Updated: April 22, 2019
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Couldn't Reserve at Kyubey? Try These Fantastic Sushi Shops Instead

Tokyo

Kyubey is notoriously difficult to get a reservation at due to its storied history and excellent sushi. However, this is Tokyo! There are so many fantastic alternatives that will give you an equally amazing sushi experience. Here is a quick list of 5 alternatives.

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Shimbashi Shimizu [Shimbashi]

Why choose Shimizu?

The chef here even turned down the opportunity to gain Michelin stars for his restaurant, because he wants to focus on delivering an outstanding product and service to his customers. The nigiri sushi at Shimizu is not as fancy in appearance as that of other sushi restaurants of a similar tier. Instead, the nigiri here are larger in size and are spectacularly flavorful and delicious. An omakase course here will only cost around ¥10,000, which is almost unheard of for sushi of this calibre.

At Shimizu, reservations can only be made up to a week in advance. This means that customers don't have to wait months to get a seat, and allows for regulars of the shop to visit on short notice. It's not even unheard of to be able to get a seat on the same day that you call, although this is not typical.
Shimizu is just a 3-minute walk from the Karasumori exit of Shimbashi Station.
Making a reservation (in Japanese) is required, and non-Japanese speakers must bring a Japanese speaker with them. Dining times are 12:00, 17:30, and 19:30.
Arrive on time and be prepare to be blown away by the experience. You will definitely want to come back!

Haneda Ichiba Ginza Seven (羽田市場GINZA SEVEN) [Ginza]

retina_ginza7
Super fresh

Why choose Ginza Seven?

Ginza abounds in sushi restaurants, but this one stands out for its super fresh "neta" (toppings of the sushi) and comparatively reasonable price. While other restaurants (including very pricey ones) get their ingredients through slower distribution systems that go through Tsukiji or Toyosu markets and other intermediaries, Haneda Ichiba Ginza Seven flies in the fish from all parts of Japan. This means you can literally have sashimi on your plate that was caught the very same day!

The price is also great. Whereas many high-end Ginza restaurants can easily be ¥20,000 per person for dinner, you can have a sushi platter with an all-you-can-drink sake option at Haneda Ichiba Ginza 7 for ¥10,000.
retina_horigotatsu_table
Located at a short distance walk from either Higashi Ginza, Ginza, or Shimbashi station, Haneda Ichiba Ginza 7 is a small gem to discover when it comes to high-end sushi.

Sushi Kanesaka [Ginza]

Kanesaka_sushi_plate
Simply fantastic

Why choose Kanesaka?

Tucked away in a cozy basement in the fashionable Ginza district, Sushi Kanezaka should be on every sushi lover's hit list. This Michelin starred restaurant serves sushi that is delicious and delicately balanced.

Watching the chefs at Kanesaka form the sushi in front of you is an amazingly important part of the experience. They move with fluidity and grace, efficiently and masterfully forming each nigiri before placing it in front of you. The taste is, of course, fantastic, and it is only enhanced by being able to see the process of creation.

At the original location, the dinner course is from ¥30,000.
At the Palace Hotel location, you can choose from the standard dinner course for ¥15,000, or the omakase course for ¥ 22,000.
Kanesaka's original location is a 5-minute walk from either of Ginza or Shimbashi stations. The Palace Hotel location is --you guessed it-- on the 6th floor of the Palace hotel, just outside of Ootemachi Station.


If you plan to visit either of the Kanesaka locations, you will need to make a reservation (well in advance). Note that the restaurant does not take reservations from overseas, so if you are not already in Japan, you'd be best to get a friend or your hotel to book a seat for you.

Isshin [Asakusa]

retina_sushi_isshin
Everything is beautiful here

Why choose Isshin?

Isshin has a local feel with some truly amazing Edo-style sushi. Despite boasting a Michelin star, the place is rather unpretentious. The restaurant is equipped with only a 10-seat L-shaped counter and the decor is simple.

The sushi is, of course, super fresh. If you ask for the omakase (leave it to the chef) course, you can be sure that you will be treated to the best seasonal ingredients. The strong-tasting shari and the fresh toppings blend together wonderfully well, making this place one of the most reputable addresses for sushi among connoisseurs in the city.

Locals like to have the omakase course that includes "otsumami" (small side dishes). The otsumami plates include "chawanmushi" (savoury egg custard) and some grilled fish for instance.
Isshin is a small sushi bar in Asakusa, located a 12-minute walk from Asakusa Station (Asakusa Line, Ginza Line).

Tomoki [Ginza]

retina_tomoki

Why Choose Tomoki?

Ginza is the district in Japan with the highest concentration of high-end sushi restaurants, and among the many great addresses you can go to, Tomoki, boasting 2 Michelin stars, is surely one of the best.

As should be expected for any Michelin-starred restaurant, dining there is not cheap. Expect to pay at least ¥30,000 per person.

The 'omakase' (leave it to the chef) course, includes a few side dishes as well. Hairy crab (pictured below), skewered anago (sea eel) and uni (sea urchin) are among the scrumptious side dishes you can enjoy.

Granted, this place is not cheap, even for high-end sushi restaurants in Ginza, but for a special occasion, Tomoki is bound to give you one of the most memorable sushi experiences you will have.
retina_tomoki_crab
Delicious crab
Tomoki is located right outside of Higashi-Ginza Station, and is also an easy walk from Ginza Station.
To have the chance to eat at the prestigious establishment, making a reservation beforehand is a must.

Restaurants Mentioned in this Article

    DeLong
    I live in west Tokyo and spend my time thinking about food and going bouldering.

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