New Kikkoman restaurant offers live explanations by notable chefs

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Soy sauce maker Kikkoman Corp. has opened a restaurant in central Tokyo where customers can experience live performances by notable chefs, with real-time translation on computer tablets.

The unique eatery, called Kikkoman Live Kitchen Tokyo, opened Nov. 1 in the capital's Yurakucho district. An artificial intelligence (AI) system quickly translates the cooks' explanations, allowing foreign visitors to enjoy the show.

The LiveTalk translation system was developed by Fujitsu Ltd., and it was the first time the system has been introduced at an eatery.

At the Kikkoman restaurant, chefs explain cooking techniques and ingredients while working in the kitchen.


The descriptions are promptly translated into 20 languages, including English and Chinese, and appear on customer computer tablets.

“It (the restaurant) embodies the concept of promoting international exchanges in food culture,” said Noriaki Horikiri, president of Kikkoman.

The restaurant offers full-course meals combining Japanese cuisine with French, Italian, Chinese and other dishes.

Two to three chefs with different expertise work together to cook local specialties from across Japan. The chefs are rotated each month.

In November, Japanese cuisine chef Yoshihiro Murata, French food cook Kiyomi Mikuni and Chinese cuisine chef Yuji Wakiya have teamed up to work their magic using ingredients from Kyoto.

Smoking is prohibited at all tables and reservations are required.

The course meal costs 10,000 to 15,000 yen ($88.35 to $132.53), including tax, per person. There is also a service charge of 10 percent.