A sushi restaurant workshop in Asakusa - Tourists visiting Japan sample nigirizushi and sashimi

A sushi restaurant workshop in Asakusa - Tourists visiting Japan sample nigirizushi and sashimi

A participant smiles after the workshop.

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August 24th, "Sushi Tsuruoka" (1 Asakusa, Taito-ku, TEL:03-6802-7173), a restaurant near Kaminarimon in Asakusa, will play host to a special workshop for tourists visiting Japan featuring sushi and nigiri.

Mr.Tsuruoka, proprietor, stands behind a wide counter.

This program, the second of its kind, allows each guest to enjoy five pieces of nigiri, one temaki roll, and three slices of sashimi while shop proprietor Satoshi Tsuruoka teaches each participant the methods and techniques used to create them so each participant is able to bring the art of sushi back home with them when they leave. "Western cuisine has a tangible global presence, so I'd love for people to keep sushi in their lives as well," explains Mr.Tsuruoka. Plenty of time is set aside for all participants to sample the sushi after the workshop is over, as well.

With no window case to block their view, participants are treated to a up-close and personal display of Mr.Tsuruoka's astounding skill with the blade where chef and diner alike open a new line of communication, with Mr.Tsuruoka using the open and grand reactions of foreigners as impetus to introduce them to new and unusual ways of slicing fish and vegetables plus knife techniques, all accompanied by his guest's cries of surprise and joy.

"We want more people to experience the niche, deeper aspects of Japan, and hopefully become fans of that" says Miki Hattori of planning and management firm COMBRIDE (1 Yotsuya, Shinjuku-ku) planning and production division. "Here we have a group of people being taught by a pro. The feedback is instantaneous. People really love being taught one-on-one by a professional."

Mr.Tsuruoka says that to a chef, the counter is their stage. From now on, he asserts that he wants to put on more and more entertaining performances for guests to Japan.

According to new data collected by the Taito ward, the Asakusa neighborhood sees around 3.26 million foreign visitors a year, which makes up about 18.1% of the total sightseers in the area. Repeat visitors make up over 80% of visitors to the entire Taito area, which may hold the key to attracting more repeat visitors.

The attraction is open between 11 a.m. to 13:30 p.m. and costs 3,500 JPY to attend. (Open only to visitors to Japan.) Workshop seats 8 people max. (Admission closes once capacity is hit.)