Tokyo Table Trip

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When tourists look for information on sushi ya, their most popular question is how they could book the number-one sushi restaurant on Tabelog or the Tabelog gold sushi restaurant. I’m surprised at how determined many international young foodies are. They don’t seem to mind how expensive or how difficult it could be. It seems that restaurants that are impossible to book are more appealing.

Most fancy sushi ya are priced around 30,000–40,000 yen these days, although some are run by young apprentices trying to cut their teeth in the sushi dining scene before they are truly ready. While some talents justify their price tags, some are merely disappointments. One could even find examples of hot sushi ya with discriminatory pricing practices against foreigners to rip off uninformed tourists.

In many stock markets, there’s a group of investors who practice value investing. These people are determined to find undervalued stocks for great returns. As for shopping, there is a lot of information on smart shopping to find the best deal or stuff that have the best value. However, it seems that most food bloggers aren’t covering this genre of high-value dinners.

For me, a part of my culinary journey is to find hidden gems. I would go after diamonds in the rough or find restaurants that fit my liking, rather than fight to get a seat at Tabelog gold or some exclusive ichigen san owotowari. With further ado, I’d like to present my personal dinner recommendations for diners who seek excellent value and the best bang for the buck:

Bentenyama Miyakozushi

For less than 6,000 yen, you can get to enjoy nice nigiri prepared by a 76-year-old master and his son. For entry-level sushi at as low as 2,200 yen and at a price point below 6,000 yen, Bentenyama Miyako is among the best. Nobody can beat its prices and value, except for the lunch set at Daisan Harumi, which features wild shrimp.
You can just call to book it directly. The staff speaks English and welcomes direct inquiries. This is a very foreigner-friendly attitude.
http://www.bentenyama-miyakosushi.com/
https://www.instagram.com/p/Bd3m5gWnqAH/?igshid=9kfcuwv3775k

◆Bentenyama Miyakozushi
Address: 2-1-16 Asakusa, Taito-ku, Tokyo
Phone: 03-3844-0034
Hours:
[Lunch] 12:00~14:30
[Dinner] 17:00~21:00
Budget: 10,000-14,999 yen
Closed: Mondays, third Sundays of the month
Credit cards accepted(VISA、Diners、JCB、AMEX、MASTER)

Sushi Nishichi

Sushi Nishichi used to serve great-value lunch meals, but it has stopped its lunch service to focus on dinner. Its dinner meal is about 13,000 yen for 27 pieces. This would be one of the best sushi you can get within this budget.
Nakagaki-San visits Toyosu each morning to find the best fish for his clients. Their rice is nicely seasoned with the right sourness.
Dining at Sushi Nishichi is cozy, and I was lucky to be attended by a lovely young lady, Adriana, who speaks fluent Japanese. She can help explain everything in perfect English. I have met many photographers in my life, but her photos showing the beauty of Japan are ones of a kind. Booking via your hotel should be easy.
http://www.sushi27.tokyo/menu.html#food-menu
https://instagram.com/japan.spot?igshid=1tct1e67wvykk

◆Sushi Nishichi
Address: 1-14-16 Botan, Koto-ku, Tokyo
Phone: 050-5594-7277
Hours:17:00~23:00
Budget: 15,000-19,999 yen
Closed: Wednesdays
Credit cards accepted(VISA、MASTER、JCB、AMEX、Diners)

Uwotoku

Dining at Uwotoku is like stepping back in time. At Uwotoku’s counter, time stands still. The ambiance even before stepping in is very nostalgic. Taisho is kind. Although he might not speak English much, he treats his foreign clients just like his Japanese clients. As it’s a little far off the beaten track, you might not have the company of fellow overseas diners.
At this small house restaurant, you can enjoy close action. My meal started with a series of different otsumami at the six-seat counter before the nigiri was served. The entry-level course starts at 12,000 yen, and you will enjoy the feast. I could see steam coming out of the boiled abalone and seafood before the chef started slicing the abalone.
Please allocate at least three hours and don’t plan anything afterward. There is no rush here; this is quite a feast and you should savor the whole experience.
You can ask your hotel to help you book. The contact info is on this site:
https://uwotoku.sakura.ne.jp/menu.html

◆Uwotoku
Address: 4-24-26 Higashi-Mukojima, Sumida-ku, Tokyo
Phone: 03-3613-1793
Hours:
[Lunch] 12:00~(Available only on Sundays )
[Dinner] 17:30~
Budget: 15,000-19,999 yen
Closed: Mondays
Credit cards accepted(VISA、MASTER、AMEX、JCB、Diners)

Hatano Yoshiki

Yoshiki-san isn’t shy about using modern cooking techniques and unconventional ingredients. It’s a fun dinner and Yoshiki-san is great company. I would recommend Sushi Ya to anyone with an open mind. Their quality dinner of nigiri and otsumami of 20-25 pieces is offered at the modest price of 15,000 yen.
Booking might be possible via tablecheck. My good friend from Singapore not only shared this booking tip, but also claims that dinner at Hatano Yoshiki is one of the best. Many of the restaurants in Japan got secret booking links via the Japanese version of the booking sites:
https://www.tablecheck.com/en/sushi-syoku-hatano-yoshiki

◆Hatano Yoshiki
Address: 2-8-6 Azabujuban, Minato-ku, Tokyo
Phone: 050-3196-8996
Hours:18:00~20:00/20:30~22:30
Budget: 15,000-19,999 yen
Closed: Sundays
Credit cards accepted(VISA、MASTER、AMEX、JCB、Diners)

Sushitake

I regard Sushitake as no. 1 on my list in terms of hospitality. She’s not only a female chef, but also one of the promising chefs of her generation. Her nigiri shows a glimpse of Master Shimizu’s sushi. Her shellfish are also respectable. The skill of Master Shimizu is unmatched by any of her disciples, and she has warm hospitality. Her nigiri omakase dinner is about 15,000 yen. I don’t think, at this quality, you could find this price range in Ginza.

◆Sushitake
Address: 7-6-5 Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo
Phone: 03-6228-5007
Hours:17:00~23:00
Budget: 20,000-29,999 yen
Closed: Wednesdays
Credit cards accepted(Diners、VISA、JCB、AMEX)

Sushi Fukumoto

After I read Shoot Saito’s first article on TTT, I was perplexed by his journey to search for the best sushi, savoring sushi ya one by one. Rather than wait for another article, I went straight to his blog in Japanese and tried to decipher his list of 20 best sushi ya in Japanese. One name that caught my attention was Fukumoto, which, since then, has been on my bucket list.
Finding Fukumoto is a mini challenge. It’s not easy to find the tiny sign, written only in Japanese. It’s located one floor below a flight of stairs, another challenge for not so young diners. The ambiance is quite refined. On this particular list, I think Fukumoto has the best shari. His shari is his calling card. It’s wonderfully seasoned and perfectly balanced with his neta. This is a very satisfying meal. His nigiri course is only 11,000 yen for 13 pieces. His nigiri will put many sushi ya who have priced their dinner above 30,000 yen to shame. ChutoroZuke has also written an excellent review so I would recommend any interested diner to check his full review on this website.
The only reservation is that this is going to be a fast dinner, ideally for people who have little time. My dinner took much less than 60 minutes. Fukumoto is in a very local neighborhood with lots of local shops. It would be a fun neighborhood to walk around.
In conclusion, Fukumoto is, hands down, the winner in terms of price, performance, and taste. I would recommend to anyone to try Fukumoto at least once. Booking Fukumoto is super easy, via the OpenTable mobile app. I’m surprised that a credit card wasn’t even required. I hope this will stay unchanged. Many no-shows among foreign diners could lead to the end of easy booking via OpenTable. However, I believe in TTT fans, and I hope all the new TTT readers will adhere to the TTT promise to be a good guest.

◆Sushi Fukumoto
Address: 5-17-6 Daisawa, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo
Phone: 050-5596-2216
Hours:17:30~23:00
Budget: 15,000-19,999 yen
Closed: Wednesdays
Credit cards accepted(VISA、MASTER、JCB、AMEX、Diners)

Writer:Localtaste

Local taste had taken a long journey searching for delicious meals long before the dawn of social media, roaming from one city to another from the Far East to the west, over 160 cities in four continents and more than 400,000 miles during the last 37 years.
His dining spots over thousands of restaurants range from eating in a hole in the wall in Asia to all ten Michelin 3-star restaurants in Paris. More than decades was spent on chasing for perfect xiao long bao.
Because he is not in food business nor food writer, his article won’t be found elsewhere but exclusively on tokyotabletrip.com as a tribute to Leo Saito’s altruistic deed to help international visitors discover the beauty of Japanese cuisine.

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guest

Dear,

Anyone has an updated price for omakase dinner at Sushi Fukamoto? Thank you

6 months ago

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guest

Also Sushi Take. Thank you

6 months ago
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localtaste

You can see the price list here. http://sushifukumoto.jp/menu.html

Sushi take should be around 15,000~20,000 jpn.

6 months ago
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Leo Saito

chief editor, TokyoTableTrip

Sushi Take takes 20,000jpy for their omakase course.

6 months ago

guest

It’s quite hard for me to try a sushi omakase because I don’t eat fish. I don’t reckon I can tell the restaurant to prepare only seafood other than fish for my omakase right?

7 months ago

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localtaste

@guest maybe not. I think this is extremely difficult not only in sushi restaurant but also kappo / kaiseki. Let’s say you have 11 pieces of sushi, most of which are fish. It would be tricky to substitute most of them with mollusks.

If u don’t like fish, there are lots of other types of Japanese food like Tempura, yakiniku, Nikku kappo, suppon, yakitori, etc.

Telling the chef that u don’t eat fish in sushi restaurant might be semilar to telling ramen shop that u are on a no carb diet.

7 months ago
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guest

This reminds me of this one time when the Chinese customer sitting next to me at a famous Ginza sushiya requested for the chef to prepare all the sushi without rice. hahahahah.

7 months ago
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ChuToroZuke

Assuming you are able to eat raw shellfish, your other option would be to go to a Iwasa Sushi in Toyosu market, and go for their kai set, which is a nigiri combo of everything shellfish and concludes with a clam miso soup. They give you two or three pieces of sushi at a time until your order is completed, and you will also get one cut roll at the end (the "ribbon" of the aoyagi clam with cucumber). It's 7 pieces of different shellfish nigiri sushi, one six piece cut roll as described earlier. and runs 4000 yen. Rice is soft, very sticky, but has great vinegar flavor and personally I enjoyed it a lot myself having had it twice in the last 3 years when they were still at Tsukiji Inner Market. You are also welcome to add on pieces of sushi after that if you want more (provided you know what you want and can find a way to translate their special seafood of the day for sushi or sashimi, which could be fish or other shellfish).
Yeah I know it's not sushi omakase like the high end shops, but it's a very viable alternative.

7 months ago
Blackglasses1

Menchikatsu

This is sort of going around your question, but while I myself would order the omakase option somewhere, I have often seen local customers sitting next to me at the counter order okonomi (ala carte) only. And they're allowed to get like 3 things, and leave.

I'm not sure if this is a privilege only regular long time customers get? I would be interested in how one would approach this, towards a restaurant you're going for the first time. I almost feel like ordering the pricey omakase menu is like a 'first time entry ticket', out of respect, but I don't know.

I suppose you could ask in advance, if a restaurant would be willing to do okonomi, and then you can avoid the fish. I'm certain this can't apply to a lot of highend places however, as they prepare the exact things you'll eat in advance. A similar problem I've encountered, asking a French restaurant, about a person dining with me who can't eat butter/milk/cream. They flat out tell me they can't make that many modifications, when 75% of the course involves dairy.

7 months ago
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guest

I think it might be better for you to go to restaurnts which offers okonomi. Below are some restaurants from saito-san which offers okonomi:

https://tabelog.com/en/tokyo/A1301/A130101/13169506/
https://tabelog.com/en/tokyo/A1301/A130101/13002472/
https://tabelog.com/en/tokyo/A1321/A132101/13071606/
https://tabelog.com/en/tokyo/A1310/A131003/13223919/
https://tabelog.com/en/tokyo/A1301/A130101/13224300/

Like localtaste has mentioned, there are many different types of japanese cuisine which might suit your taste. I would advise you to avoid tempura and kaiseki as well since they might contain fish.

From my local context, it's like going to a hainanese chicken rice stall and saying you want chicken rice without the chicken.

7 months ago
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bootsy_gin

IG: bootsy_gin

Maybe try Sushi Yasuda.
It specifically states that they can accommodate a No Fish (shellfish only) menu. The chef worked in the US for long and can speak ENG very well from what I hear.

http://www.sushibaryasuda.com/menu_e.html

We are ABLE to accommodate:
1) Kosher meals: available for Yasuda style Omakase.
2) No shellfish (only fish).
3) No fish (only shellfish).
4) Gluten allergies: Please bring your own gluten free soy sauce.

Unfortunately, we are UNABLE to accommodate:
1) Vegetarian meals.
2) No raw fish.
3) Carb diet (we do NOT serve sashimi).
4) Yeast allergies (we use yeast for our sushi vinegar).

7 months ago
7215f275 1957 46ba ba3a 7479c3ab14ce

bootsy_gin

IG: bootsy_gin

Just another thought I had. Maybe (emphasis on MAYBE) you could try Hakkoku? I was just reading one of their menus, and counted over 10 items which were non-fish seafood, which is a pretty good portion of their course. So, once again, MAYBE, they would be willing to accommodate.
Either way, you should contact the restaurant and ask in advance.

7 months ago
7215f275 1957 46ba ba3a 7479c3ab14ce

bootsy_gin

IG: bootsy_gin

One more suggestion is Udatsu Sushi in Nakameguro.
They offer a vegetarian course, so I would imagine that you could ask for a vegetarian course but ask them to incorporate non-fish seafood. Might be worth asking.

https://www.udatsu-sushi.jp/en

7 months ago

ChuToroZuke

I don't know how I missed this article, but thanks so much for it, and also for the shoutout/mention of my review for Sushi Fukumoto.

What happened was that for my last Japan trip, I booked it rather last minute... I made whatever reservations I could and then figured I would leave room for what I can score when I arrived. Fukumoto reservation was literally made 4 hours before the meal! I doubt I'll get that lucky or close ever again. At 12,000 yen for nigiri omakase or 16,000 I think for otsumami then slightly fewer number of nigiri, is indeed an absolute bargain, given the variety and quality of the neta (even though there are no brand name vendors for some of the fish, but very respectable). I actually liked otsumami more than sushi, but that's entirely preference.

Glad to see Bentenyama Miyakosushi mentioned here, despite some negative feedback from one or two readers. Yes the rice is softer, but they are legendary and iconic to old school Edomae sushi.

I must try Sushi Take, and Sushi Taichi for sure when I return (Taichi has been using Iio Jozo vinegar, and I've been told by those who are huge fans, who visited within the past year that the shari has improved drastically for the better).

7 months ago

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guest

Im not sure whether you can say it publicly, but, can you give any clues for the restaurant that may fit into " fancy sushi-ya are priced around 30,000–40,000 yen" that tyring to rip off tourist and does not justify the price?

7 months ago

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Leo Saito

chief editor, TokyoTableTrip

It might be because I am Japanese, but I have never heard such rumors. On the other hand, if you have any examples of past cases, I would be very interested if you would be willing to share information about them with us.

7 months ago

Terence

I'm planning to take 3 colleagues out for a business meal in a week, can you recommend a good sushi-ya that's within 20000 yen per person that's large enough to accommodate a reservation for 4 people?

7 months ago

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localtaste

@Terence Which sushi ya in Tokyo do u like or please let me know which type of sushi are u looking for?

7 months ago
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7 months ago
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guest

Thanks for the recommendations! Your site is awesome.

@localtaste - I don't think I've been to any sushi-ya for omakase that I didn't like yet in Tokyo. :) Ones that I recall I liked a lot: Sushi Keita, Sushi Taichi, Sushi Tokami, Matsue Ebisu.

I always go for lunch though so my past price range is usually 6,000 to 15,000 yen. The only 2-30,000 yen sushi meal I had was at Sushi Aoki for dinner. I couldn't really tell the difference from the lunch courses so I'm worried that spending 30,000 for sushi is not going to worth it for me (or my colleagues).

7 months ago
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localtaste

@Terence I was thinking of Sushi keita and Taichi but u visited already. On top of suggestions from Leo, u could look into lunch at Kozasa sushi Or lunch at Sushi Suzuki or dinner at Sushi take as well. https://s.tabelog.com/tokyo/A1301/A130103/13000569/

7 months ago
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Terence

Thanks for the advice. I snagged a reservation for 4 at Sushi Rinda. Lucky!

7 months ago
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Leo Saito

chief editor, TokyoTableTrip

Pleas let us know how you feel about Rinda!

7 months ago
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Terence

@Leo @localtaste
Thank you again for your recommendations. Sushi Rinda was such a great recommendation for a business dinner. Got a reservation for 4 within a week. Sushi was great; not the most refined in my opinion, but still high quality. Sushi price was 20,000 yen before drinks so doesn't break the bank. The highlight is that the chef (Yuta Takahashi) was so lively and entertaining. He spoke English well and was frequently making jokes and drinking up a storm with us. For a mixed group of avid and casual sushi fans and foreigners, Rinda was much more accessible than most serious sushi-ya.

7 months ago

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