BANGKOK (NNA/Kyodo) -- Rural areas are leading the way as the number of Japanese restaurants in Thailand has jumped 21.1 percent from a year ago to 3,637.
There was also a 16 percent rise in Bangkok to 1,993, the first increase in three years, the Japan External Trade Organization's Bangkok office said in releasing an annual survey.
The number of Japanese restaurants in the Thai countryside grew 27.8 percent to 1,644, fostered by a rise in the number of chain outlets, and eateries run by Thais with experience of working at Japanese restaurants in the capital.
"Thai people trained at restaurant chains in Bangkok are increasingly opening their own restaurants in rural areas," Atsushi Taketani, head of JETRO's Bangkok office, said at a press conference last week.
He added the number of sushi restaurants will further increase thanks to an improvement in cold-chain logistics.
The boom in Japanese restaurants started at the onset of this century as the food served in such outlets was perceived to be healthy among Thais.
A surge in the number of Thai visitors to Japan, aided by the Japanese government's visa waiver program since 2013, has also helped popularize and diversify Japanese restaurants in the Southeast Asian country, according to JETRO's Bangkok office.