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May 1, 2013 08:23 PM

5 days in Tokyo - Want to eat lots of sushi!

We're going to be in Tokyo for 5 days in two weeks & want to eat as much sushi as possible. I'm not a big fan of tempura & don't eat wheat, so that rules out soba & other noodle restaurants.

I've been reading a lot of posts on the site, and am now really confused - it seems like apart from the really popular restaurants (Jiro, Sushi Dai, etc.), hardly anyone mentions the same restaurant twice. Our budget for meals is anything in the 10,000 yen per person range, unless it is really spectacular (have been trying to get into Jiro). I started trying to make reservations more than a month ago, and have been largely unsuccessful. Can anyone recommend good places to go where we can get a reservation with two weeks notice? I'm looking for suggestions for the best price-value ratio!

This is what I have so far:

Daiwa - we plan to be there right at 5:30am, will there be much of a wait?
Hirosaku (we have a reservation yay!)
Sushi Saito (still waiting to hear back)
Jiro (tried Visa concierge, hotel concierge, & Japanese friend - no luck so far)

We also plan on going to the department stores and trying some lower-end sushi, would welcome suggestions of what the best department store to visit would be?

Also read that Uogashi would be a good bet for cheap sushi?

Thanks in advance for your help =)

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  1. Sushi Sukiyabashi Jiro is at 31500yens(with tax), but certainly is difficult to book ! I have tried to reach them this week also with no success.. affordable sushi, you will have the lunch at sushi taichi at 2520.-yens on week days, sushi sasaki chirashi at 1800.-yens, sushi sei honten at lunch from 2500yens, sushi Bentenyama from 2100.-yens, 2940.-yens at lunch, sushi Yajima at lunch from 2000yens... and many others before trying the department stores. For diner, i highly recommend you sushi Uoshin in higashi ikebukuro(at 4800yens) and sushi Sagane (at 8100.-yens), here the links of all the sushi-yasan mentioned :

    sushi Taichi -Ginza

    sushi Sasaki -Ginza

    sushi Sei Honten -Tsukiji

    sushi Bentenyama Miyako -Asakusa

    sushi Yajima -Shibuya

    Sushi Uoshin -Higashi Ikebukuro

    Sushi Sagane -Nishi Shinjuku

    7 Replies
    1. re: Ninisix

      I'm also going to be in Tokyo in about 3 weeks. Of the places you listed (thanks btw) would all of them require reservations? I am still working on my itinerary in Tokyo so prefer not to commit to any restaurants just yet. So basically looking to either be able to make reservations a few days before or be able to show up without a reservation.

      1. re: greendx

        It is always better to call, even before leaving on the morning. At the last minute, they might not have all the choice to offer you ! Print the maps also, some sushi yasan, like sushi Taichi, sushi Sasaki or sushi Yajima are difficult to find.

        1. re: Ninisix

          Thanks Ninisix. I'll ask my hotel's concierge to try to make reservations for me in the mornings. I will have gps/google maps access on my mobile phone. This is how I was able to get around Tokyo last time I was there.

          One quick question. Are there Sushi restaurants in Tokyo that will carry multiple types of Uni. I've only been able to find one restaurant like that in the US and they were out of 2 of the 3 types of uni that they carry the day I was there.

          1. re: greendx

            In fact, spring that is the best season to enjoy several varieties of sea urchin. Sushi Sasaki usually proposes two varieties. At lunch, the first omakase is at 5000yens and second at 7000yens. But you will have to include supplement to taste both, ask your hotel to confirm by phone the price ! Be careful, it is a high end sushi, at diner, prices will be more than 20000yens..

      2. re: Ninisix

        Thanks a lot for the prompt & informative reply! I don't read or speak any Japanese so I have problems deciphering tabelog =/ I did see that someone posted a thread on how to read tabelog, but it still requires some knowledge of the language. Since I can't make it to all of the restaurants you listed, are there one or two that you would pick as the best quality/value for dinner (again around the 10,000 yen range)?
        Thanks again =)

        1. re: rainycitygirl

          Sushi Sagane is, for a first sushi omakase at night, a good try, the dinner chef recommendation menu is at 8100yens (tax included). Its counter is very small, but you will be able to see the chef at work. The chef seems to not be able to speak English.. very friendly though !

        2. re: Ninisix

          Ninisix, I am reminded that I owe you a thanks for Yajima. I visited last year and it was a pleasant change of scenery (and price) from the Ginza/Roppongi sushi-yas, so much so that I'll be returning very soon. Yajima-san and his wife were lovely, both spoke a little English, and they're quite well traveled. The pace was a little unnerving at first - he works really fast, like Jiro-fast, and encourages drinking at the same pace, so I was blasted by the end of lunch, but it's a lot of fun. It's also incredible value, 3,200 yens for the lunch nigiri set. This time I hope to visit for dinner :)

        3. Instead of going to Daiwa, I would recommend going to sushi Dai, but not the one inside the market, the one located at Tsukiji 6-13-3 outside of the market. Usually hardly any wait to get in, and frequented by locals instead of hordes of tourists. I think the quality will also be (marginally) better than Daiwa. No idea if it opens that early though.

          I greatly enjoy high-end sushi, but whenever I'm in Tokyo, I also look forward to a visit to one of the many branches of Sushi Zanmai to gorge myself on "cheap" sushi too. The quality to price ratio is great, you can eat a LOT of nigiri and have a couple of beers for around ¥4000 or less. It's nice to be able to pig out with abandon without risking a serious shock when getting the bill.

          If I recall correctly I've been to a couple of Uogashi Nihonichi locations (one in Shibuya and one in Shinjuku) - they are "standing" sushi bars. Good idea for busy business people on their lunch break, but personally I like to sit down to enjoy my meals when I'm on vacation. The quality was pretty good for low-price sushi.

          14 Replies
          1. re: od_sf

            Thanks for the recommendations! I will definitely check out the sushi Dai you mentioned - do you happen to have any pictures of what the exterior looks like so that I don't walk right by?

            1. re: rainycitygirl

              You can go to google maps, enter "Tsukiji 6-13-3 tokyo jp" in the search field, then click on the "A" in the map, then select "street view" to see what the building looks like. This is a good tool to find any restaurant, by the way. I've attached a screenshot of the result to this post.

            2. re: od_sf

              We went to Sushi Zanmai and I must say, it's pretty damn good budget sushi! It's a chain restaurant and although the quality is probably not as good as the ones you get at Sushi Dai or some higher end sushi places, it's still significantly better than the ones we have in Canada! For a really good price too! Definitely recommend this place as well. It's a la carte and most pieces are like under $2 CDN anyways, the most expensive I remember being the high quality sea eel for 4000 yen and it was REALLY good.

              I would recommend sushi Dai as well but if you're going to the one in the market, go before 5am for sure or expect a 2 hr wait. i've attached some pictures of the fish I had there. Really fresh and for 3900 yen for the 11 nigiri omakase, price and value can't be beat!

              --Skinnychopsticks from

              1. re: Skinnychopsticks

                Hey, there sure are a lot of links to skinnychopsticks from Chowhound recently - it must be a happening website!

                Also lots and lots of news about Sushi Dai and Guilo Guilo - they must be popular places!

                1. re: Robb S

                  Sushi Dai and Guilo Guilo? Never heard of them. Are these places something only "insiders" know about?

                  1. re: Uncle Yabai

                    Sushi Dai is extremely popular among tourists. We wouldn't say it's something only "insiders" know. In fact, it's mentioned a lot on chowhound and several articles or blogs have talked about it as well.

                    As for Giro Giro (guilo guilo is the name of their branch in Paris, France), I would consider them more of something only "insiders" would know since it's not as well known as Sushi Dai. I went there when I was in Kyoto and they have really good modern Kaiseki food. You get like a 10 course set meal for 3680 yen which in our opinion is a pretty sweet deal! They use only the freshest ingredients that are in season and they prepare them in a way that is meant to enhance their natural flavour all while balancing color and texture of the dish. I've attached a few photos of some of the dishes I've had there. You should check it out!

                    -- Skinnychopsticks from

                    1. re: Skinnychopsticks

                      Hello "Skinny Chopsticks" - thank you for sending me an anonymous email.

                      If you're going to address me by name, maybe you could have the courtesy of using your own name instead of hiding behind a pseudonym and temporary email address.

                2. re: Skinnychopsticks

                  Sea eel for 4,000 yen in a cheap sushi place. Wow, must be some eel. I must go and check this place out.

                  1. re: Asomaniac

                    Oops! Correction, it's 400 yen for the sea eel, not 4000 yen. Sorry, guess the conversion still throws us off a little ;)

                    1. re: Asomaniac

                      Come on now Uncle Yabai and Asomaniac, play nice.

                      1. re: od_sf

                        Sorry, but when some one seems to be advertising a product on Chowhound it just might be a bit difficult to resist answering with a snarky response. I doubt that U.Y. nor Aso would disagree.

                        1. re: edozanmai

                          I know what you mean, but I don't think they were trying to advertise anything (other than their personal, not-for-profit food blog) and were genuinely trying to help out, even if the suggestions were a bit daft.

                          1. re: od_sf

                            Thank you od_sf. We apologize if we come off as "promotional" but we do not get paid for doing any of these reviews. In fact, we were just super excited about sharing our experiences at these restaurants that this post just so happened to be talking about. We would've appreciated more insights on these restaurants before going on our trip to Japan and we genuinely just want to help others get more info before visiting. Perhaps we'll add a disclaimer next time ;)

                            1. re: Skinnychopsticks

                              That's what I figured Skinnychopsticks. But please also realize that your suggestions are a bit on the "obvious" side for lack of better word. Places like Sushi Dai have been discussed ad nauseam on here.

                3. Regarding Tsukiji market, Daiwa only gets a line once Dai's line gets too long (2 hours). We went to both on a recent trip, Dai was better than Daiwa. I would get to Dai at 4:50AM. We got there at 5:30AM midweek and waited 40 minutes. Within an hour the wait looked to be 2 -3 hours and then a line began developing outside Daiwa. I ate a la carte at Dai (recommended) and got about 18 pieces for $80. The set menus were ~$40 and $27. Dai opens at 5AM.

                  Try going to Jiro or Saito for lunch. We went to Jiro for lunch and there were a few empty seats at the 1PM seating. Keep calling back. A few chefs regarded Saito as the best, but we couldn't get 2 people in at lunch. We also went to Sawada, easily better than Jiro (the meal is paced too fast, couldn't even finish my beer). Jiro and Sawada were about $300pp out the door.

                  The department stores were cool, but the food quality took a bit of a dive for me. We went to Isetan in Shinjuku.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: albatruffles

                    It's good to know that there might still be hope for Jiro! After having three different people call for us, we asked our hotel concierge to call again and ask to see if we could get on a wait list, or if there would be a chance of a cancellation, and they were told by Jiro's staff that no one ever cancels!

                    Thanks for the advice, hopefully we get lucky =)

                  2. you probably already know this, but hirosaku is not a sushi place. it is kaiseki with some outstanding soba. lunch can be pretty cheap under 3k yen, but dinner is pretty expensive >30k.