Sunday, November 23, 2014

Best Sushi choices in Tokyo

One of the best part of visiting Tokyo is savoring the delicious cuisine Japan has to offer to foreign visitors. One of the best cuisine Tokyo has to offer is its Edomae sushi, Tokyo style sushi.
Sushi set. TokyoConsult. Tokyo Consult.
Tokyo Sushi set, Tama Sushi, Shinjuku.

-To read about the most popular and one of the best sushi restaurants in Tokyo, visit Sushi Dai: One of the most popular sushi restaurant in Tokyo.
-To read about where you can find the best Ramen in Tokyo, visit Best Ramen in Tokyo.
-To read about how to save money when you are planning to visit more than two cities in Japan, visit Japan Rail Pass.


Sushi in Japan ranges from different regional styles and ingredients. Tokyo style sushi typically consists of nigiri, gunkanmaki and maki rolls with fresh seafood as its topping.

While maki rolls are more well known in the western world in North America and Europe, most of the people in Japan like their Sushi plate to contain more Nigiri and Gunkanmaki than maki rolls.

I am writing this blog post to introduce to reader some of the best sushi choices in Tokyo, my philosophy for sushi dining is the pursuit of sense of satisfaction and cost/performance value; therefore, I recommend  first time travelers to start with Kaiten sushi and then move onto the more expensive options.

Sushi Zanmai franchise (Tripadvisor page)

Sushi Zanmai bar counter
Very decent choice for sushi for first time visitors to Tokyo. Some of the franchise are open 24 hours a day. It is one of the better choices for decent quality sushi in Tsukiji area when visitors are unwilling to wait in line for Sushi Dai. This is a famous sushi franchise that was made even more famous when the owner won the auction bid on the most expensive bluefin tuna fish in the world in 2013 (about $1.5 million USD) Lunch and dinner omakase sushi set typically ranges from $15 to $30 USD.
Tuna sushi Sushi Zanmai Tsukiji fish market. TokyoConsult. Tokyo Consult.
Tuna sushi set at Sushi Zanmai Tsukiji fish market. Around $12 dollars in year 2007.


Midori Sushi franchise (Tripadvisor page)

One of my recent favorite. My recent visit was in May 2014. We had a group of 4 at our table, each of us order the same premium sushi set. The set included a set of sushi, salad, chawanmushi (steam egg), and ice cream dessert. Each of us spent about $30 USD, everyone thought the price was very reasonable, portions were generous, and the taste was superb. The line/queue is often 30-60 minutes long during dinner hours. The price ranges from $20 to $35 USD for their Omakase sushi set. (premium sushi ingredient selection of the day)
Toro nigiri sushi at Midori, Tokyo Akasaka.
Gunkanmaki at Midori sushi, Tokyo Akasaka.
Anago or Unagi at Midori sushi, Tokyo Akasaka.


Hibari Kaiten Sushi, Shinjuku Kabukicho

Typical Kaiten sushi in Ueno, Tokyo Japan
I have always loved Kaiten sushi since 2001. (revolving sushi bar or conveyor belt sushi) Kaiten sushi offers good options for affordable sushi in Tokyo. At Hibari Kaiten sushi, every plate (2 pieces of nigiri) costs the same at around $1.25 USD. The experience is entertaining and appetizing during rush hours when numerous plates of sushi with fresh ingredients are "cruising" in front of your eyes. The restaurant is situated in the center of  Tokyo's biggest entertainment district, Shinjuku Kabukicho.

There are usually two types of Kaiten sushi restaurants, one that charges the same price for all plates like Hibari, the other type of Kaiten sushi restaurants offer color-coded plates that charges at higher prices for more premium ingredients. ($1.50 to $5.00 per plate) The quality of sushi is perhaps higher at those ingredient-dependent restaurants; however, people often end up paying more at such restaurants.
Hibari kaiten sushi bar. Shinjuku Kabukicho. One plate 137 yen in year 2010.


Sushi Dai, Tsukiji fish market

Friendly chef at sushi Dai, Tsukiji fish market, Tokyo.
One of the most popular sushi restaurants in Tokyo (or Japan) Often appears on the top ten sushi list in Tokyo. I dedicated a blog post for this restaurant based on my wonderful dining experiences in 2007 and 2010. Around $30 to $40 for their Omakase sushi set. Pay a visit if you are willing wait in line for 1 to 3 hours early in the morning.



Sushi Kyubey, Ginza Tokyo (Tripadvisor page)

Kyubey sushi main restaurant, Tokyo Ginza.
Less well known to foreign visitors, however, this restaurant has always been on the top ten list in Tokyo. Rumor has it that Gunkanmaki style of sushi was invented at Kyubey. I visited the main restaurant (there are a few franchise in Tokyo) in May, 2012.  Aside from the fresh ingredient and skilled sushi chef, the restaurant offers an upscale dining experience. I paid about $80 dollars for its Sushi Omakase set during lunch hour. They take walk-ins as well as reservations.
Friendly chef at Sushi Kyubey. Ginza Tokyo.
Uni, sea urchin Gunkanmaki sushi, at Kyubey, where Gunkanmaki was invented. Ginza, Tokyo.
Fancy dessert at Sushi Kyubey. Ginza, Tokyo.




Jiro Sushi, (Tripadvisor page)
Jiro Sushi has always been the top sushi choice in the past few decades. It recently gained its world wide fame due to the Jiro Dreams of Sushi documentary. I thought about visiting the place for the ultimate experience, however, with the price tag of $300-$400 per person, I think it will take awhile before I feel comfortable spending that much money on one single meal. The restaurant takes reservations only, and I have also heard that foreign visitors need to request the hotel concierge to make reservations more than 1-3 months prior to their arrival. Try to go for the original/main shop, not to be confused with its franchise in Roppongi.
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