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There are certain skilled sushi restaurants away from the heart of Tokyo that sushi fans flock to in droves.
Perhaps this is because there are no rival chefs nearby to put stress on them? Or maybe they've figured out something that can draw customers in all the way from Tokyo? Many sushi restaurants have their own unique quirks that get them attention.
Unlike sushi restaurants in the city, where reservations can be full up to a year out, these further-out restaurants often only need a reservation made a few days in advance while still offering authentic Edo-mae sushi, making them an excellent choice for tourists who were unable to get a reservation at a more popular restaurant.
This article will introduce 4 carefully-selected sushi restaurants on the outskirts of Tokyo that are absolutely worth visiting, even with the 1-1.5 hour travel time required.
If you were unable to secure a reservation at your preferred sushi restaurant and are looking for amazing sushi without having to make your reservation too far in advance, this guide is for you!

1. Nakajyo (Yokohama)

えり助さん(@erskertr)がシェアした投稿 -

Where are the sushi restaurants that purchase the world's best maguro (tuna)?
Perhaps it's "Sawada," which is firmly established as a standout sushi restaurant?
What about "Sushi Arai," which has an excellent reputation as being run by the #1 young sushi chef?
How about "Mitani," a super-popular restaurant with a waiting list of 2 years?
The answer is "no" to all of the above.
A well-known fact in the current sushi industry is that all of the best maguro acquired by "Yamakou," the top-ranked tuna wholesaler at Tsukiji Market, goes to "Nakajyo."
The owner and chef of Nakajyo, Kiyotaka Nakajyo, is a 54-year-old who is sometimes referred to as the "shadow Don of the sushi world."
Supposedly he became deeply drawn in to the appeal of the ingredients over time as he interacted with the owner of "Yamakou," Yoshitaka Yamaguchi, who is around the same age as Chef Nakajyo, during his trips to Tsukiji Market every morning.
Chef Nakajyo has said, "I buy up all of the best fish at Tsukiji Market, because I'd hate for it to be bought up by other chefs."
He has become somewhat of a legendary figure around Tsukiji Market, coming in every morning and buying up the finest maguro, whale, wasabi, and shellfish with no mind to the costs.
The rice he chooses to pair with the finest hon-maguro (bluefin tuna), caught in stationary nets, is rich red vinegar-seasoned sushi rice.
The smooth, deliciously indulgent fat in the maguro pairs beautifully with the somewhat tart sushi rice.
While being located around an hour's trip from the heart of Tokyo is somewhat inconvenient, this is a must-visit restaurant if you love sushi.

◆Nakajyo
Budget: 30,000-50,000 yen
Phone: +81-45-671-9300
Hours: 17:30-22:30
Closed: 3rd and 5th Sundays of the month
Address: 3-29 Sumiyoshicho, Naka-ku, Yokohama-shi, Kanagawa Prefecture
Access from Tokyo: Take the JR Keihin Tohoku Line from the JR Yamanote Line's "Shinagawa Station," and get off at "Kannai Station." Total ride time around 35 minutes.

2. Sushi Obana (Gunma)

momosyuranさん(@momosyuran)がシェアした投稿 -

momosyuranさん(@momosyuran)がシェアした投稿 -

momosyuranさん(@momosyuran)がシェアした投稿 -

"Sushi Obana" is often talked about by fish wholesalers, saying things like, "That sushi restaurant buys up amazing quality fish."
It has received exceptionally high praise from people who know good fish, like Kiyotaka Nakajyo of "Nakajyo" and Hideki Matsumoto of Japan's top fish seller "Nezu Matsumoto," making it a so-called sushi restaurant for connoisseurs.
The owner and chef is Terukuni Obana, a 48-year-old who studied at famous sushi restaurant "Kyubey."
After honing his skills in Ginza, he returned to his hometown to take over for his father, also a sushi chef, and in 2004 he opened "Sushi Obana."
While the 2-hour trip from the heart of Tokyo is somewhat inconvenient, many customers make their way from Tokyo just to enjoy the unique dishes Chef Obana creates, like "awabi (abalone) simmered in just water," "soft-boiled shako (mantis shrimp)," and "super-rich ikura (salmon roe) marinated in a special soy sauce."
Of course, the maguro that he procures from "Yamakou," Tsukiji Market's leading fish wholesaler, is of impeccable quality as well.
Sushi Obana serves delicious and high-quality seasonal dishes throughout the year, such as shellfish in the spring, awabi, uni, and ikura in summer, and hon-maguro in the winter.

◆Sushi Obana
Budget: 20,000-29,999 yen
Phone: +81-276-72-1604
Hours:
[Tuesday-Saturday]
17:30-21:30
[Sunday, holidays]
12:30-17:00
Closed: Mondays, 2nd and 4th Sundays
Address: 5-1 Otemachi, Tatebayashi-shi, Gunma Prefecture
Access from Tokyo: Take the Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line from the JR Yamanote Line's "Ueno Station." Change to the Tobu Limited Express Line at "Kita-Senju Station," and get off at "Tatebayashi Station." Total ride time around 65 minutes.

3. Sushi Ei (Chiba)

An hour from the heart of Tokyo by train, then 10 minutes by taxi from the nearest station....
Despite being in such a remote, hard-to-reach location, sushi fans from across the country flock to "Sushi Ei."
The restaurant is run by its second-generation owner, Chef Kazuhiro Sato, 37 years old.
After spending several years working at a long-standing sushi restaurant in Ginza that is no longer in business, he returned to his hometown.
He then took over "Sushi Ei" in the place of his father, who was getting on in years.
Kazuhiro has said that many current young sushi chefs do not go around visiting famous sushi restaurants to try their food, as they are too absorbed in studying just what is used at their own restaurants.
Thanks to gradually introducing new, original takes on sushi using painstakingly acquired top-class fish from harbors across Japan, Sushi Ei has become a hugely popular restaurant over the past 2-3 years.
The way that Chef Kazuhiro, an expert in the fish available in Japan, skillfully pairs ingredients is truly something wonderful.
The specialties at "Sushi Ei" include their "negi-toro maki," made with fresh and crunchy scallions and bluefin tuna cut from the collar area (kamashita), as well as their so-called "mille-feuille,"which combines finely-sliced fatty tuna and juicy crab.
The thrilling omakase course at "Sushi Ei" lasts for over 3 hours, starting off with delicious side dishes made with rare ingredients.
Be sure to check when the last train home leaves when you stop by!

◆Sushi Ei
Budget: 20,000-29,999 yen
Phone: +81-43-224-1683
Hours: 18:00-23:00
Closed: Sundays, holidays
Address: 2-3-8 Dojokita, Chuo-ku, Chiba-shi, Chiba Prefecture
Access from Tokyo: Take the JR Narita Express line towards Narita Airport from the JR Yamanote Line's "Shinagawa Station," and get off at "Chiba Station." Total ride time around 35 minutes.

4. Takaoka (Chiba)

This up-and-coming sushi restaurant was opened in 2012 by Chiharu Takaoka, a young chef who bears the weight of the next generation of the sushi world on his shoulders.
Chef Takaoka, who has said that his only hobby is visiting other sushi restaurants, visited over 400 different sushi restaurants before opening his own restaurant.
He stays overnight at the restaurant on weekdays so that he can leave early in the mornings to visit Tsukiji Market and mingle with other top sushi chefs while fighting over the best quality sushi ingredients, but Chef Takaoka is also extremely passionate about the perfect sushi rice.
He has even gone to the lengths of renting a rice paddy in Chiba Prefecture for the purpose of cultivating what farmers consider the ideal rice.
The sushi rice at Takaoka is made with al dente rice and seasoned with a blend of two types of red vinegar and rice vinegar, resulting in a moderately salted but refined flavor that draws out the aromas of toppings like maguro, kohada, hamaguri, kuruma-ebi, and anago.
Here at Takaoka you can enjoy amazing high-quality sushi, better than you could get at most popular sushi restaurants, for less than 80% of the cost of a trip to a restaurant in Ginza.
How will Chef Takaoka, who has stepped away from the fierce competition between young sushi chefs in Ginza and instead creates his own unique sushi in Chiba, continue to evolve Edo-mae sushi?
If you consider yourself a sushi fan, this is one restaurant you will absolutely want to visit at least once.

◆Takaoka
Budget: 20,000-29,999 yen
Phone: +81-43-306-6269
Hours: 17:00-23:00
Closed: Mondays
Address: 1-7-6 Nobuto, Chuo-ku, Chiba-shi, Chiba Prefecture
Access from Tokyo: Take the JR Narita Express line towards Narita Airport from the JR Yamanote Line's "Shinagawa Station," and get off at "Chiba Station." Total ride time around 35 minutes.

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guest

Saito-san,

Do you know if there are any differences between the lunch and dinner meals at Sushi Obana? I am deciding whether to go there for Sunday lunch but in my experience some sushiyas serve lesser qualities of fish for lunch versus dinner.

8 months ago

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guest

No differences. Generally they have different sets according to the numberof pieces you will get to have, but the quality remain the same.

8 months ago

guest

Saito-san where would you recommend more between takaoka and obana? Thank you

about 1 year ago

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Leo Saito

chief editor, TokyoTableTrip

If you are planning to visit in autumn / winter, then it's Obana.
Obana's creative ikura and nigiri are worth the meal there.

about 1 year ago
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guest

@leo saito thank you saito-san

about 1 year ago

guest

Saito-san, I have already visited takaoka and enjoyed my time there. Among the other 3 restaurants(obana,nakajyo and sushiei), which would you recommend most?

almost 2 years ago

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Leo Saito

chief editor, TokyoTableTrip

If you are looking for high-level sushi, then I recommend Obana. If you want to enjoy richly diverse otsumami together with rare Japanese sake, then I think Sushiei would be a good choice.

almost 2 years ago
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guest

Thanks Saito-san. Will give obana a try!

almost 2 years ago

guest

Hi Saito San,

If you had to choose one, would you go to Sushi Ei or Takaoka? I only have one more free spot in my Tokyo trip!

Thanks!

almost 2 years ago

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Leo Saito

chief editor, TokyoTableTrip

If you mainly want to enjoy various brands of sake and elaborate otsumami, I recommend Sushi Ei. If you want high-quality nigiris, I recommend Takaoka.
Please check out review page for ratings from those that actually visited these places.
https://tokyotabletrip.com/en/339

almost 2 years ago
User default d6f8776075bbcbf91b3886fd7b0aeb86c94956e290bd9b9223466618a8cd47a2

guest

I think Saito-san pasted the link wrongly, should be the 1 below for reviews. https://tokyotabletrip.com/en/358

almost 2 years ago
User default d6f8776075bbcbf91b3886fd7b0aeb86c94956e290bd9b9223466618a8cd47a2

guest

Thank you!

almost 2 years ago

josephs

Hello Saito San,

Between Nakajyo and Obana, which do you rate higher? I can book one more sushi restaurant for November and considering between these two. Thank you!

PS. would you say Kiyota is better than both of these sushi restaurants?

about 2 years ago

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Leo Saito

chief editor, TokyoTableTrip

If you have the chance to go there, I think you should choose Kiyota. I have written about this many times, but since Kimura-san from Kiyota will unfortunately be retiring very soon, the opportunity to be able to savor his sushi is precious.
Between Obana and Nakajyo, however, I personally prefer Obana.
Otsumami at Nakajyo are exceptionally delicious, but the sushi itself is not particularly to my liking.

about 2 years ago
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josephs

Thank you!!

about 2 years ago
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Leo Saito

chief editor, TokyoTableTrip

josephs, After visiting, please post a review!

about 2 years ago
Img 0038

tanseaway

Just found out that Mr Kimura has officially handed over Kiyota to the next generation - but he still works occasionally. At this point they cannot confirm if he will be working for any specific reservation.

almost 2 years ago

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