Yasuko Yokoyama

Yasuko Yokoyama

Founder, wine-glass importer Rikizo


Originally published on metropolis.co.jp on January 2008


Tell us about Rikizo.
I was always interested in the importing business, and while I was working as a sales associate for a wine company, I happened to hear that an Australian wineglass maker called Glass & Co was seeking a distributor in Japan. Basically, that’s how I started Rikizo, which I named after my grandfather. In the future, I would love to combine the current business with my personal hobby: tango dancing. My dream is to open a restaurant where people can enjoy meals, wine and tango together.

Tell us about Tharros restaurant in Shibuya’s new Sede complex. What do you do there?
I am mostly working as a server and learning about the restaurant business. It’s a great opportunity for me to find out what types of service and products customers are expecting.

How is wine culture changing in Japan?
Many people now drink wine at home on a daily basis. Bringing a bottle to parties has also become popular. Affordable yet drinkable wines, and even some great domestic brands, are increasingly available on the market. In other words, wine has become a core part of the Japanese dining scene.

What are some of your favorite wine bars and restaurants in Tokyo?
Tharros (www.tharros.jp) and La Scogliera (www.la-scogliera.com), an Italian seafood place where the owner of Tharros used to work as a chef. If I’m in the mood for charcoal-grilled Italian dishes, I usually head to Terauchi in Nishi-Azabu (03-5414-1808); its wine bar in Hiroo (03-3443-3638) is another favorite. Also, the horse carpaccio at Ebisu’s Fregoli (03-5423-1225) is unforgettable.

Where’s your favorite place to buy wine?
I usually buy all my wines from the company I used to work for, since I trust their quality selection. But, if I have to name a retailer, I would say Party at Ebisu Garden Place (03-5424-2580), for its atmosphere.

For more information about Rikizo and its products, see http://ameblo.jp/officerikizo, http://plaza.rakuten.co.jp/yasco03 and www.glass-co.com.