The mochi is in the freezer case, the sake on the shelves, and the seafood, produce and meat is sure to arrive by Tuesday, when the latest incarnation of Oto's Japan Foods opens at 4990 Freeport Blvd., just north of the Fruitridge and Freeport site the store has occupied since 1986.
Saturday will be the last day for the existing store. At 9,000 square feet, the new quarters will be twice the size of the existing facility, allowing the Oto family to expand every department and add new sections, such as fresh-cut flowers and wine. Because the selection of foods is diversifying, the name of the store is changing to Oto's Marketplace.
The emphasis will remain on Japanese provisions, however. In that vein, sushi chef Ray Yamamoto, owner of the sushi-catering business A Sushi Experience, will be at Oto's from Tuesday through Saturday each week to fill sushi orders as customers shop. Until late last year, Yamamoto was a partner with Sai Vongnalith in the Japanese restaurant Akebono of Granite Bay. In an odd coincidence, Vongnalith is to open a Sacramento branch of Akebono in the shopping plaza next to the new Oto's. His timetable calls for a June 15 opening; he will retain the Granite Bay original.
Oto's Marketplace will keep the store's existing hours and phone number: 9 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturdays, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sundays; (916) 424-2398.