Sep 20, '23
Featured in special edition of Luxeat Insider

15 Easy-To-Book Sushi-yas in Tokyo

by Andrew Gyokudari

The last time my friend Aiste asked me to do this exercise was in 2019. COVID has certainly altered the global food scene during the succeeding few years but the sushi industry in Tokyo remained strong with numerous new openings during the pandemic. According to Tabelog, there are over 5,000 sushi restaurants in Tokyo today, a 15% increase since the last time we published this list. The top echelon of that group, purely defined by popularity, have continued to gravitate towards the “membership only” or “introduction only” route. But not to worry, there are at least 15 sushi in Tokyo that are both easy to book (typically within a week) and worth every yen.


Without further ado, here is the list for 2023:


Kiyota is well known as the most expensive sushi restaurant in Tokyo and hence the general demand for seats is far below sushiyas at half the price point. Chef Kimura, who mans the Hanare (the sidecar counter apart from the main counter), is one of the old-school legends and only serves four diners a night. The focus here is ultra high-end ingredients, especially the tuna (Kiyota gets the top catch from Toyosu Market’s tuna monger, Ishiji) and conger eel.

Seatings:         Dinner (6:00pm)
Closed:            Wednesday, Saturday, Sunday, and holidays
Price:               88,000 JPY + 10% service charge
Seats:              4 at the counter
Reservations:  via OMAKASE


Koharu is the second branch by Harutaka (two stars), and Chef Kurita (the long time sous chef at Harutaka) took over the counter in October 2021 during the pandemic. Koharu uses the same top notch ingredients and shari (sushi rice) as Harutaka, but is at a slightly lower price point. Given the ease of booking, this one is a no brainer.

Seatings:         Dinner (5:30pm and 8:30pm)
Closed:            Sunday and holidays
Course:            35,000 JPY
Seats:              8 at the counter
Reservations:  via OMAKASE


This hole in the wall sushiya opened in June of 2022 and has been relatively under the radar since. In the era of high end sushi restaurants starting at north of 30,000 JPY, this one is quite a bargin. Chef Fukushima’s skills shine in many of his dishes and his aging technique is solid. His relative use of fattier fish also stands out.

Seatings:         Lunch (12:00pm and 1:30pm), Dinner (6:00pm onwards)
Closed:            Sunday
Course:            8,000 JPY (lunch), 15,000 JPY (dinner), 19,800 JPY (dinner)
Seats:              8 at the counter
Reservations:  via TableCheck, Ikyu, or by phone


Chef Ichikawa is one of the legendary sushiya Araki’s proteges, and the only one that runs shop in Tokyo. Ichikawa is far from flashy, unlike his peers who spun out of Araki (e.g. Gyoten and Kazui), but sticks to the basics. Chef’s training at Kikunoi (3 star kaiseki) shines in the appetizers and the double servings of toro is an Araki (or rather, old school edomae) signature.

Seatings:         Dinner (6:00pm)
Closed:            Wednesday
Course:           42,000 JPY
Seats:              10 at the counter
Reservations:  via OMAKASE


Chef Yamaguchi was the head chef of both Sushi Wakon’s Tokyo and Kyoto branches before opening his namesake sushiya in June 2020. Even after being awarded a star in 2022, it’s been relatively easy to book this one. The course starts out with a toro uni (tuna and sea urchin) handroll mixed with pickled watermelons and his other signature dishes include hamaguri (orient clam) and kinmedai (golden eye snapper) cured in kelp.

Seatings: Lunch (12:00pm), Dinner (5:30pm and 8:00pm)
Closed: Sunday and holidays
Course: 33,000 JPY
Seats: 13 (9 at the counter, 4 in the private room)
Reservations: via Pocket Conciege or Ikkyu


After a brief internship at Tenzushi, Chef Masuda moved from Kokura to Tokyo and started working at the famed Sukiyabashi Jiro for nine years before opening his namesake sushiya in 2014. After closing his restaurant and moving overseas for a few years, he returned to Tokyo in January 2022. It’s a mystery why it’s possible to grab a seat with relative ease, given that the restaurant was one of the hottest sushiyas before he moved. His steamed abalone with liver sauce remains a fan favorite.

Seatings:         Dinner (5:00pm and 8:00pm)
Closed:            Sunday and holidays
Course:            39,600 JPY
Seats:              14 (8 at the counter, 6 in the private room)
Reservations:  via OMAKASE


Having spent 18 years as the sous chef at Sukiyabashi Jiro Roppingi, Chef Mizukami went independent in 2018.

Seatings:         Lunch (12:00pm), Dinner (6:00pm)
Closed:            Wednesday
Course:            Lunch Nigiri Only (20,000 JPY or 27,000 JPY), Lunch Omakase (28,000 JPY or 37,000 JPY), Dinner Nigiri Only (27,000 JPY), Dinner Omakase (37,000 JPY)
Seats:              8 at the counter
Reservations:  via MyConcierge and through their homepage


It must mean something when the CEO of the top tuna monger visits the shop every other month. The tuna, from YAMAYUKI, s one of the best in Ginza, and the eel (both grilled freshwater eel as an appetizer and two pieces of steamed conger eel for the sushi nigiri, salted and with sweet sauce) is one of their signatures.

Seatings:         Dinner (any time between 6:00pm and 9:00pm)
Closed:            Sunday and holidays
Course:            38,500 JPY + 10% service charge
Seats:              7 at the counter
Reservations:  via Ikkyu


Their signature dishes include the three piece tuna tasting using steaming hot sushi rice, the blackthroat seaperch (nodoguro) rice bowl, and the monkfish liver steamed in sweet sauce (during the winter).

Seatings:         Lunch (11:30am, Saturdays only) and Dinner (5:30pm and 8:00pm)
Closed:            Sunday and Monday
Course:            Lunch (16,500 JPY), Dinner (27,500 JPY)
Seats:              14 (9 at the counter, 5 in the private room)
Reservations:  via Tabelog or OMAKASE or Pocket Concierge


Chef Suzuki spent a decade at various sushi restaurants before joining Sushi Aoki in Ginza. He spent 12 years at Aoki, spending the last three years at the helm of the Nishi Azabu branch, before opening his namesake restaurant in 2015.

Seatings:         Lunch (12:00pm), Dinner (6:00pm onwards)
Closed:            Monday
Course:            40,000 JPY
Seats:              10 at the counter
Reservations:  by phone


Sushi Saito’s branch in Meguro, manned by Saito’s proteges, has the same menu set up as the HQ. It’s probably the hardest to book on this list but is still is relatively easier to book than the HQ, which is pretty much impossible for newcomers.

Seatings:         Lunch (12:00), Dinner (6:00pm and 8:30pm)
Closed:            Wednesday
Course:            Lunch (11,000 JPY or 25,300 JPY), Dinner (25,300 JPY)
Seats:              10 at the counter
Reservations:  via OMAKASE and TABELOG


At a much lower price point than the rest of the group on this list, this one is a great steal. It’s important to note that the one on this list is the Marunouchi Branch, (near Tokyo Station) and not the Main Shop in Tsukiji.

Seatings:         Lunch (12:00pm), Dinner (6:00pm)
Closed:            N/A
Course:            8,800 JPY
Seats:              16 seats (8 at the counter, 8 at the table)
Reservations:  via Tabelog or by phone


Many people know that Chef Hashimoto was Sugita’s right hand man for a decade before going independent. Hashimoto blends traditional edomae sushi dishes with occasional contemporary dishes (blue cheese chawanmushi, anyone?) and non-traditional ingredients. Seats are not always available but if you check online frequently and diligently, it’s not hard to snatch a seat as they release seats in piecemeal.

Seatings:         Dinner (5:30pm and 8:30pm)
Closed:            Tuesday and Wednesday
Course:            33,000 JPY
Seats:              8 at the counter
Reservations:  via OMAKASE

Gems outside of Tokyo – this list was meant to focus on Tokyo sushiyas but I include a few that are just outside of Tokyo but well worth the extra travel.


Chef Hayashinouchi spent nearly a decade at a Japanese restaurant before training at the legendary Sushi Mizutami, becoming the sous chef by the time Mizutani decided to close shop. Very balanced and refined.

Seatings:         Lunch (12:00pm, Saturday/Holidays only), Dinner (5:00pm onwards)
Closed:            Sunday
Course:            Lunch (13,200 JPY), Dinner (24,200 JPY)
Seats:              14 (8 at the counter, 6 in the private room)
Reservations:  via OMAKASE


pound for pound, Inomata serves one of the best nigiri courses in Japan. Marrying top quality ingredients with aging technique, the trek is very worth it.

Seatings:         Lunch (2:00pm), Dinner (5:00pm and 8:00pm)
Closed:            N/A
Course:           41,800 JPY
Seats:              9 at the counter
Reservations:  via OMAKASE 

Andrew Gyokudari is the CEO of Gyokudari Inc., an investment company specializing in the hospitality and technology industries. He is the co-owner of Yoshino New York, GMO OMAKASE, Savoy Pizzeria, Woodstock Japan, Fukujin, Ozaki Yukitaka, Hazuki, Umizaru/Fukuei Suisan and also provides advisory services to various corporations around the world. He is also a brand ambassador for Google Japan (Team Pixel) and is a member of GOURMANDS at Tagpic Inc. Andrew is an avid international diner and is ranked 3rd on the OAD Top 100’s global reviewer list. Andrew started his career as a sushi apprentice and enjoys eating sushi more than 200 times a year.