When Yoshio Otomo and his wife, Sanae, moved to Arizona from Japan, they loved nearly everything—except the lack of traditional Japanese food.
When Yoshio retired, he and his wife decided to take some of the money they had collected over the years and put it into a restaurant.
Now, 16 years later, Shimogamo Japanese Restaurant is a family operation, with the couple’s daughter, Mika, and her husband, Daisuke Itagaki, also working at the Chandler Japanese and sushi restaurant.
“I never thought to open a business like this,” Yoshio said. “But there were no good Japanese restaurants here, and we love Arizona very much, so we opened our own.”
Sanae came up with the menu—the key, she said, is that everything is homemade.
“We make all the sauces,” Sanae said. “We are not a chain restaurant.”
Her husband chimed in to say it is also good fish and a good kitchen staff that make everything on the menu a favorite of restaurant patrons.
“Everything we have is all the best,” Yoshio said.
The menu features lunch, dinner, sushi, sashimi and rolls, desserts and drinks. Dinner options include steak, chicken, snapper, spare rib, salmon and more.
Mika, who moved to Arizona from Japan with her husband and young son, said it was pure coincidence that she and her husband ended up working at her parents’ restaurant. Daisuke is the executive chef at Shimogamo.
“It really is coincidental even though it doesn’t seem like it,” Mika said of her and her husband’s involvement with the business. Mika is the director of operations.
Despite the coincidental nature of her involvement, Mika said she is happy to be working at the restaurant.
“We are the only [Japanese restaurant] owned and operated by Japanese in Chandler,” Mika said. “We offer only high quality.”
The family is looking to expand the square footage at the Chandler location and potentially add another East Valley location in the coming year, Mika said.
COVID-19 Update: The business is open for takeout and delivery.