After a successful Taste of Japan event in California drew over 30,000 attendees, the organizers came together to bring the event to Arizona. The fresh iteration will spotlight both California and Arizona vendors.
Expect to enjoy traditional Japanese dishes such as ramen, yakitori and takoyaki as well as modern twists on classics and booths inspired by the streets of Tokyo. In addition to the many food options, there will be entertainment featuring live music, Japanese drummers, martial artists and anime and art booths.
Attendees over 21 can get tickets to the Yokocho Fest which includes a sake tasting experience. Yokocho derives from “alleyway” in Japanese and nods to the traditional social spots to enjoy drinks and food. Upgrading to a VIP ticket will grant guests premium sake tastings and sponsored goodies.
What are the ticket details?
Single-day admission costs $15 and includes entrance to the event. Food is sold separately. Two-day admission grants attendees to the entire weekend of fun for $25.
Those looking to make the most of the event can choose the VIP Gold Package for $69. The package includes one-day access to the Taste of Japan event plus the Yokocho Fest which comes with a premium sake tasting and goodies to take home. Tickets are available online.
What vendors will be at the event?
• Tanota Takoyaki is from California and specializes in takoyaki, a dish traditionally from Osaka, Japan. The owner trained in Japan before opening a food truck and later expanding to a Los Angeles restaurant. Takoyaki are savory ball-shaped cakes filled with chopped octopus and cooked on a specialized griddle.
• Sushi Boy from Torrence, California was founded by Japanese immigrants in the 1980s. Be sure to check out their live tuna cutting show for a unique taste and experience.
• Midoh Japanese Restaurant has multiple locations in California and will be in Phoenix serving their Kushikatsu. The dish consists of skewered, cubed pork and onions that are breaded in panko and fried. The skewers are served with a side of tangy katsu sauce.
• LA Musubi from Gardena, California specializes in serving traditional Spam musubi as well as some unique flavors. This Japanese dish consists of rice and seaweed wrapped around different fillings such as Spam is also very popular in Hawaii.
• Shake Ramen is an LA-based food truck that will be doling out ramen at the festival. The name refers to the method this vendor uses to mix up cups of ramen with different sizzling meat or tofu and vegetables such as corn.
• The Kashiwa Ramen is a California ramen restaurant with a rich family history. Partner Hideto Kawahara runs ramen restaurants around the globe. He created his own unique type of extra-thin ramen noodles and is a Michelin-star chef.
• Smackarons is a small pop-up macaron cookie business based in Mesa. It specializes in character macarons inspired by an interest in cosplay and anime culture. Check out the Smackarons booth for special limited edition Halloween-themed macarons at the festival.
• Kakigori Addict is an Arizona-based Japanese shaved ice vendor. Kakigori Addict creates its sweet treats with ice imported from Japan as well as handmade syrups and real fruit. If the October sun is still strong, check them out at the festival to cool off.
• Herculean Chicken, a Tuscon-based company specializing in Taiwanese-style fried chicken is pairing up with CRAFTI Tea & Mocktail from Mesa to create a menu of tasty chicken and refreshing drinks. Stop by for colorful Japanese bubble teas including both milk teas and fruit teas.
Taste of Japan
Heritage Square 113 N. Sixth St.