Sunday, July 8, 2012

Directory of Greater Boston Japanese Businesses & Organizations

This post is a work in progress. Am I missing something? Let me know at keiko dot in dot boston [at] gmail dot com!

Many of the businesses and organizations on this page are Japanese-owned or operated.  I list mainly those that are exclusively Japanese, as opposed to everywhere you can find anything Japanese. My geographic focus is Greater Boston, but there are some businesses and organizations outside of that area.

Disclaimer: Please note that inclusion on this page does not constitute an endorsement. Some of these businesses are owned by my friends and I'm a customer at others, but some I've had no interaction with.

Can't find a business? Check my list of Closed Japanese Businesses.

See also Where to find Japanese groceries and closed Japanese grocery stores.

Boston has many Asian groceries stores, some that are focused on specific countries/regions and others that are pan-Asian.  Many of the non-Japanese Asian grocery stores are cheaper.  Although many of them carry Japanese staples & snacks, there are certain Japanese foods and products you just can't find at a store that isn't specifically a Japanese grocery store. As far as I know, as of summer 2013, Ebisuya is the only exclusively Japanese grocery store in New England.

Ebisuya | Medford, MA | Yelp
Ebisuya also has a sushi bar.  If there isn't sushi in the case that you want, they will make it while you shop.  They also sell onigiri, bento, and other prepared side dishes and full meals. There are a few tables so you can eat there if you're too hungry to wait until you get home. They also offer free knife sharpening on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday.

You may be wondering why Ebisuya decided to open in a location that is a long bus-ride away from the nearest T station (I did). That's because the Japanese Language School of Greater Boston, the only Japanese Saturday school in New England, meets at Medford High School, so it's a great location for families to shop after school.

Japanese Agriculture in New England

[Last updated: May 2018]

I recently learned there is much more Japanese agriculture in New England than I was aware of so I thought I would include links here. None of them are in the Boston area but Ebisuya Market stocks Sunbow 5's produce and Assawaga Farm will be coming to farmer's markets in the Boston area this season.

Assawaga Farm | Putnam, CT
Yoko Takemura and Alex Carpenter are just getting this vegetable and herb farm started. They are growing a variety of Japanese and other organic produce.

Sunbow 5 Foundation (Facebook) | Hadley, MA
(Website is English only. Facebook page in Japanese & English. )
I'm not sure when Sunbow was founded but Ebisuya Market in Medford, MA has been stocking their produce for several years.

Wild Folk Farm | Benton, ME
I believe this farm is just inspired by Japanese rice cultivation techniques – specifically “The Power of Duck: Integrated Rice and Duck Farming” by Takao Furuno – and grows some varieties of Japanese rice in addition to other types of rice. It does not appear that any of the people involved with the farm are of Japanese heritage.
Read more in the Portland Press Herald: "Two Maine farmers try a new crop: rice".

Authentic Japanese Restaurants

[Last updated: May 2018]

Ever since sushi became trendy, Japanese cuisine has popped up on menus in other Asian restaurants. Some non-Japanese restaurant owners figured out that Japanese food would be more profitable and opened "Japanese" restaurants. While I'm all for diversifying people's culinary experiences, I've found that some Japanese food around Boston doesn't taste like what I think of as "authentic". Don't even get me started on fusion cuisine. I originally planned to title this section "Japanese-Owned Restaurants," but I've discovered that you don't need to be Japanese to cook authentic-tasting Japanese food. This is a subjective list based on my opinions and recommendations from others. The majority of the restaurants listed here are Japanese-owned. I'm not vouching for the quality of their food, just that the owners are Japanese or serve food that tastes authentic.

Blue Fin Restaurant | Middleton, MA | Yelp

Café Mami | Cambridge, MA - Porter Exchange | Yelp

Cafe Sushi | Cambridge, MA - Harvard Square | Yelp

Ebi Sushi | Somerville, MA - Union Square | Yelp

Hana Japan | Newburyport, MA | Yelp

Inaho | Yarmouth Port, MA | Yelp

Ittoku (no website - Facebook) | Boston, MA - Brighton | Yelp | First Look

Ittyo Restaurant | Cambridge, MA - Porter Exchange | Yelp
Under new management (same owner as Café Mami) with new menu since Jan 2013.

Gyu-Kaku | Brookline, MA - St. Mary's | Yelp
Japan-based yakiniku chain

Oishii Sushi Bar | Chestnut Hill, MA | Yelp

Oishii Boston | Boston, MA - South End | Yelp

Pikaichi (Facebook) | Medford, MA | Yelp | My review for their original Allston location

Santouka Ramen | Cambridge, MA - Harvard Square | Yelp
Japan-based ramen chain 

Sapporo Ramen (no website) | Cambridge, MA - Porter Exchange | Yelp

Shiki | Brookline, MA - Coolidge Corner | Yelp

Tampopo (no website) | Cambridge, MA - Porter Exchange | Yelp

Toraya | Arlington, MA - Arlington Center | Yelp

Yokohama (no website) | Brookline, MA - Brookline Village | Yelp

Yume Wo Katare | Cambridge, MA - Porter Square | Yelp | All of my Yume coverage

Other Japanese Food Businesses

[Last updated: May 2018]

Beard Papa's | Boston, MA - Chinatown | Yelp
Japan-based cream puff chain.

Gen Sou En | Brookline, MA - Coolidge Corner | Yelp
Japanese tea house serving green tea and matcha beverage and Japanese-style baked goods.

go-en Fermented Foods | Whitefield, ME
Founded in 2015 by Mika and Nicholas Repenning, go-en Fermented Foods makes organic koji and miso.
Read more in the Portland Press Herald: "It’s a scramble to source local, organic soybeans".

Heiwa Tofu | Rockport, ME
Founded in 2008 by Maho Hisakawa and Jeff Wolovitz, Heiwa Tofu makes organic tofu from primarily Maine-grown soybeans. Read more in the Portland Press Herald: "It’s a scramble to source local, organic soybeans".

Japonaise Bakery | Brookline, MA - St. Mary's | Yelp
As of July 2013 the Allston Comm Ave. location is closed.
As of March 2015 the Porter Square location is closed
Boston's oldest independent Japanese bakery making Japanese-styled baked goods.

KOKO Bakery | Newton, MA | Yelp

Independent Japanese bakery making Japanese-style baked goods.

Ogawa Coffee | Boston, MA - Downtown Crossing | Yelp
Japan-based coffee chain.
 Sakanaya: Japanese Fish Market | Boston, MA - Allston | Yelp
Fishmonger, catering, take-out sushi.

Sullivan's Market 
Cooking & hospitality classes, Japanese cooking classes, kid's maki sushi birthday party.

The Sweet Kitchen | near Newton City Hall, MA
Entertainment cooking and dessert classes.

Japanese Gift Shops

[As of October 2015]
As the name implies, anime and zakka goods.

Old Japan, Inc. | Boston, MA - South End | Yelp
Japanese gifts with a focus on vintage/antique goods. They do have some modern goods.
10/15/15: They will be open through Christmas and closing by the end of January.

Rummage | Cambridge, MA - Fresh Pond | Yelp
Some vintage Japanese goods and arts & crafts by local Japanese artists as well as non-Japanese goods.

Tokai | Cambridge, MA - Porter Exchange | Yelp
Mostly modern Japanese goods including dishes, bento goods, origami, Sanrio and San-X.

Japanese Books, Magazines, & DVDs

[Last updated: November 2013]

The information in this section was provided by my friend, sartak.

Since Sasuga closed its physical store in 2004, Boston has been without a Japanese bookstore.  The closest Japanese bookstores that I'm aware of are in New York City: Kinokuniya (website Japanese only) and BOOKOFF.  There are a few stores where you can buy books and magazines and rent DVDs in Boston.

Ebisuya | Medford, MA | Yelp
Small selection of books & magazines; some books in English.  Great collection of DVDs.

Reliable Video (no website) | Somerville, MA - Union Square | Yelp
No books or magazines.  Collection of mostly older Japanese DVDs.  Located next to Reliable Market, a Korean grocery store with a substantial selection of Japanese groceries.  If the video store is closed, ask for help at the market.

Schoenhof's Foreign Books | Cambridge, MA - Harvard Square | Yelp
Less than a single shelf of pricey Japanese novels.  No magazines or DVDs.

You can also borrow from the following libraries:

The Japanese Language School of Greater Boston at Medford High School has a library (Nihongo Toshokan) that is open to the public when school is in session.  They have books, magazines, and CDs. They also sell used books and hold an annual book fair in late October.

The Boston Public Library has a collection of books and DVDs.

The Minuteman Library Network has some books & DVDs.  If the item you're looking for isn't at your local library, you can usually request it to be sent to yours.  

Japanese Photographers

[Last updated: April 2014]

Beaupix (Ryuji Suzuki) | Boston, MA - Fort Point
Headshots, weddings, and advertising, editorial, and fashion photography

Chihiro Senda Photography | Somerville, MA
Portrait photography for children, families, dogs

Keiko S. Dowell Photography | Chelmsford, MA
Baby, child, maternity, and family photography

Keitaro Yoshioka Photography | Boston, MA
Commercial/fine art photography

Tomoko Photo (Tomoko Leman) | Serving MA, NH, RI, CT, VT, & Japan
Wedding, portrait, & event photography

USK Photography (Yusuke Suzuki)
Freelance photographer

Other Japanese-Owned Services

[Last updated: April 2014]

hanaya floral designs | Cambridge, MA | Yelp

Urban Realty Group | Brookline Village, MA | Yelp
Real estate agency

Yamato Transport, USA Inc | Woburn, MA
Professional movers

Museum Exhibits

[Last updated: August 2015]

This list is only for permanent collections. Many of our local museums bring in Japanese-themed temporary exhibits. The New England JACL monthly newsletter is a great source for information on temporary exhibits. The newsletter is emailed to members, but also posted on their website a few days into the month. Read The Boston Globe's "MFA exhibit tours Japan, will not be seen in Boston" to learn why Boston museums have such incredible collections of Japanese art.


[Last updated: May 2014]

See also College Clubs.

314 Studio | based in Somerville, MA
Chihiro Makio, jewelry artist

Afternoon Concerts | Brookline, MA
Periodic classical music concerts staged by local musicians, most of whom are Japanese.

The Art Complex Museum Tea Hut | Duxbury, MA | Yelp
An authentic Japanese tea house built in Kyoto in 1969. It has been in Duxbury since 1975. They offer tea presentations and a concert series. The 2013 series has a variety of non-Japanese artists playing Western instruments.

Chorus Boston | Greater Boston area
"[A]n amateur choral group whose goal is to enjoy singing together while striving to attain a high level of musical performance. ... The group sings both classical and modern music, focusing on Japanese music but singing as well from the choral repertory in English, Latin, Hebrew, Italian, and other languages."

The Genki Spark | Greater Boston area
"[A] multi-generational, pan-Asian women's arts and advocacy organization that uses Japanese taiko drumming, personal stories, and creativity to build community, develop leadership, and advocate respect for all."
GrayMist Studio & Shop | Cambridge, MA - Huron Village | Yelp
Nantucket basket studio & curated gift shop with ocean theme. Although Nantucket baskets are native to Massachusetts, GrayMist carries select items from Japan and is Japanese-owned.

Ikebana International - Boston Chapter
Non-profit dedicated to the promotion and appreciation of ikebana.

Japan Artists Information Directory (JAID) - Artists in Massachusetts
"JAID is a database of information about performers and teachers of traditional Japanese performing arts based in the United States." JAID is maintained by the Five College Center for East Asian Studies.

Kaji Aso Studio | Boston, MA - Symphony | Yelp
"Kaji Aso Studio offers experience in the visual arts, music, poetry, philosophy,and Japanese culture... Members have the opportunity to exhibit and collaborate on central themes."

Odaiko New England | based in Woburn, MA
Taiko performance, workshops, and lectures.

Origamido Studio | Haverhill, MA
Origami studio. Private classes by appointment. You may have seen their work at the 2007-2008 Origami Now! exhibit at the Peabody Essex Museum.

SAORI Worcester | Worcester, MA
Weaving studio that teaches the SAORI technique from Japan.

Studio Aika
Online Sashiko studio & shop; classes held in Massachusetts & New Hampshire.

Tewassa | based in Cambridge, MA - Huron Village at GrayMist Studio & Shop
Tewassa is a volunteer organization I'm involved with that produces "message" quilts for Japanese schools affected by the March 11, 2011 Tohoku earthquake & tsunami and the subsequent nuclear disaster at Fukushima. We also work to educate adults & kids in New England on the disaster & recovery efforts.

Kitsuke/Kimono Rental & Photos

[Last updated: October 2015]

Boston Kimono Academy | Newton, MA

Hana Japan Kimono Experience | Newburyport, MA

Japanese Kimono Dressing ~Ayame~ | Malden, MA

Japanese Language

[Last updated: August 2013]

Amherst Japanese Language School | South Hadley, MA
Pre-school through high school Japanese Saturday school

Christopher Field | Based in Lincoln, MA
Japanese technical interpreting and translation

Circle of Boston Nursery School | Watertown, MA
Bilingual Japanese-English nursery school.

Japanese Language Class Boston | Boston, MA
Private and group instruction in Japanese language and culture for all ages and levels.

Japanese Language School of Greater Boston | Medford, MA
Kindergarten (beginning at age 3) through high school and Japanese as a second language Japanese Saturday school

Showa Boston | Boston, MA
Japanese language and culture institute


[Last updated: October 2013]

Some of these clubs have membership fees, but may also have events that are open to the public. The primary language for these clubs may be Japanese or English.

Boston Japanese Researchers Forum (BJRF)
A networking group for Japanese researchers in the Greater Boston area. Monthly talks "on a variety of topics, including life sciences, arts, engineering, space sciences, health sciences, music, business, markets, Japanese cultures, physics, chemistry, geology, and/or politics" are presented in Japanese from September to May at MIT. Lectures are followed by a light meal. Non-native speakers wishing to improve their Japanese and network with Japanese researchers are welcome.

The Japan Society of Boston
"[A] not-for-profit organization whose mission is to promote cultural and economic ties and active interchange between Japanese and Americans for mutual understanding, benefit and enjoyment.

New England Japanese American Citizens League (JACL)
It seems unfair to refer to the JACL as merely a club since their role in Japanese American life is so significant.  The JACL launched the campaign for redress for Japanese Americans who were interned during WWII, which ultimately led to payment of $20,000 per person by the U.S. government.  From their website: JACL "is the nation's oldest and largest Asian American civil rights organization… whose mission is to secure and maintain the human and civil rights of Americans of Japanese ancestry and others victimized by injustice." The local chapter is small but they try to do a few events per year and co-sponsor events with other groups. Their monthly newsletter is a great source of Japanese and Asian activities in New England. It is emailed to members at the beginning of each month and posted on their website a few days later.

Japanese Association of Greater Boston
"The Japanese Association of Greater Boston (JAGB) was created in 1950, and has grown to be the largest Japanese run social group in the Boston area."

Japanese Women's Club of Boston (JWCB)
"[A] group that offers various social opportunities and monthly lectures for its members. Japanese women who are independent, have a desire to improve themselves and respect others are qualified to join. The group is engaged in various relief efforts in the wake of the [3.11] disaster in Japan as a part of Boston's Japanese community.

Massachusetts Hokkaido Association
"[D]edicated to supporting the historic relationship between the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and Japan's northern island prefecture of Hokkaido."

NEJETTA (New England JET Program Alumni Association)
"We support JET program participants, former, current, and future, in bringing Japan and the United States closer together.  Headquartered in Boston, we serve Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont."

Whitfield-Manjiro Friendship Society
"In December of 1987 a delegation of dignitaries from the New Bedford/Fairhaven area journeyed to Tosashimizu, the home town of Manjiro, and signed a "Sister City" agreement. This led to the incorporation of the "Fairhaven/New Bedford-Tosashimizu Sister City Committee, Inc.". Since that time there has been an on-going exchange of political leaders, Little Leaguers, students, quilters, artists...etc." It seems they also have a small museum in Fairhaven, MA.

College Clubs & Organizations

[Last updated: April 2015]

Many area colleges have Japanese clubs. Membership requirements vary - groups may be open to the public, or you may need to be a member of the college community to join. Even if clubs are not open to all, they may have events or classes that are open to the public.

Boston University Japanese Students Association | Boston, MA

Harvard For Japan | Cambridge, MA [Note: appears to be inactive.]
"Harvard For Japan is a cross-Harvard alliance created in response to the Great Tohoku Earthquake that struck Japan on March 11, 2011. Our mission is to spread awareness of the effects of the quake and the resulting aftershocks, tsunamis, and nuclear crisis and to help the affected regions."

Harvard Japan SocietyCambridge, MA

Harvard-Radcliffe Chado SocietyCambridge, MA

Japan Club of Boston College | Newton, MA

Japanese Association of MIT | Cambridge, MA

MIT Japan 3.11 Initiative | Cambridge, MA
"The MIT Japan 3.11 Initiative is MIT’s response to the March 2011 triple disaster in Japan. This Initiative, established by the MIT-Japan Program at the Center for International Studies, will provide a mechanism for faculty and student exchange between MIT and universities in the Tohoku region for the study and implementation of disaster-resilient planning."

MIT Japanese Tea Ceremony | Cambridge, MA

MIT Sloan Japan Club | Cambridge, MA

New England Japanese Intercollegiate Network | Greater Boston
This is an umbrella organization that "aims to bring together Japanese students and students interested in the culture through various events."

OrigaMIT | Cambridge, MA (meeting locations change but are always on campus)

Suffolk University Japanese Student Association | Boston, MA

Tufts University Japanese Culture Club | Medford, MA

UMass Boston Japanese Club | Boston, MA

Wellesley College Japan Club | Wellesley, MA


[Last updated: February 2013]

Consulate-General of Japan in Boston | Boston, MA

JB Line (Japanese Bostonians Support Line)
Who knew there was a 24-hour support hotline for Japanese people? Although their website is entirely in Japanese, they say they provide phone support in English as well. Call any time day or night if you're feeling down and need someone to talk to.

KanaSwirl - Turns hiragana and katakana study into a game!
An iApp designed by my friend sartak, who lives in Somerville, MA. I figured I'd include this in the vein of "Shop Local." :)


[Last updated: April 2013]

Yoko Bryden of Yoko Design Kitchen blogs about Japanese cooking.

Daigo Fujiwara runs this website about Japanese baseball players who play in the US. I don't follow baseball, but it looks quite detailed. 

Secret Asian Man blog
You may have seen the comic Secret Asian Man in the Weekly Dig, the free alternative paper around town. What you may not know is that writer and illustrator Tak Toyoshima is local.


  1. Harvard has a tea ceremony club:

    The Art Complex in Duxbury has a Japanese tea house and some Asian art. The art doesn't have its own website. The teahouse is open to the public a few times a year for free tea demos:

    Thanks for your service! I've learned some useful things from your blog!

    1. Thanks! I'm not plugged in to the local tea community at all so I didn't know about these. I'm adding them to the directory. -Keiko

  2. How does one contact you about submitting events of interest to the Japanese community?

    1. The best way to get information out to the Japanese community is through the Japan Society of Boston's calendar. If you're trying to reach the Japanese American community the best way is through the New England JACL newsletter. You can send events to me at keiko dot in dot boston at gmail dot com though I'm selective about which events I help to publicize and sometimes I'm just too busy to get a post up in time. If I don't have time but want to help publicize, I sometimes post events to Twitter.