also comes as pleasant surprise.

Thank you, Sakamoto San, for writing this excellent book!!
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Format: Paperback
I really enjoyed this book and now carry it in my bag when I go out and about in Tokyo. The author's depth of knowledge is apparent throughout the book. I have already found gems I knew nothing about in areas I travel to every day.

A large part of Sakamoto's guide is given over to a detailed survey of Japanese cuisine, not just listing a few dishes but digging deeply into its ingredients and culture. For instance, the miso section taught me all about 8 main types of miso and gave clear markers to start exploring the hundreds of types of miso soup. Then, I learned about aemono and, finally, was recommended a shop in Setagaya that specializes in the stuff. This is one of the great things about the book: you don't just learn the theory, you are given places to start actually exploring what you have learned.

In chapter 5, we get a detailed breakdown of outstanding Tokyo food places by district. Really really useful.This is the part of the book that is opening up new doors for me in Tokyo.

There are nice changes of pace throughout the guide, with entertaining and informative features on particular aspects of Japanese cuisine (eg. knives, department store shopping etc.) and the photography is first rate. Finally, in reply to the customer who said his book was damaged, mine is well bound. No problem on that score. Very pleased with my purchase.
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Format: Paperback
This guide to the Food and Sake of Tokyo is worth every penny spent on it. As a first timer to Japan, I must admit that I was a bit intimidated by the thought of it. Yet with the help of this volume, my partner and I found our way to any number of great places and had some memorable times. Thank You for putting together such an amzing guide. It helped us bridge the cultural gap too. So I would highly suggest it to anyone heading to Japan, especially first time visitors. Do yourself a favor and really listen to what the author has to say about the food and sake in the Department Stores of Tokyo. They, to me, were one of the absolute best things that we discovered in this book. The food halls were not only gigantic, they were also awesome and so interesting. They sold everything under the sun and were definitely on a par with any of the great food halls of the Department Stores of Europe.

Oh, and one other thing. Disregard that 1-star review that someone gave this volume. My copy was used incredibly hard and it looks as good as the day it arrived from Amazon. So I have no idea what kind of problem he was having. All I know is it sure helped us. Hell, even if it fell apart, I'd punch holes in it and but a ring through it, and take it that way. It's the information that is contained within that really makes this one a winner, not the binding. Duh!
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