If you’re into sushi, Japan would obviously be the place to go. However, Japan literally has thousands of sushi restaurants, all claiming to have the best, most delectable pieces. In fact, there are over 30 Michelin-starred sushi joints just in Tokyo! With so many options, it could be overwhelming to decide where you want to go.
While high-end sushi restaurants sound enticing, you actually don’t need to break the bank to enjoy some of the highest-quality sushi and sashimi in the market. Read on for a thorough list of the best sushi places in Japan, with options for every budget.
10 Sushidokoro Sho (Tokyo)
An important aspect of sushi is the freshness of ingredients. After all, raw fish is only safe (and delicious) to eat when it’s as fresh as possible. The chefs at Sushidokoro Sho source their fish from the famous Tsukiji Market, where fish are sold almost as soon as they’re plucked from the ocean. Fresh fish coupled with the beloved traditional techniques for Edomae zushi makes the restaurant a smash hit for their sushi, and the tranquil atmosphere only adds to the authenticity.
The chef recommends the 10 Omakase Nigiri, which is a delightful way to sample a wide variety of different ingredients in one sushi dish. Furthermore, at an average of 9,000 yen (about $85), this joint is relatively affordable, too!
9 Nishiazabu Sushi Shin (Tokyo)
Although the prices for this restaurant seems less affordable, it’s actually on the lower end for Michelin-starred establishments. In addition to offering some of the world’s freshest, most succulent sushi and sashimi, this high-end restaurant is distinguished from the rest for its relatively relaxed atmosphere and thorough acceptance of foreigners.
In fact, the eatery is staffed with English-speaking servers who guide guests through the process, explaining important customs and tricks to make the sushi even more enjoyable. The most recommended is the 20-piece omakase, which displays all of the unique ingredients offered as a sample dish. Favorites include scallop sashimi, snow crab with vinegar, and shirako (fish sperm)!
8 Musashi Sushi (Kyoto)
If you’re in a hurry or have a tight budget, head over to Musashi Sushi in Kyoto! Even though their sushi only costs 140 yen ($1.30) per plate, the quality is unmistakable. The sushi is served on a conveyor belt system for fast access to tons of food. A specialty item not found at other sushi restaurants is raw horse meat and mane!
Apparently, it has similar flavors to lean beef and is quite popular with the customers. Asides from specialties, Musashi Sushi offers sushi staples such as salmon rolls, yellowtail, eel, octopus, and tuna. The quality is simply divine considering the price, just make sure to grab the plates that the chefs just put out!
7 Sushi Masuda (Tokyo)
Nine years of sushi training earned the sushi chef (and owner) of Sushi Masuda two Michelin stars. Not only is he an expert at choosing and preparing fresh ingredients, but the famous chef also adds his own twists to make his sushi absolutely delectable. For instance, he mixes dried rice into regular rice during cooking to create a unique, firm texture that compliments the fattiness of tuna perfectly.
This high-end restaurant’s sushi bar only seats six, making it pretty tough to score a reservation. If you’re lucky enough to get a spot, you’ll be offered delicacies such as shirako with white truffles, sayori (needlefish), hirame (flounder), and surume ika (Pacific squid).
6 Sushito (Tokyo)
Although Sushito is subtly located in the backstreets of a busy sector, it is by far one of the best affordable sushi joints in Tokyo. In fact, the average price for their lunches is just 5000 yen ($47) for the same quality of sushi as higher-end restaurants!
In addition to sushi staples, the restaurant provides quite a few specialty dishes that are very tasty. One of the most popular is charcoal-grilled fatty tuna instead of the more common raw variety. Another is an intriguing mix of salmon roe, rice, and uni mixed into a crab shell. Guests love to complement unique dishes with fresh sake and champagne!
5 Sushitei Hikarimachi (Hiroshima)
Sushitei Hikarimachi is a great restaurant if you want fresh, tasty sushi at a more affordable price. Not only do the staff members speak proficient English, but they’re very warm and accepting of foreigners. Some favorites from this restaurant include their salmon and tuna sashimi, vegetable tempura, and hot sake. Furthermore, they have special off-the-menu secret items available upon request!
Items include cheese tempura, mushroom tempura, and cold sake. With great food, amazing service, and affordability, there’s little not to like about Sushitei Hikarimachi. The only problem might be that they’re hugely popular and, subsequently, very busy.
4 Sushi Takehan Wakatsuki (Tokyo)
Sushi Takehan Wakatsuki is another restaurant that sources its seafood from the infamous Tsukiji Market. Different seasons bring different ingredients, but every last fish is as fresh as you can get! This restaurant is in the middle of the pack in terms of affordability, but the quality and taste are just as great as the high-end sushi bars.
Their specialties include a broiled marbled eel sushi drizzled in abalone and liver sauce, brought to the table almost directly from the Sea of Japan. Other morsels include bonito sashimi as well as crab with uni. The amazing food is coupled with a small, cozy atmosphere and friendly service.
3 Genrokuzushi Sennichimae (Osaka)
Up next, we have another high-quality eatery for those with a strong sushi craving but a tighter budget. Genrokuzushi Sennichimae is another sushi conveyor belt restaurant, with the chefs in the middle constantly replenishing dishes for you to select. For just 135 yen ($1.27), you can have any dish that you desire. The fish is exceptionally fresh and the taste is authentic, although the restaurant isn’t like the quaint, small establishments managed by one chef.
Guests recommend trying the torched prawn topped with Mentaiko Mayo as well as the tuna belly. Green tea is readily available through request and pairs very well with the offered sushi. Overall, it’s a great place for cheap yet delicious sushi!
2 Chojiro (Kyoto)
Chojiro is unique in that it perfectly blends 21st-century technology with the ancient art of sushi making for a wonderful and efficient experience. IPads are available at every seat with details about every single roll of sushi available and photos of every dish. Guests can easily learn about how the rolls are made and order with a few taps of their fingers. The ingredients are extremely fresh and affordable at the same time.
Guests recommend trying various sashimis as well as tuna rolls, as they contain delectable flavors unique to Kyoto. The only downside may be that the restaurant tends to get extremely busy, especially at night, making it quite difficult to reserve a table.
1 Hakodate Morning Market
Although sushi sounds like it should come from a sushi bar-restaurant, the truth is that great sushi can also come straight from the market! Hakodate Market is one of many across Japan that allows visitors to purchase servings of all kinds of seafood in their freshest state. Most of the time, the portion you’re buying was likely still alive just minutes ago!
Furthermore, it’s usually extremely affordable to purchase and consume sushi in this manner as opposed to restaurants, and you get to see the root of where sushi comes from. Guests can browse the market and collect various pieces of rolls and sashimi until they have a full bowl, and then sit down at provided tables within the market to feast.