Six Master Sushi Chefs in Tokyo

Jessica Esa


It goes without saying that sushi is one of the most important aspects of modern Japanese society, praised as one of Japan’s great delicacies - and that sushi chefs are held in tremendously high regard the world over. But what are the absolute best sushi restaurants to visit in Tokyo? Restaurants which will astonish you with their chefs’ artistry and craftsmanship? Here are six Tokyo sushi restaurants which deliver only the very best quality sushi, unparalleled anywhere else in Japan.

Enjoy an Intimate Sushi Experience at Ginza Sushi Aoki

Enjoying a meal in this Michelin star restaurant is enhanced by its intimate setting with just the chef and a handful of diners sat around watching him work. Set down a quiet, leafy lane in Ginza, an understated lantern is the only indication that one of the most famous restaurants in the city hides above. You can choose from lunch or dinner sets at an affordable price point but the magic happens when you order the omakase (chef’s choice). Expertly carved dishes, served at room temperature, await you in a pleasantly relaxed setting. One of the chef’s specialities, the sea urchin is a must-try.

2F, 6-7-4 Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo 

Ginza Sushi Aoki

Have Standing Sushi at Uogashi Nihon-Ichi

While many of the best sushi restaurants in the city offer intimate settings and a small sample menu, traditionally sushi is a quick affair and served standing up. The fast-paced atmosphere at Uogashi suits the hectic Tokyo lifestyle down to the ground so it’s difficult to find this central bar without a queue out the door even into the small hours at 10 pm. Once you enter the restaurant, pick from the menu and watch the expert chefs prepare as many as you like before moving on - the fatty tuna is incredible and well worth waiting for. This is a great spot if you enjoying the city and want to squeeze in some of the best sushi in the city.

25-6, Udagawacho, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo

Uogashi Nihon Ichi

Meet Sushi Master Chef Makoto at Kidoguchi Sushi

This charming restaurant behind the famous Spiral building in Omotesando is a real hidden gem. Set-up by a master chef of fifty years who served in most of the major sushi restaurants in Tokyo before opening his own spot. To claim that this restaurant is one for the connoisseurs would be an understatement, let Makoto decide what to serve and enjoy the flavour sensation. Aside from the exquisite sushi and sashimi, one of the best things on offer at Kidoguchi is the grilled fish which offers a level of dynamism and texture to the fifteen-item chef-set menu.

5-6-3, Minamiaoyama, Minato, Tokyo

Kidoguchi Sushi

See One of Tokyo’s Few Female Sushi Chefs in Action at Sushi Take

The art of sushi has long been dominated by male chefs, with various exclusionary tactics like a difference in hand temperatures being cited as a reason why it should be kept that way. Luckily that hasn’t stopped a handful of women chefs taking the plunge. Takeuchi has made waves since she began her journey; visiting her restaurant, which she opened in 2014, is a joy. She practices a traditional style is particular about where she sources her fish and specialises in shellfish, although you won’t be disappointed with anything you try at Sushi Take. This is also one of the easier specialist sushi restaurants to get a reservation at in Tokyo which is a bonus.

7 Chome-6-5 Ginza, Chuo City, Tokyo

Sushi Take

Enjoy Sushi and a Conversation at Sushi Ya

Sushi appreciation can quite often be a stoic affair, basking in the mastery of the chef and the beauty of the tiny parcel in front of you. However, if you’d rather a more lively yet elegant restaurant where you can communicate with the chef and learn about sushi then Sushi Ya is a perfect choice. Once again you’ll be heading down the side streets of Ginza to find Sushi Ya, now very much a hit thanks to the passion of the chef Takao Ishiyama. He speaks perfect English and loves to share his knowledge and show of his master knife skills to those present in his minimalist eight-seater restaurant. Once again, this is the perfect time to let the chef decide and choose the omakase option. The focus and dedication that Ishiyama puts into every dish will impress again and again.

6-3-17 Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo

Sushi Ya

Embrace the Fusion at Sakai & BAR 4 yon Sakai Roppongi

What makes this sushi restaurant stand out in a sea of Tokyo restaurants is its fusion of sushi and alcohol. This sushi restaurant also doubles up as a bar and a very chic and stylish one at that. Its aesthetic is pure class, and the sushi on offer when you visit is entirely seasonal, so you can trust that it’s fresh. You’ll find Sushi & Bar Yon in Roppongi, one of Tokyo’s most hip and upmarket districts, The interior design blends traditional Japanese (heavy use of wood panelling and tatami mats) with a modern minimalist aesthetic that’s very in fashion. If you want to enjoy top-notch sushi with some quality sake, this is the bar for you. And they also speak English, which is always nice.

106-0032 Tokyo, Minato City, Roppongi, 3 Chome−13−14

Sakai & Bar

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