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Apr 1, 2012 10:02 AM

Tokyo - last min planning

Just today finalized a trip to Tokyo next week (ack - so last min!), and I now have to scramble to put together our eating itinerary. This is very exciting. But the lack of research time makes me anxious! I'm sure I'll post again later with more questions, but for now I'd like to ask about the best no reservations sushi. The boyfriends birthday is while we'll be in Japan so in an ideal situation we'd splurge on this meal.

From reading this board the last 24 hrs, and other research I would love to try a place like Sushi Kanesaka or Sawada, but know that there is no possibility of getting a reservation this late. So, where is the best place to try to go for sushi next week with no reservations? Willing to spend up to 20,000 JPY (for both).

We are staying in Ginza, but as I love mass-transit, willing to travel to eat. Neither of us speak japanese


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  1. Kyubei in Ginza is big enough that you might be able to get a last-minute reservation.

    1. Kyubei (in Ginza) is a good idea. But there're many others that might be able to accept a reservation just a week early.

      Kanesaka is quite easy to book. Even Sushi Saito, for lunch, if you're lucky, might work too. I was able to reserve both Saito and Mizutani about a week early, for lunch, once, so I recommend calling your hotel concierge and asking for their help. Just give them a list of the places you want to go and let them try it.

      15 Replies
      1. re: babreu

        thanks for the quick response. Will try this route with the hotel concierge

        will the language barrier be a *huge* problem at any of these? (we have no allergies or dietary restrictions or anything of that sort to communicate)

        and i will likely post more with follow up questions once i've done a bit more research for other eating options

        1. re: miss_anthrope

          I would strongly recommend going to a sushi shop where someone (preferably the chef) speaks English - the back and forth conversation with the chef is a big part of the experience at a sushi counter.

          1. re: miss_anthrope

            Language barrier is not a problem. Another recommendation if want to chat: Sushi Yoshitake. The new 3 Michelin stars. The itamae speaks fluent english, according to their site.

            1. re: miss_anthrope

              Kanesaka-San speaks English. Ask your hotel concierge if you can be seated in his section.

            2. re: babreu

              You could try Sushi Bar Yasuda. It's not in the same league as Kanesaka or Saito, but the sushi chef (who used to be co-owner/chef at Yasuda in NYC) speaks English quite well. You do need to make reservations, but they're very easy to come by at the moment.

              1. re: prasantrin

                Small and intimate counter will be in my opinion more easy to encounter with the chef, for exemple Sushi Iwa of the Kanesaka-San group in Ginza.. After that, Araki-San is the one who speaks the most, and loved his talks in fact ! He stayed in his 20s in Australia, and last rumors are saying that he will open a sushi-yasan in London (invited by J.Robuchon?) where is daughter is staying right now.. but the counter is bigger, 9 seats. Lunch omakase is at 21,000.-yens

                1. re: Ninisix

                  Araki in London? Seems like many japanese chefs are becoming entrepreneurs these days... Ryugin just opened a second restaurant in HK, Kikunoi will open a branch in London and, iirc, Saito trained the staff at a hotel in Monaco.

                  1. re: babreu

                    Rumors is that Sushi Yoshitake will soon open one in Hong Kong too. And of course, Sushi Kanesaka, Ippudo Ramen, Jumbo Yakiniku and Yakitori Shirokane Toritama have all opened up branches in Singapore for the last two years.

                    1. re: babreu

                      And Kanesaka-San opened a second one in Singapore.. 

                      1. re: Ninisix

                        kanesaka-san was actually here in sg a few days ago (presumably for his restaurants). he was asking when i'd be returning to sg, and told me that he was on an earlier flight bound for sg on the same day i was returning. no idea if he's still in sg though.

                    2. re: Ninisix

                      i totally agree with Ninisix about the small-and-intimate counter bit. My partner and I were the earliest at Sushi Taichi (it was a rainy day; the shop was not exactly the easiest thing to find); consequently, we had the itamae all to ourselves for the better part of our meal. Even with my limited and "somewhat-broken" Japanese, we still managed to have an interesting conversation.

                      1. re: akated

                        Thank-you, for your reference to Sushi Taichi. Yesterday was kind of moon walking with all the things flying.. Hope you have had lunch..Did you enjoy it ?

                        1. re: Ninisix

                          yes i did very much! i liked the shari. quite different from others that i've tried. i also liked his preparation of aji (then again, i *love* aji).chef taichi was also very chatty, which helped quite a bit for we were the only customers in the shop for 45 minutes!

                    3. re: prasantrin

                      thanks for this suggestion. I'm a New Yorker, and for no apparent reason have never been to Yasuda here in the city. this might be a good option.

                      edited: i've sent 4 or 5 of these options to our hotel concierge and said go. i'll post again with a report

                      Another question:
                      Fuku vs. Bird Land? I'm leaning towards Fuku for some reason, but could easily be swayed. Are reservations required at Fuku? it seems that reservations are a must for Bird Land.

                      1. re: miss_anthrope

                        He'd definitely love to have you there. It's a small shop--maybe 9 or 10 counter seats and a couple of tables. And it's not very well known at the moment, so it's not very busy (when I was there, I was the only party for about 45 minutes, and then 1 party of two came. We were the only guests for the night, he said). You can book online, too (there's an option for English for the website).