Tokyo is famous for a lot of things – business, technology, entertainment, and food. But when you are in Japan, specifically in Tokyo, you cannot (or rather should not) miss eating sushi. It is probably the most famous dish in Tokyo and a lot of people will tell you that you have never experienced Tokyo if you havent even eaten in one of its sushi restaurants.
Tokyo has around 5,000 sushi restaurants. Needless to say, it is the sushi capital of the world. It has thousands of different kinds of sushi and a lot of different kinds of sushi chefs. Here is a guide in helping you choose among the thousands of them.
The Different kinds of Sushi Restaurants
There are around four types of sushi restaurants differing in the kind of service they give. Knowing these four can help you narrow down the places you want to go to.
Just to add a snippet of information, sushi was originally a snack or a finger food. It was sold in streets where people just go to a stall and buy some. They did not use chopsticks, nor did they have any sauce to dunk their sushi in. If you find yourself eating sushi with your bare hands, do not worry about offending anyone because that is how sushi was originally eaten anyway.
Based on its name, to-go shops are small stores you pass by in malls, department stores, or even train stations. If you are trying to catch a train or looking for something to nibble on while going around a mall, you can purchase sushi from here. Famous to-go sushi places are Hama, Kyo Taru and Kozo Sushi.
Conveyor Belt Restaurants or Kaiten Zushi
You have probably seen a conveyor belt somewhere – a picture, a movie, or a show. Conveyor belt shops used to just sell sushi, but nowadays they sell even rice meals. The usual set up for a conveyor belt restaurant is a square kitchen surrounded by a table and a conveyor belt. You can see from where you are sitting how they create and prepare the sushi you will be eating.
The tip here is to be conscious of how much the sushi you will be getting costs. You might get too excited (and thats okay) and get anything. Just expect to spend around 1,000-3,000 Japanese Yen.
There are more modern Kaiten Zushi places in Tokyo today and instead of a conveyor belt, they have vehicles transport your food. There will just be a railing where your food will pass delivered by a train/car/ship.
Family-run or Single Restaurants
– Family-run restaurants are small-scale restaurants. Usually, the crowd here are local Japanese and not so much of tourists. They have different kinds of sushi, but they offer rice meals and budget meals as well. They are actually treated as bars rather than restaurants so if you want to get a feel of a local meal in Tokyo, this is the best kind of sushi place for you.
Fine Dining Restaurants
Making sushi has become an art and a craft in Japan. There has been an increase in the number of gourmet sushi places where different kinds of chefs master the art of sushi-making. Definitely, these restaurants will be pricey, but they offer the most extraordinary and intricate sushi in the whole of Tokyo. Aside from sushi, they usually offer selected types of wine to complement your meal.
In picking a high-end sushi place, it is best to do your own research because different places have different atmospheres and sushi expertise. The Michelin list is a good place to start.
They say travel can broaden the mind and this is certainly true of Japan. This is an inspiring cpuntry full of wonderful people, scenery and ecperiences. Eating sushi in Tokyo is only a small part of the experience. Get out and explore the other cultural delights of this wonderful country.