i dont know about you, but if you waited in line before at the first location, it is not comfortable at all.. waiting down the stairs for such a long time. many tourists make the line longer. reservation maybe make it much easier.
We also were rejected to book a table in 2008 by fax with the exception that foreigners were not likely to understand the food and culture. We had some Japanese friends to call and explain that we were very well informed about the culture and it would be an honor to visit. We were then allowed and had a fantastic experience with Hachiro Mizutani first watching our reactions and then loosening up to us and ending with free drinks and photo with us.
Lisbet / Denmark