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A century-old Tokyo yakitori restaurant will be reborn in San Francisco’s Japantown

Edomasa, a yakitori restaurant serving grilled, skewered chicken, will open in San Francisco's Japantown soon. | Source: LightRocket via Getty Images

A legendary restaurant from Japan will soon be reborn in America.

Edomasa, a yakitori restaurant serving grilled, skewered chicken, first opened in 1924 in Tokyo but closed in 2022. A Bay Area-based Japanese American food company, EK Food Services, has announced plans to re-create the historic restaurant this fall in San Francisco’s Japantown.

“We brought the chef and the restaurant itself from Tokyo, Japan, to San Francisco,” Yuki Sakakibara, a director at EK Food Services, told The Standard. 

The original, century-old counter from the old food stall will be part of the decor at the San Francisco location.

A historic photo shows the chef at Edomasa cooking the skewered chicken in Tokyo. | Source: Courtesy Edomasa

The upcoming restaurant is set to open in late September, Sakakibara said. EK Food Services also runs multiple popular Bay Area restaurants.

Yakitori is a type of Japanese cooking that skewers chicken on bamboo or steel and grills it over charcoal fires. The seasoning is typically salty or salty-sweet.

The goal of moving Edomasa to San Francisco is “to create a beloved restaurant loved by the local community,” the restaurant’s website states.

According to Japanese-language media, Edomasa closed in September 2022 in Tokyo amid a controversy about the health risks of consuming raw chicken. Sakakibara explained that Edomasa’s signature dish, which contains raw chicken, was very popular and they have a special technique to ensure diners’ safety. 

Further, he added, they never received any complaints about food poisoning. However, other restaurants started to copy the dish, which led to health issues and controversy, prompting Edomasa to close. Sakakibara said the San Francisco menu will not have the raw chicken dish.

Han Li can be reached at