Sushiya, Tokyo

thumbs  thumbs

15.5/20 What does it all mean?

 Food Icon 8 | Service Icon 3 | Ambience Icon 2.5 | Value Icon 2

Thumbs up

  • The most beautiful sushi performance I have ever seen
  • Takao Ishiyama-san can speak English, making it a great place for new and international foodies to experience sushi as it should be
  • Good value for money

Thumbs down

  • It’s not the best sushi in Tokyo (but it is still very good)
  • The lower price point means the seafood at Sushiya doesn’t feature the same premium quality varieties of fish

Recommended dish(es)

  • Kuruma Ebi (Japanese Tiger Prawn) | 車海老
  • Chūtoro (Medium Fatty Tuna) | 中とろ
  • Otoro (Super Fatty Tuna) | 大とろ

TL;DR – Sushiya, run by Takao Ishiyama-san, is one of the youngest sushi itamaes in the high end sushi scene. Having trained under Kanesaka-san and Saito-san (the #1 ranked sushi in Tokyo), Ishiyama-san is a sushi master in the making. While the neta (fish) and shari (rice) has its flaws, Ishiyama-san’s fluency in English and lower price point, make Sushiya a great place for new and international foodies to experience sushi as it should be.

“Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple” – Steve Jobs

If there is one most misunderstood food in the world, in my mind, it would be sushi.

While most of the world sees two ingredients, sushi, in its finest form, is culinary alchemy – cooked rice, raw fish, unadulterated pleasure. Many think that sushi is “easy”, but have mistaken simplicity with easy. As with anything that is simple, great sushi is incredibly difficult to achieve. With only two core ingredients, there is absolutely nowhere to hide – any flaw in technique will be revealed.

The late Antoine de Saint-Exupery once said “you know you’ve achieved perfection in design, not when you have nothing more to add, but when you have nothing more to take away”. Sushi can achieve perfection not only because there is nothing you can add to a piece of shoyu-brushed sushi to improve it, but because it is made from only two core ingredients.

Beyond the fact that a sushi itamae spends the better part of the first decade learning how to prepare and cook the rice alone, perhaps part of the illusion is down to the fact that it looks so effortless to make. But like all great artists and performers, making their craft look effortless is what makes them the best.

Sushiya Art

The beauty of sushi; not just of the sushi itself.

Takao Ishiyama-san, from Sushiya, is one of such great artists. At the young age of 31, Ishiyama-san personifies why sushi is a transcendent, mesmerising and spiritual experience. Such simplicity, such elegance, such beauty. It is performance art of the highest calibre, a piece-by-piece dance to starch and sea; as if somehow, the more beautiful the performance is, the more beautiful the taste will be. And you almost believe it – though the sushi has its flaws, it is almost secondary to the performance itself. You feel that perhaps, for one fleeting moment, perfection really does exist.

The hallmark of great art and performance is that they open your mind, often forcing you to see the world in a whole new light. A meal with any respected sushi master in Japan will do the same. But none will be quite as beautiful as a meal with Ishiyama-san at Sushiya.

Sushiya (すし家)
6-3-17 Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo (map)
+81 3 3571-7900
Reservations only, book a few weeks in advance.

Sushiya Ikura

Ikura | いくら

Sushiya Nodoguro

Nodoguro (Black Throat Sea Perch) with Scallion Shoots | 喉黒 と芽ねぎ

Sushiya Shako

Shako (Mantis Shrimp) | 蝦蛄


Smoked Katsuo (Bonito) | 薫製鰹

Sushiya Shirako

Grilled Shirako (Milt) | 白子

Sushiya Crab

Zuwai-gani (Snow Crab) | ずわい蟹

Sushiya Anagao Shirayaki

Broiled Anago (Sea Eel) Shirayaki | 穴子白焼き

Sushiya Ankimo

Ankimo (Monkfish Liver) with Yuzu | あん肝

Sushiya Ishiyama-san

Ishiyama-san preparing nigiri.

Sushiya Kanpachi Nigiri

Kanpachi (Greater Amberjack) | かんぱち

Sushiya Shima-aji Nigiri

Shima-aji (Striped Jack) | 縞鯵

Sushiya Chutoro Nigiri

Chūtoro (Medium Fatty Tuna) | 中とろ

Sushiya Otoro Nigiri

Otoro (Super Fatty Tuna) | 大とろ

Sushiya Maguro Nigiri

Maguro Zuke (Lean Tuna Marinated in Soy-based Sauce) | 鮪漬け

Sushiya Ika Nigiri

Ika (Squid) | 烏賊

Sushiya Kuruma Ebi Nigiri

Kuruma Ebi (Japanese Tiger Prawn) | 車海老

Sushiya Kohada Nigiri

Kohada (Gizzard Shad) | 小肌

Sushiya Aji Nigiri

Aji (Jack / Horse Mackerel) | 鯵

Sushiya Akagai Nigiri

Akagai (Blood Cockle/Ark Shell) | 赤貝

Sushiya Uni

Murasaki Uni (Purple Sea Urchin) | 紫うに

Sushiya Anago Nigiri

Anago (Sea Eel) with Salt and Yuzu | 穴子塩、柚子

Sushiya Kanpyo Maki

Kanpyo Maki (Dried Gourd Roll) | 干瓢巻

Sushiya Tamago

Tamago (Egg) | 玉子



Sushiya (すし家)
6-3-17 Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo (map)
+81 3 3571-7900
Reservations only, book a few weeks in advance.

So fellow foodies, where did you have your first sushi epiphany moment?


17 thoughts on “Sushiya, Tokyo

  1. I don’t think I ever had a sushi epiphany moment… sushis just came naturally into my life. I do remember the moment when I realized how wonderful sashimi tastes.
    I love your food photography by the way! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I can’t think of a favourite… just put me in a small town in Japan and my life shall be complete 🙂


  2. Beautiful article! I look forward to reading your features (past and future) and to try out at least some of the restaurants you have written on. From the looks of it, your recommendations will not disappoint. In fact, I wager your taste is levels above mine. (In other words, what you call “above average” is probably what I call “excellent”.)

    On another note, it was serendipitous for me to have read Jobs’ words on your site. I happened to be put into a train of thought that prompted me to write an article and use the quote that I just had learned from you.

    Thank you.


  3. Hello!

    I will be visiting Japan in April and I found your blog to be very helpful.

    I am looking to do a lunch at one of the more budget friendly sushi places. I am trying to decide between Sushiya, Sushi Tokami and Sushi Iwa. Which one would you recommend?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Mary,

      Thanks for reading and I’m glad to hear my blog has been helpful for you.

      I would choose between Sushiya or Sushi Iwa (both are great options for your price level). Personally, I think Tokami has gone downhill and several people have told me about sub-par experiences there as well. Tokami’s Akazu (red vinegar) Rice is be a bit harder to appreciate and can be hit or miss.

      Let me know if you need any other advice!




  4. Hi there, love your write up on Sushi Ya! Am visiting Japan in October and really want to try out Sushi-ya. I understand that it is normal practice to get your hotel concierge to make a reservation on your behalf, is there any other way to make this reservation at Sushi-ya and how long in advance do I need to do so? Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Dennis,

      Thank you for the kind words. Reservations for all of October tend to open the month before (September 1). However, you can try giving them a call earlier and see if you are lucky. Hotel Concierge is the best bet, alternative a reservation service such as Voyagin or Pocket Concierge. There’s a link in my blog post, under Sushiya’s address 🙂

      Enjoy, and let me know if you need any other advice



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