Sustainable neighbourhood gastronomy: Tokyo independent restaurants facing crises

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Neighbourhood gastronomy, the agglomeration of restaurants and smaller eateries in residential urban areas, contributes to the lives of residents and visitors economically, culturally, and socially. Since winter 2020, neighbourhood gastronomy in Asian cities has been severely disrupted by COVID, compounded by many other long-term stressors. In urban Japan these stresses include gentrification, the aging of proprietors, urban renewal, and corporatisation of gastronomy. Empirically, this paper discusses how independent restaurants in Tokyo contribute to community life by supporting grassroots creative industries, small business opportunities, meaningful artisanal work, convivial social spaces, local cultural heritage, and a human-scale built environment. The study uses intensive single-site urban ethnography to discuss how restaurateurs face immediate and long-term crises at the community level. By using the “neighbourhood as method,” a concept of sustainable neighbourhood gastronomy is developed that should be applicable in other urban contexts.




Farrer, J. (2022). Sustainable neighbourhood gastronomy: Tokyo independent restaurants facing crises. Asia Pacific Viewpoint, 63(3), 396–410.

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