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Gastronomy becomes key draw for high-end travelers to Japan

International interest in fine dining is soaring, but capacity is limited

Satoru Araki prepares sushi at his restaurant, Sushi Satoru, which has attracted attention from foreign visitors thanks to a mention in the latest Michelin Guide for Tokyo. (Photo by Phoebe Amoroso)

TOKYO-- Satoru Araki is meticulously slicing a prime cut of chutoro (medium fatty tuna) into morsels as he serves up a course of nigirizushi (hand-pressed sushi) in the backstreets of the upmarket Tokyo suburb of Hiroo.

A former professional boxer, Araki opened Sushi Satoru in July 2022 -- a simple counter of six seats that has already generated a buzz in Tokyo's sushi scene. On the counter is a copy of The Michelin Guide Tokyo 2024, in which Sushi Satoru is mentioned for the first time. It has yet to win a Michelin star, but the reference has attracted interest from foreign visitors to Japan, which Araki wants to encourage.

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