Sushi: A Culinary Journey Through Tokyo’s Top Five Establishments
Sushi is more than just seasoned rice topped with raw seafood—it has a rich history and cultural significance. The word “sushi” itself means “sour tasting,” which reflects the combination of raw fish on rice and vinegar. Originally, sushi was considered a high-end food reserved for special occasions. However, the emergence of conveyor belt sushi restaurants has made it more accessible to people from all walks of life.
Sushi can be prepared in various forms, such as sashimi, nigiri sushi, or maki sushi. Sashimi consists of raw fish served without rice, allowing the flavors of the fish to shine through. Nigiri sushi features slices of fish placed on top of small mounds of seasoned rice, creating a harmonious balance of textures and flavors. Maki sushi, on the other hand, involves wrapping fish and other ingredients in seaweed and rice, resulting in delightful rolls that can be enjoyed with each bite.
Becoming a sushi master is no easy feat and requires years of dedicated training. Typically, it takes around ten years for an apprentice chef to achieve mastery in the art of sushi-making. Throughout their training, these aspiring masters must prove their unwavering dedication, learn the intricacies of ingredient selection and slicing techniques, and tirelessly work towards perfecting their skills. Sushi-making in Japan is considered a true art form, demanding great attention to detail and precision, just like other revered culinary traditions.
In this article, we aim to showcase the top five sushi establishments in Tokyo, as carefully selected by Dishes Japan. Tokyo, being the vibrant epicenter of Japanese cuisine, is home to countless exceptional sushi restaurants. By highlighting these top establishments, we hope to provide a glimpse into the unparalleled sushi experiences awaiting visitors and locals alike. Each of these establishments has been chosen for their exceptional quality, craftsmanship, and the unforgettable dining experiences they offer. Whether you are a seasoned sushi connoisseur or a curious food enthusiast, these five sushi spots in Tokyo are sure to leave a lasting impression on your taste buds and create memories that will linger long after the meal is over.
Sushi Saito (鮨 さいとう)
Sushi Saito is a highly acclaimed sushi restaurant in Roppongi, Japan. With three Michelin stars, it is known for its carefully prepared sushi showcasing Japanese culinary expertise. Owner chef Takashi Saito, who trained at renowned establishments, creates a warm and inviting atmosphere. The menu features an omakase course of traditional Edomae sushi, skillfully combining simple techniques and delicately flavored ingredients. The rice is seasoned with a fragrant red vinegar from Yokoi Brewery.
Sushi Yuu (鮨由う)
Sushi Yuu is a renowned restaurant in Tokyo that offers a fusion of tradition and innovation in its sushi cuisine. With a cozy and inviting atmosphere, it provides an intimate dining experience. Head chef Jun Ozaki’s creative approach to sushi-making using seasonal ingredients from Toyosu market results in visually stunning and delicious dishes. The restaurant’s signature dish is the Purine Maki made with monkfish liver. Sushi Yuu also offers a curated selection of sake and wine. The restaurant’s name represents its commitment to evolving sushi culture while respecting tradition. To enjoy this unique culinary experience, reservations for the omakase course are recommended.
Sushi Umi (海味)
Sushi Umi is a hidden restaurant in Minami-Aoyama, offering an omakase course with ten appetizers and thirteen nigiri sushi pieces. The chef, Koichi Taira, is from Kagoshima and focuses on using the best seasonal ingredients procured from Toyosu Market and local fishery operations. The restaurant is particularly proud of the quality of their kohada and anago. Reservations are required.
Sushi Namba (鮨なんば)
Sushi Namba is a restaurant located in Tokyo Midtown Hibiya near the Imperial Hotel and Imperial Palace. Chef Hidefumi Namba follows traditional sushi-making techniques, focusing on the temperature of the rice and fish. The omakase course offers a variety of appetizers and fifteen nigiri sushi pieces. Reservations are recommended.
Kiyota is a renowned restaurant located near Ginza with a long history. It reopened in 2001 and specializes in Edomae style sushi, particularly maguro (red tuna) and anago (conger eel) nigiri. The restaurant offers an intimate and serene atmosphere with limited seating. Reservations are required.