For many vacationers visiting Japan, a high-end sushi meal is on their culinary bucket record. It’s no shock—eating sushi in Japan is on a completely totally different degree from anyplace else!
The cult documentary Jiro Goals of Sushi made the rarefied sushi meal extremely wanted by gourmands everywhere in the world. However in the previous few years, I’ve come round to the concept it is much more rewarding to work your method as much as top-quality sushi by eating extensively at totally different worth points, relatively than jumping straight into the deep finish with “Tokyo’s best sushi.” Why is that?
It’s largely a cost-performance thing. The more you pay for sushi, the extra discerning you’ll should be about your likes and dislikes. Not all high-end sushi is created equal.
“Best” is a particularly subjective metric. Is it greatest for first-time diners to expertise a certain fashion of shari (seasoned sushi rice), at a specific worth level, or for the relatively skilled sushi connoisseur who can distinguish between fish in several seasons? The answers differ depending on who you’re, how properly you recognize sushi, and how a lot you’re prepared to pay relative to the expertise. The extra extensively you eat, the more you’ll have the ability to discern and recognize at every meal.
I’ve put together an inventory of nice sushi restaurants in Tokyo. There are lots of of them in Tokyo, and this is but a fraction of them. All of them have their strengths and disadvantages. It’s up to you to determine which one to attempt!
You’ll discover that some of these are exclusive, introduction-only eating places. That’s the unfortunate actuality of some high-end sushi-ya, who cater to their regular clients first. Perhaps someday, you’ll meet someone variety enough to take you to one among these restaurants.
You gained’t miss out on much in the event you never eat at Jiro or Saito. But when your heart is completely set on consuming at a specific restaurant, there’s in all probability no harm in a minimum of making an attempt to obtain a reservation there. Because the saying goes, you miss 100 % of the photographs you don’t take.
Let’s get to the 25 superb sushi restaurants in Tokyo.
- 1 1. Sushi Saito
- 2 2. Sushi Sugita
- 3 Three. Sushi Sawada
- 4 4. Sushi Arai
- 5 5. Sukiyabashi Jiro
- 6 6. Hatsunezushi
- 7 7. Sushi Ishiyama, Ginza
- 8 eight. Harutaka
- 9 9. Sukiyabashi Jiro, Roppongi
- 10 10. Sushi Kimura
- 11 11. Sushi Sho
- 12 12. Sushi Sho Masa
- 13 13. Sushi Ryusuke
- 14 14. Sushi Tokami
- 15 15. Shinbashi Shimizu
- 16 16. Sushi Take
- 17 17. Kyubey
- 18 18. Sushi Takahashi
- 19 19. Sushi Suzuki, Ginza
- 20 20. Hakkoku
- 21 21. Sushi Iwa
- 22 22. Sushi Takeuchi
- 23 23. Sushi Satake
- 24 24. Sushi Keita
- 25 25. Sushi Yoshitake
- 26 What Tokyo Sushi Restaurant Will You Attempt First?
1. Sushi Saito
Takashi Saito at work inside Sushi Saito (photograph by City Foodsters CC BY)
For most sushi eaters, the holy grail of consuming experiences is at the tiny, eight-seat, introduction-only Sushi Saito in Ark Hills.
While perfection technically doesn’t exist, the sushi is so persistently well-executed that it’s exhausting to think about anything better. Just watch Chef Saito make the sushi: the financial system of movement, the deftness of his palms when shaping each bit. His shari is made with delicate purple vinegar and is a tad saltier than at most restaurants; it’s then paired with impeccably ready neta (topping) starting from aged fish to carefully temperature-controlled sea urchin.
This is the type of restaurant you must eat at after you’ve eaten extra extensively at different high-end sushi restaurants, simply since you’ll be capable of discern and respect the delicate differences and extraordinary care taken with even commonplace pieces much more.
It’s notoriously troublesome to even have the ability to dine right here. Even Tokyo’s most hallowed lodge concierges are unlikely to have the ability to assist you. Even in case you do manage to get in as soon as, you’re not immediately thought-about a daily (for obvious causes). Apparently, you’ll still need to dine with one of many “regular regulars” for several months to a yr until you’re allowed to make bookings independently.
Nevertheless, for those who’re lucky sufficient to wrangle a seat here, you’re just about guaranteed a transcendental meal.
2. Sushi Sugita
Sushi being ready at Sushi Sugita (photograph by City Foodsters CC BY)
One other tiny sushi restaurant the place it’s simply as troublesome for the typical traveler—and resident—to snag reservations. Whereas they technically accept telephone reservations, the truth at Sugita and different comparable high-end eating places is that seats for the next month are booked by visiting clients throughout their meal. In follow, this makes it one other introduction-only place.
Chef Sugita is especially recognized for his shari, made with a mix of amber and pink vinegars. It pairs superbly together with his neta, primarily the hikarimono, or silver fishes like shad gizzard and sardine. The mixture of sharp-tasting rice and fatty, oily fish makes for a flavour combination like no different.
Additionally noteworthy: His otsumami are super funky and flavourful, and excellent for sake pairings. These aren’t for unadventurous diners. Assume white shrimp with umami-ful tomalley and brains, sea cucumber ovaries, salt-grilled cod milt, and a gorgeously sweet monkfish liver.
Three. Sushi Sawada
Two-star Sawada is known, with top-notch sushi and equally high costs to match. It ticks each critical sushi restaurant field after which some—six seats, no assistants, a reverent environment, expectations of excellent conduct, no images, wonderful tuna and sea urchin, and 0 electrical energy used within the meals preparation. That’s critically old-school. But the regulars maintain going back for a cause.
It’s a reasonably friendly place, however when it comes to the meals, Sawada is greatest for critical connoisseurs. In case you’re on the lookout for a relaxed meal to talk with buddies, you could be higher off at one other place like Kyubey.
4. Sushi Arai
Characterised by sharp, powerfully flavoured shari—made with a blend of white and purple vinegar—and stylish fish, Arai’s Edomae-style sushi, with nods to Sushi Shimizu, is a firm favourite with many connoisseurs. The standard is to be expected. Chef Arai has 15 years of experience underneath his belt, together with eight years on the well-loved Sushi Kyubey. Unsurprisingly, his restaurant quickly turned one in every of Tokyo’s hottest sushi-ya after opening in 2015, and it’s now notoriously troublesome to e-book.
But don’t hand over just yet: Arai is considered one of a number of high-end locations in town with a second counter. At Arai, it’s managed by the sous-chef, Watanabe-san, and it’s considerably simpler for visitors or non-regulars to order a seat right here.
Do you have to be too upset about being “segregated” from the regulars, as some individuals assume? No—Watanabe-san’s sushi can also be excellent, and he speaks some English, which helps non-Japanese audio system and first-time diners really feel rather more comfy than at the common counter.
5. Sukiyabashi Jiro
Kurumaebi (boiled prawn) at Sukiyabashi Jiro (photograph by City Foodsters CC BY)
Anybody with the remotest curiosity in sushi has at the very least heard of Jiro and the eponymous Jiro Goals of Sushi. The sushi is certainly as dreamy as the documentary suggests—the tuna, smoked katsuo, and uni are all the time winners right here—but Sukiyabashi Jiro just isn’t a really perfect restaurant for first-timers to high-end sushi.
Made with a excessive proportion of white vinegar to rice, Chef Ono’s shari can come off as too vinegary for some diners, though that’s a part of its cult attraction. A meal here can feel very rushed—you’re really pressured to focus only on the sushi, and eat somewhat shortly. Additionally it is not probably the most relaxed of dining environments: The chefs have been recognized to scold diners for poor conduct or dangerous sushi etiquette. And, if it issues to you, costs right here have escalated alongside together with his fame to the point the place the cost-performance ratio may not be justifiable for some. Study extra about costs in Japan.
It goes without saying that it’s extraordinarily troublesome to get in here. You may be capable of wrangle a reservation via certain lodge concierges, nevertheless it’s so revered now that it’s primarily an introduction-only place. In the event you’re desperate to eat his type of sushi, you’ll have higher luck getting a table at his son’s restaurant in Roppongi.
With over 120 years of history and counting, 2-star Hatsunezushi serves Edomae-style sushi with a number of unusual twists. For one, the neta is warmed on a scorching plate earlier than being formed into nigiri with the rice—marinated in concentrated pink vinegar—and is intended to be eaten warm. The gari is made with older ginger in coin-thick slices, in contrast to the cotton-thin young ginger pieces served at most eating places. It is in all probability one of many only high-end locations serving oyster sushi. On prime of all this, Chef Nakaji is extremely pleasant and interacts nicely with regulars and first-time guests alike.
To contextualise simply how troublesome it is to get a reservation right here: In round September 2018, there was a message on their website saying they’ll begin accepting reservations for 2020. They will seat a maximum of 3,000 individuals a yr. Every single place will in all probability be snapped up within every week, as occurred for 2019 seatings. Good luck eating right here!
7. Sushi Ishiyama, Ginza
Chef Takao Ishiyama making akami (photograph by City Foodsters CC BY)
Those acquainted with the sushi world in Tokyo will recognise the young and affable Chef Ishiyama, who beforehand headed Sushi-ya in Ginza, and in addition educated at Saito and Kanesaka. Not a lot has changed at his new location; his sushi is simply as delicious, albeit with a better price tag to match the bigger premises and growing reputation.
Some of his signature gadgets embrace the mackerel stick sushi—fatty cured mackerel on rice, rolled with kelp and sliced into thick slabs—and the flippantly torched nodoguro (black throat perch) wrapped round skinny scallions in ponzu sauce. They’re a few of the greatest gadgets you’ll have in the omakase. Other standouts, depending on the time of yr, may embrace a smoky grilled shirako, near-perfect sea urchin gunkan, or Pacific saury with a dab of umami-ful sauce constructed from its liver.
Tile fish in clam soup at Harutaka (photograph by City Foodsters CC BY)
Harutaka is a favorite with many sushi connoisseurs within the city, and counts commemorated chefs like Saotome-san of Mikawa Zezankyo as common patrons. This can be a great spot for many who want Jiro-style sushi—giant nigiri with sharp, robust shari and really high-quality neta—with out the serious environment or rushed tempo of the original restaurant. The tsumami (appetisers) are beautiful and exactly executed: assume tiger blowfish milt, a wealthy and oily kinmedai poached in dashi.
For many who care about Michelin star rankings: Harutaka has gained and misplaced its two stars through the years. Personally, I might take Michelin stars with a huge pinch of salt—they mean little or no beyond a certain degree of cooking, and it’s extra helpful to determine your personal preferences.
9. Sukiyabashi Jiro, Roppongi
Jiro Ono and his son Yoshikazu at Sukiyabashi Jiro (photograph by City Foodsters CC BY)
For those who can’t snag a seat at the unique store, you’ll have higher luck at Jiro’s son’s restaurant, which is sequestered away in a quiet corner in Roppongi Hills. As an abroad traveler, you’ll still should go through a lodge concierge or reserving service if it’s your first time.
Jiro’s son serves characteristically sour shari made with white rice vinegar, and each nigiri is on the bigger aspect compared to many other outlets. Some really chic items here embrace the bonito (smoked over rice straw) and sea urchin gunkan. As a bonus, meals listed here are inexpensive than at the unique Jiro—although with lunch clocking in at around JPY20,000 (approx. USD180) for 14 pieces, which may not be saying an excessive amount of.
10. Sushi Kimura
Ageing fish has develop into far more widespread follow at high-end sushi eating places—but few serve virtually all their fish aged. Plus, you won’t even eat fatty tuna in the course of the meal, since Chef Kimura doesn’t consider in that kind of hype.
What can you eat right here, then? Assume smoked clams, fermented whale, grilled ocean eel, sea bream marinated in kelp, sujiko, horse mackerel, kinmedai, and blue marlin. Most fish is aged between two days to 3 or 4 months.
This is another a type of holy grail sushi restaurants. Lodge concierges gained’t have the ability to do something for you right here. Until you have got an invitation from the chef, a daily, or encounter a particularly serendipitous cancellation by way of Tableall, it’s in all probability greatest to not place all of your hopes on eating right here.
11. Sushi Sho
Bara-Chirashi at Sushi Sho (photograph by Metropolis Foodsters CC BY)
Dive into the sushi world and also you’ll shortly find that there are lots of faculties of sushi. In Tokyo, you’ll in all probability run into many restaurants training the distinctive Sho-style of sushi. What does that mean? For example, in a Sho-style meal, you’ll alternate between otsumami (flavourful aspect dishes/appetisers) and nigiri, which encourages plenty of sake consuming. A extra widespread construction in sushi eating places is to start out with the appetisers earlier than shifting on to the nigiri.
Another unusual trait: In contrast to many outlets that use a single shari for all of the neta, Sho-style sushi varies the rice in accordance with the topping. As you’ll be able to think about, it’s fairly a process preserving all of the sushi rice at a consistent temperature throughout the meal—particularly if you’re consuming upwards of 30 pieces over a single meal. Sure, Sushi Sho can and really does serve that many items! You’ll see some much less widespread nigiri, like chopped chutoro with sesame and blowtorched kinmedai belly with grated daikon.
Some sushi purists don’t just like the Sho type. Even so, the sushi is general very well-executed, and this restaurant will in all probability attraction to diners who take pleasure in variety of their meal.
12. Sushi Sho Masa
A sampling of octopus at Sushi Sho Masa (photograph by City Foodsters CC BY)
A favourite with travellers to Japan, Sho Masa is among the most well-known Sho-style restaurants within the city. As with Sushi Sho, this can be a place to go to for those who like variety in your meal.
You’ll eat almost 40 pieces of sushi and otsumami over three hours. From seared bonito with marinated garlic, to sea grapes, to velvety monkfish liver cubes to buttery otoro, you’ll have sampled a very giant range of damn good seafood by the top of your meal—along with plenty of sake, for those who drink. It’s, on the very least, implausible value considering the quantity of meals you’ll eat.
Take a look at our guide to Japanese Whisky.
13. Sushi Ryusuke
You don’t need to go to probably the most Insta-famous sushi locations for an incredible meal, and this place is proof of that. Run by the pleasant and humorous Chef Ryusuke Yamane, this tiny sushi restaurant in Ginza serves some relatively unorthodox however scrumptious sushi.
His coaching at Kyubey belies the Sho-style influences on the meal—a couple of otsumami served between the nigiri, and two several types of shari used relying on the topping. Go for lunch; it’s great value for the money.
14. Sushi Tokami
Buri and Daikon at Sushi Tokami (photograph by Metropolis Foodsters CC BY)
Chef Sato at Tokami has a devoted following in Tokyo, and for good cause: His sushi is simply excellent. His rice is assertively seasoned with two totally different sorts of pink vinegar, and is on the saltier aspect for shari. This works for a lot of the strongly flavoured toppings, like tuna, shellfish, and silver fish, however can overpower the white fish at occasions.
There are some distinctive and scrumptious touches at his restaurant—assume cold and hot sea urchin mixed in a single gunkanmaki; an ultra-custardy piece of bruleed tamago to finish—very in contrast to typical sushi eating places.
Together with his insider connections to a few of the greatest tuna available on the market, it’s no shock that the maguro at Tokami is completely outstanding. Along with the standard cuts of tuna, they often serve a tuna bone soup that’ll have you ever selling your soul to the satan for only one more bowl. Tokami might be greatest visited in late fall or winter when the fish is at its fattiest.
Safe your reservations approach prematurely. Chef Sato is tremendous pleasant and speaks English, so you’ll see more non-Japanese clients at his store at occasions.
15. Shinbashi Shimizu
Chef Shimizu serves top-notch Edomae-style sushi—the rice is seasoned with pink vinegar and simply sufficient salt, while the neta are excellent, typically including a variety of shellfish. It’s a agency favourite with locals. The fairly priced lunches, round JPY8,000, don’t harm both. Unfortunately, he doesn’t settle for bookings from lodge concierges or non-Japanese audio system, and an area telephone quantity can also be crucial if you wish to eat here.
On the brilliant aspect, this isn’t a restaurant you’ll need to ebook one yr prematurely. Shimizu only takes reservations around every week forward of time, which is nice for individuals who aren’t good at planning and keeps it flexible. For those who don’t converse Japanese, your greatest guess is to go together with a Japanese-speaking good friend or native eater. (So ensure you deal with them!)
16. Sushi Take
What number of feminine sushi cooks are you able to think of? In all probability none—sushi is a extremely male-dominated career. However now you’ll be able to add Chef Fumie Takeuchi to this record. Having educated at Shimizu for years, her own restaurant in Ginza is very regarded by Tokyoites and continues to attract a loyal clientele.
When you love hikarimono (silver fish) and shellfish, you’ll enjoy the meals here. Hers are excellent, and her knife expertise are faultless. Some may discover the shari not as well-calibrated compared to Shimizu, however that is doubtless something that may improve with time. A meal general right here within reason priced, scrumptious, and price your time. Plus, the relative ease of booking makes it a more sensible choice than many others on this listing.
A tuna roll at Kyubey (photograph by City Foodsters CC BY)
As you’ll be able to in all probability inform, high-end sushi restaurants are plentiful in Tokyo. But Kyubey is a popular selection for first-time sushi diners in Japan. High quality dining could be pretty nerve-racking if you don’t converse the native language, and Kyubey could be very accommodating toward non-Japanese visitors. Walk-ins are often potential, in contrast to nearly all of high-end sushi-ya. Don’t anticipate hyper-personalised consideration—the first flooring alone seats 17 clients.
And what of the sushi? It’s excellent—not Saito or Sawada good, but quality fish and well-done rice for the worth point. The sushi isn’t the very best within the city, but in the event you’re in search of a restaurant where you’ll be able to chill out with pals over great sushi and never really feel like you need to eat in monk-like reverence, that is the place to go to.
18. Sushi Takahashi
Opened by Chef Takahashi, a former apprentice at Sushi Saito, this eight-seat restaurant continues to be fairly new, however feted by Tokyo’s sushi lovers. Wonderful sushi aside, the appetizers are veritable flavor bombs that linger in your memory long after you’ve eaten them. Crab meat combined with sea urchin and ikura, charred milt, smoked surf clam confit—all sensible.
Slightly unusually for a sushi restaurant, Takahashi has a corkage choice—so you’ll be able to, in the event you like, usher in that bottle of champagne. Chef Takahashi’s sushi has only improved since opening a number of years in the past. Go before his place becomes an invitation-only spot.
19. Sushi Suzuki, Ginza
Chef Suzuki educated at Sushi Aoki for 12 years before opening up his personal restaurant in Ginza. What you get right here: a friendly chef, good, balanced shari, and high-quality fish. This seems like many different high-end sushi eating places in Tokyo, and that’s precisely the purpose. A meal right here gained’t be super revolutionary, however it is going to be good.
Most visitors to Japan are more likely to take pleasure in their meal here—plus will probably be a lot less annoying than consuming someplace like Jiro.
Run by Chef Hiroyuki Sato, Hakkoku is one among Tokyo’s newest and most feted sushi eating places. Impeccable method and wonderful elements aside, consistency is vital to a terrific sushi restaurant. Hakkoku manages to hit the excessive notes pretty much all the time with Sato’s nigiri-only omakase.
You’ll more than likely begin together with his signature piece, the tossaki temaki constructed from tuna head meat—ultra-flavorful and unctuous. The opposite cuts of maguro are just as beautiful; be careful for the varied hikarimono.
You may find yourself eating round 30 pieces of nigiri, but each piece shall be so good that you simply’ll wish you had a bottomless stomach.
It’s correspondingly troublesome to safe seats here, so you’ll need to plan a visit properly prematurely. Some sacrifices have to be made for a meal like this.
21. Sushi Iwa
Chef chopping fish at Sushi Iwa (photograph by City Foodsters CC BY)
Sushi Iwa is one other completely respectable Edomae-style sushi restaurant in Ginza. The shari here will attraction to diners who prefer less assertive, vinegary flavours—a extra approachable fashion of sushi for the typical non-Japanese diner. Anticipate to come across a wide variety of fish you won’t have eaten earlier than: shirauo, suzuki, and karei are just a few examples.
Although it’s a small six-seat restaurant, reservations here aren’t too troublesome to make. Chef Iwa additionally speaks some English, and it’s a considerably much less intimidating place to eat at than some other sushi eating places in town.
22. Sushi Takeuchi
Situated in a quiet, nondescript backstreet in Daikanyama, Chef Takeuchi serves a lunch omakase that’s ridiculously good worth for cash. The JPY8,000 course nets you 12 items and 5 otsumami; the standard of every piece is a testomony to his years of training at both Sushi Saito (two years) and Sushi Kanesaka (10 years).
It’s extremely approachable, and not probably the most idiosyncratic sushi you’ll eat, which makes this restaurant a superb crowd-pleaser. Takeuchi is great for diners on the lookout for a style of high-end sushi without the intimidating environment of extra exclusive eating places.
23. Sushi Satake
Satake doesn’t draw back from unorthodox methods. The conference for nearly all sushi eating places is to serve sushi at body or room temperature, but the chef bucks this custom through the use of scorching shari in his nigiri.
His sushi won’t essentially be pitch-perfect each single time, however the distinction between the cooler topping and scorching rice works for many pieces, and the flavourful tuna pieces are notably suited to pairing with scorching rice. Tokyoites have definitely warmed up—pun unintended—to his sushi, though it’s potential that there’s some hype concerned there because of the unusual shari.
The primary draw back is that vacationers now need to make bookings by way of Pocket Concierge at a significantly inflated worth level. It’s value visiting in case you have lots of spare cash lying around.
24. Sushi Keita
A relatively new sushi restaurant opened in late 2017, Sushi Keita is a tiny seven-seater that’s rapidly turning into a favourite with many diners in Tokyo. The chef’s sushi displays his in depth coaching at prime eating places like Sushi Wakichi in Hokkaido and Sushi Mizutani in Ginza.
What do you get here? Assume assertively sharp and salty however remarkably balanced and al dente shari paired with expertly ready fish—the purple vinegar adds just the appropriate contact of sweetness. It’s an amazing meal all around. Don’t anticipate most of the similar neta year-round. The emphasis is on extraordinarily seasonal fish, which is how he manages to keep costs affordable.
25. Sushi Yoshitake
Lovely presentation at Sushi Yoshitake (photograph by Metropolis Foodsters CC BY)
Should you assume you recognize sushi, assume again. A meal at Yoshitake has enough in the best way of superbly executed Edomae sushi to please the traditionalists, however Chef Yoshitake isn’t afraid to take a couple of artistic liberties and incorporate methods extra harking back to trendy high quality dining.
So that you may need pretty basic items reminiscent of a jewel-like marinated bonito or boiled tiger prawn. But you may also encounter a slow-cooked oyster topped with an ultra-flavourful gel, or a triple-layered development of sushi rice, kombu powder, and sea urchin—each recent and aged. Then there’s his signature steamed abalone in a seductively creamy abalone liver sauce, which often has the diners shuddering in pure pleasure.
Any of this could fall flat or come off as gimmicky in several palms, but Chef Yoshitake’s mastery of the basic sushi method is strong.
As a bonus, he speaks nice English and could be very friendly towards foreigners—this isn’t something that can be stated of all high-end eating places in Japan. (I think this contributed in no small half to the 3-star Michelin score.)
What Tokyo Sushi Restaurant Will You Attempt First?
Hopefully, this text provides you an concept of the totally different types of sushi on the market, and what you possibly can anticipate at a number of the city’s many great sushi eating places.
There’s far more to sushi than just Jiro or Saito. We hope you could have the prospect to attempt one among these eating places in your next visit to Tokyo!
Now that you’ve our suggestions of the place to go, learn our article on the most effective time to go to Japan!
The featured photograph at the prime of this publish by City Foodsters CC BY.