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Sushi Iwa Mid-August Break

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Hello, I want to thank everyone who posts here, your suggestions have been really valuable as I'm researching a trip to Tokyo in October. I've run into a small reservation conundrum and was hoping to get some feedback. We've asked our hotel to book Sushi Iwa for lunch, but unfortunately they have been unable to reach anyone there. I noticed in the Michelin guide that Sushi Iwa and many of the other Ginza sushi spots are closed Mid-August. Does anyone know how long this break lasts? Our hotel tells me that they have called every day for the last two weeks with no luck, and so they think that Sushi Iwa must be remodeling or closed. Does anyone know if this is true? I'm hesitant to give up on Sushi Iwa but now that it's September and the hotel still can't reach them, I feeling it might be time to move on.

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  1. It should be open by now--when businesses close in mid-August, it's usually for O-bon, and they don't usually close for more than one week. (Your concierge would know that.)

    I checked tabelog. It says this


    Their number has changed, so if you gave the concierge their old number, no one would be answering it. Surprised your concierge didn't check. It's an easy find.

    21 Replies
    1. re: prasantrin

      Thanks for your help, Prasantrin. I had given the concierge the old phone number, so I will write them with the new number. Thanks again!!!

      1. re: takoyaki

        I loovved their old location, I will have to  check that, and the new Sushi Kanesaka that opened on the Hotel Palace (Otemachi).

        1. re: Ninisix

          For those looking for Sushi Iwa, the above number is for their new location. Our concierge reported back to us that their English speaking chef quit when the restaurant moved, so they asked us to pre-select our lunch menu from 4,000yen, 8,000yen, or 18,000yen. With all these changes I hope it's still a worthwhile destination!

          1. re: takoyaki

            Thank-you for the info.
            This master  was a good chef, his work on fish(=neta) was really better than Sushi Mao(this year), Sushi Kanesaka (4years ago) ! That sounds not good !! Hum..

            1. re: Ninisix

              Finally, after 3 weeks, i have had lunch recently at the new location of sushi Iwa;.. my curiosity ended up as a pleasant surprise... the master Iwa was there !! He just got independant from the group Kanesaka (now as big as Kyubei), and opened his tiny stall in this old Koju location in the 8th district of Ginza.. and with all the famous sushi-yasan all around, sushi Kanesaka, sushi Kozasa, sushi Mizutani ... he has a challenging set at 4500yens for lunch. Challenging for me too ... perhaps his nigiris are too classic, or perhaps the shari(rice) is too soft... Shari(rice) trend is more firm rice. That said, soft rice can have pronounced taste for neta(=fish). His special pieces are the classic 'kohada', 'magurozuke(fresh maguro)', 'karei kombushime', ..

              1. re: Ninisix

                Ninisix, thanks for your update. I'm happy to hear that Iwa did not leave when they moved to the new location. I'm looking forward to trying his lunch set, we have a reservation for the 8,000 yen lunch in mid-October so will report back after that.

                1. re: takoyaki

                  Takoyaki how was the 8000 yen lunch at Sushi Iwa?Did the chef speak any English ?

                  1. re: Hanare

                    Hanare, I've been meaning to give an update, so thanks for your question. We had a very lovely lunch at Sushi Iwa, master Iwa served us and he was very friendly and spoke a little English. He was able to tell us most of the fish as he served it to us, and for the few that he didn't know he would show us the page for each fish in an English language book about sushi. There was also a young woman serving drinks and helping out on the other side of the counter and she spoke some very basic English as well. I would recommend having your hotel call ahead of time to arrange the reservation and the set menu, but after that we got by just fine. As for the lunch, we were served the following all nigiri style (and since this was from memory it wasn't exactly in this order): swordfish, red snapper, maguro, chu-toro, squid, giant clam, white shrimp, bonito, horse mackerel, sea eel, gizzard shad (kohada), salmon roe (ikura), amber jack, and tuna maki rolls. We started the meal off with a seaweed salad and finished with a miso soup and green tea. We've eaten a lot of sushi in New York and San Francisco, but this was our first time in Tokyo and the difference in quality was absolutely mind blowing! Also the experience of sitting at the small bar (maybe 6 chairs total) and watching master Iwa at work was a pleasure. I think the 8,000 Yen menu is also an incredible value, I highly recommend it.

                    1. re: takoyaki

                      Thanks Takoyaki.We had intended to go to Sushi Saito in December but the hotel concierge has told me that they have not even been able to get through over the last 4 days!After hearing from you we will switch to Iwa and try to secure a reservation there!

                      1. re: Hanare

                        I hope you will enjoy it as much as I did!

                2. re: Ninisix

                  I have reservations at Sushi Iwa next week for lunch with my family and I'm looking forward to it! I had my reliable hotel make the reservations. I just want to make sure I know where it is located. Using Tabelog, I think I have the correct location, but my Japanese is not good. Could the readers verify if the location below on Google street view is correct? Thank you very much in advance. Dale


                  1. re: angler

                    The address of sushi Iwa is Ginza 8-5-25, it seems to not correspond to your google map link.
                    The simplest itinerary is to take the street between the Hermes Bldg and Sony Bldg, go straight until you reach the Dupont shop, sushi Iwa will be next to a florist, here a photo of the entrance :

                    1. re: Ninisix

                      Thank you Ninisix! Your picture helps a lot. Actually, if you look at the street view on my link, the entrance photo is on the left side. The security door is closed on Google Street view. Dale

                      1. re: Ninisix

                        Hi ninisix, just want to let you know that i finally tried sushi iwa - but in their new shop in Hong Kong, and it's really good and authentic. In fact, i think it's the best sushi in HK.

                        Just thought I'd let you know, since i first heard of this place from you :)

                        1. re: hb1004

                          Oh thank you, I hope to eat diner again this month, and I am glad to hear about he's opened a sushi-yasan in HongKong..

                          1. re: Ninisix

                            hi ninisix,I will be in tokyo early july.tried to booked at jiro ginza and saito but no luck. and after reading your name. you seems to be a sushI hero. well I came out that sushi iwa or taichi is best to go. as I really confused where to eat sushi for first time. are these two good for first timer? btw whats the difference berween sushI iwa and taichi? can you have the dinner menu in sushi iwa at lunch time? its cheaper isnt it? if its cheaper on lunch time to have the dinner menu is good right? Is there any different to eat at lunch or dinner time? thank you nissix.

                            1. re: senvie84

                              I haven't been to Sushi Taichi but I did get a chance to go to Sushi Iwa for dinner on my trip there this past Christmas. It was an incredible meal and honestly the best sushi meal I have ever had. Go there if you get a chance! Definitely ok for a first timer - the chef can speak english very well too (he is younger and went to school for a short time in the US).

                              My review of Sushi Iwa is here: http://www.lespetiteschoses.ca/blog/s...

                              1. re: kelvenng

                                hi kelven, yes thank you I booked in already for lunch early next month. going to get the 18 nigiris only lunch set. cant wait. I also going to try harutaka... thank you though for your opinions!

                                1. re: kelvenng

                                  I agree with all above about Iwa. Our meal was great last summer, and we will return there later this summer. I could see doing this annually. I made reservations myself by phone three days ago with my Nihongo, and it was fine, even though there was no one there who spoke English at the time.

                                  I'll note an amusing observation. There are numerous blogs about Iwa, and most seem to think that the very young chef pictured on Kelven's blog is Iwa. He isn't. Iwa-san himself can be seen, pictured in Robbie Swinnerton's blog.

                                  When we lunched there last summer, we spoke with both chefs, the younger one and Iwa, but we weren't forward enough to ask who was who! I was wondering but I figured it was better to be polite. and be quiet, than to know for sure. The young chef did speak English, because he went to Middle School about 5 miles from where we live in the Bay Area of California. I assumed he was Iwa at the time. I was wrong. Indeed, the elder chef (who still looks like a youngster compared to many) was Iwa.

                                  We spoke with the younger chef, in 3/4 Japanese, 1/4 English for a long time during and after lunch. When we left, the four of us were walking out north toward the shopping district of Ginza, and even a half block away, he stood bowing toward us. We were embarrassed beyond our beliefs, because we didn't acknowledge his bowing until we were at the intersection and my young daughter loudly whispered that he was still bowing...

                                  1. re: angler

                                    Wow, I had no idea! That is embarrassing... He was so good though that I thought he was the head chef.

                                    1. re: kelvenng

                                      Yeah, I have a private foodie blog for my family and all through it, I say the "younger" one is Iwa. They're both superb.