Food & Drink
Best Sushi Bars in Tokyo
Whether you’re a seasoned connoisseur of the over twenty types of regional sushi, or whether you just want to enjoy vinegary fish and rice in the sushi capital of the world, Tokyo contains hundreds, perhaps even thousands of sushi shops.
With sushi bars catering to every taste, aesthetic, and budget, if you love sushi, Tokyo will be your paradise. It is nearly impossible to cherry-pick eight out of all the possibilities. Thus get your Tokyo hotel reservation done, and check out some of the best bars that promise to give you a taste of the incredible variety available:
1. Kyubei – No list of sushi bars would be complete without mentioning Kyubei, located at 8-7-6 Ginza at the heart of Tokyo. Founded in 1936, the brilliant chefs at Kyubei invented the gunkan-maki style of sushi, which involves surrounding soft ingredients such as roe, oysters, or quail eggs with rice and nori.
Image by Kyubei
At Kyubei, there are no walls between you and your chef, allowing you to admire his expert knifework as he prepares your food. Try the hotategai (scallop), prepared with just a dash of lime, or order anago-based sushi using two different types of saltwater eel. Prices are likely to be high, but it’s definitely worth it.
2. Midori-zushi – The financial opposite of Kyubei, Midori-zushi is renowned by budget travelers for being the best inexpensive sushi spot in Tokyo. At 1-12-3 Dogenzaka in the trendy Shibuya district, Midori-zushi serves a mean toro (fatty tuna) and shake (salmon) sashimi, perfectly fresh, juicy, but not too strong.
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Service is very fast and friendly, and you can sit at the counter and watch your chef prepare your sushi while you wait. Definitely a good choice for anyone who wants to save money without sacrificing quality. A well-written English menu is a plus for any would-be traveler. Midorizushi is also located in the central Ginza district at Korido Street 7-108.
3. Hina Sushi – Are you the type of person who orders two full rolls of makizushi, finishes them all in 30 minutes, and then wonders how you managed to spend fifty dollars on a dinner that only just barely filled you up? If so, Hina Sushi could be your godsend.
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Arguably the best “all-you-can-eat” sushi place in the city, Hina is located in a number of places including Ginza and Roppongi. The most popular location is at the Denki Building at 6-1-20 Roppongi. Make sure you eat fast, because there is a time limit!
4. Sushi Mizutani – One of the most beautiful sushi experiences you can have, the decor at Sushi Mizutani is exquisite. As one of the highest-rated sushi restaurants in the city, Sushi Mizutani offers the perfect blend of service, atmosphere, and food quality. The head chef and owner greets diners at the door with a big smile and a bow.
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It appears at first glance to be a hole in the wall sort of place in the basement of a tiny building at Ginza 8-2-10. The simple, humble aesthetic provides an excellent counterpoint to some of the best sushi you’ll ever experience. The tamago (egg) sushi is airy, light and fluffy, and the awabi liver (abalone), normally too strong for most western palates, is pleasantly earthy and rich. Prices are mid-range to high, depending on what you order.
The last two places are both located at the Tsukiji Fish Market. The sushi restaurants around this area are world-renowned, as the food is often prepared from fish that were literally just caught minutes or hours prior. Some of the freshest sushi in the world can be found here. Prices are generally high, lines can be long, but it is definitely worth the hype.
5. Sushi Dai – One of the more exclusive, traditional restaurants in the area, located at #6 Tsukiji Shijo 5-2-1 Tsukiji, Sushi Dai is known worldwide for its simple, elegant preparations that bring out the essence of each fish used.
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Your best bet is to order a “seto” which is a sort of sampler including tuna, shrimp, eel, trout, mackerel, and others, plus six rolls of the special of the day. Only do this if you’ve got something else to do or companions to talk to, as wait times can be up to an hour!
6. Tsukiji Sushi-sei – While Sushi-sei isn’t exactly “fine sushi,” it is a large part of the typical Japanese sushi experience. As the most popular sushi restaurant in Japan, Tsukiji Sushi-sei is where the locals go to get their sushi fix.
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If you’re interested in studying the difference between typical Americanized sushi and real Japanese styles for the average person, visit the Tsukiji Sushi-sei in the market at 4-13-9 Tsukiji.