If you’re a foodie who loves surprises, then you definitely have to try omakase-style dining in Japan! This incredible way of eating leaves everything up to the chef; you just have to trust them to provide you with the most amazing dishes imaginable! Each dish is a surprise and often made from seasonal ingredients, so no two omakase experiences are the same.
Brave enough to let your tastebuds explore? Then read on! We’ll tell you all about this fascinating part of culinary culture in Japan!
What Is Omakase?
First of all, what is omakase in the first place? Translated from Japanese, it literally means “I will leave it to you” or “surprise me.” This means the chef in charge of your meal gets free reign to go all out and rely on only their creativity as well as the ingredients at their disposal. What makes omakase so exciting is it’s different from set menus; it’s pretty much a once-in-a-lifetime set of dishes crafted especially for you!
Because of the nature of omakase, only select restaurants actually offer this kind of dining style. It can also get a bit pricier, but we think it’s definitely worth the shot with the kind of fresh ingredients and mouthwatering dishes you’d be able to taste. Omakase is all about trust between the chef and the customer. So sit back, relax, and let the chef wow you with their expertise!
The 14 Best Omakase Restaurants in Tokyo
Like we’ve mentioned, not all restaurants serve omakase-style dining. Here are just some of the best ones in Tokyo that we definitely recommend for you to get the full omakase experience!
- Sushi Ryusuke
- Azabu Sushi Kokoro
- Sushi Wasabi
- Ginza Saisho
- Takumi Sushi Owana
- Nadeshico Sushi
- Sushidokoro Yamada
- Yoshino Sushi Honten
- Manten Sushi
- Edomae SS
1. Sushi Ryusuke
Up first, we have the stylish and chic Sushi Ryusuke! Chef Ryusuke heads this elegant restaurant, an incredible chef well-versed in both Japanese and European style cooking. Recognizing his prowess, his dishes have been at the top of Japan’s food ranking for six years in a row!
Like many omakase places, Sushi Ryusuke is small but nonetheless alluring; only seven people can dine at any given time. Behind the counter, you can watch Chef Ryusuke prepare different kinds of sushi before your very eyes. Some of his signatures include incorporating European caviar and truffle shavings, creating a true fusion of flavors! Chef Ryusuke’s dishes change every time, but what remains is his high precision when it comes to flavor, as well as his creative flair.
2. Azabu Sushi Kokoro
If you’re looking for a truly once-in-a-lifetime experience, then Azabu Sushi Kokoro is the one for you. This restaurant is dedicated to doing just that–providing its patrons with an amazing experience they won’t forget anytime soon. Headed by the meticulous Chef Michimasa Nakamura, the staff at Azabu Sushi Kokoro believes that no two sushi experiences are alike, and they strive to impart this kind of appreciation to their customers.
Chef Nakamura invented his own trademarked “ikusei-sushi.” This is a process of making sushi wherein the fish are nurtured for up to a week in a carefully controlled environment. Chef Nakamura believes that fish, like people, need to have good environments in order to be raised properly. That’s why he meticulously controls the water quality, feed, and temperature in his fish environments.
This meticulous method results in sushi that tastes simply otherworldly. Diehard sushi fans or even those having it for the first time would definitely appreciate Chef Nakamura’s dedication to his craft.
3. Sushi Wasabi
Sushi Wasabi is far from the stuffy and impersonal fine-dining restaurants you may have heard of in the past. In fact, it’s completely the opposite! Sushi Wasabi is all about harnessing the playfulness and charm of each ingredient to let each customer savor it. The chef personalizes every omakase menu to each guest, even adjusting based on each one’s diet preferences and budget!
Like a neighborhood diner on steroids, Sushi Wasabi has a bright and inviting atmosphere that will keep you coming back for more. With 8-10 dishes on each omakase menu, you’ll definitely leave with a full stomach and a smile on your face!
4. Ginza Saisho
Formerly known as “Sushi Saisho,” Ginza Saisho has been providing amazing omakase experiences for over 20 years! Tucked away in the heart of the busy Ginza district, Ginza Saisho is a small and intimate corner that makes some of the best sushi around! The restaurant prides itself in providing only the freshest of ingredients, which the chef handpicks himself every morning.
If you’re lucky, you might even catch this restaurant’s famous “Sea Urchin Festival”! The time it’s announced is a yearly surprise, so you’ll just have to be fortunate enough to catch it, but if you do, it’s definitely worth it! Let the chef wow you with a variety of different dishes made from only the most high-quality and buttery tender sea urchin. Ginza Saisho also offers a collection of sake that will pair nicely with your seafood dishes!
Our next pick is none other than the oldest sushi restaurant in Otemachi, Tokyo: Imayoshi! Established way back in 1922, Imayoshi provides authentic sushi dishes that will instantly let you know how they have lasted so long in the industry. Their high standards for authenticity and consistency have remained the same over all these years!
The current chef is third-generation, drawing from family recipes and secret techniques passed down from his relatives. He also puts his own creative spin on each dish to make sure guests have a wonderful experience! One of Imayoshi’s signature dishes is the conger eel, which is cooked through a unique boiling-and-grilling method. The resulting taste and texture are simply to die for!
6. Takumi Sushi Owana
In the world of sushi connoisseurs, few are more remarkable than Chef Kenji Owana! Throughout the years, he has built up a reputation for being one of the most expert veterans when it comes to making sushi. In Takumi Sushi Owana, all his years’ worth of experiences and skills truly shine!
Takumi Sushi Owana offers only omakase-style dining. Here you can witness Chef Owana’s incredible creations like classic nigiri, smoked scallops, and more. He personally mixes his own blend of two different kinds of rice vinegar to bring out the innate flavor of each fish. As his courses will tell you, eating is not only a feast for the tastebuds but for the eyes as well! Takumi Sushi Owana’s dishes look good enough to be framed.
7. Nadeshico Sushi
The world of sushi may have been traditionally dominated by men, but today’s chefs are aiming to challenge that! One of the culinary world’s rising stars is Chef Chizui Yuki who also owns the women-run sushi restaurant Nadeshico Sushi! What’s interesting about Chef Yuki is she actually comes from an art background. A graduate of art school, she was drawn to the intricate art form that is sushi making!
Her dishes combine classic sushi with her own aesthetic flair. She has a particular eye for different blends of seasonings that enhance each dish and make them truly remarkable! If you’re dropping by Nadeshico Sushi, we definitely recommend trying out the chef’s omakase set!
8. Sushidokoro Yamada
Because of the nature of omakase-style dining, it can get a bit pricey at times, especially considering the high caliber of skilled chefs and the premium ingredients they choose. Luckily, restaurants like Sushidokoro Yamada aim to serve omakase-style dining at a reasonable price! The restaurant only seats eight people, so make sure you book a reservation in advance!
Sushidokoro Yamada offers only one menu. Featuring a whopping 15 unique pieces, you won’t ask for anything more! Each dish is fresh, rich, and oh-so-flavorful, which is why Sushidokoro Yamada has attracted its fair share of loyal patrons over the years. What’s more, this incredible menu only costs ¥10,000 (~$67)! For the quality and range of dishes, that’s definitely a steal compared to many other restaurants!
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9. Yoshino Sushi Honten
Next up we have a restaurant with a rich history: Yoshino Sushi Honten! Founded all the way back in 1879, it is still offering authentic yet affordable omakase sushi in Tokyo. In fact, Yoshino Sushi Honten was the first ever sushi restaurant to serve toro nigiri, a kind of sushi that uses super fatty tuna which makes it melt in your mouth!
All their sushi options are simply heavenly. Yoshino Sushi Honten has a casual, working-class vibe that has made it a fan favorite for more than a century. It’s the perfect place to grab a delicious and filling meal with your friends and family!
Kizushi is a restaurant that embodies classic old-school flair with a twist! They serve incredible sushi dishes prepared Edomae-style. If you think fish is the main star of each sushi dish, then Kizushi implores you to think otherwise! In fact, their pride and joy is their shari or sushi rice! Guests rave about Kizushi’s sushi rice time and time again, describing it as having hints of saltiness, sweetness, and even sourness.
We definitely recommend you try their omakase nigiri sushi set. Composed of 10 superb dishes, Kizushi takes you on a journey of flavors and tastes you won’t really find anywhere else! If you like things to be simple yet classy, the Kizushi is definitely the top pick for you.
11. Manten Sushi
Manten Sushi offers some of the least expensive omakase menus on this list. No wonder it’s been a longtime favorite as a lunch spot among office workers! Located in the Marunouchi financial district, Manten Sushi’s menu starts at just ¥3,850 (~$25). For such a low price, you’ll be able to savor an incredibly fresh and diverse set of dishes.
Manten Sushi’s standard lunchtime omakase menu is filled with a variety of different nigiri sushi complemented by delicious side dishes like savory egg custard, marinated salmon roe, and more! The sushi selection features crowd favorites such as prized uni and fatty tuna, making sure you leave the restaurant full and satisfied.
12. Edomae SS
Up next we have another restaurant aiming to serve high-quality omakase at lower prices: Edomae SS! This restaurant takes all the fussiness and intimidating atmosphere usually associated with fine dining and instead brands itself as a casual open kitchen. Known for their playfulness and spontaneity, Edomae SS is sure to fill you up without making you break the bank.
Lunchtime offers two kinds of omakase sets: a regular one that costs ¥4,000 (~$26) and a “full tank” set that costs ¥6,000 (~$40). Both courses feature delicious Edomae-style sushi using sushi rice that has been seasoned with red vinegar. The fish selections vary depending on the season, but you can expect only the freshest of ingredients here at Edomae SS. Some of their staples include fatty tuna and saltwater eel!
Wanna learn how to make sushi? Join one of these 12 Sushi making class in Tokyo.
If you want omakase dining with style, then you definitely have to check out Bullpen! This offbeat restaurant follows a unique baseball theme when it comes to the decor and even the uniforms of the employees. If you didn’t know, this sport is huge in Japan so Bullpen basically combines two of the country’s greatest loves: sushi and baseball! The sushi chefs wearing customized baseball caps as they prepare your food make this experience much more memorable.
Bullpen provides authentic sushi with a modern twist. Each piece of nigiri is served one at a time featuring mouthwatering toppings like tuna, ark shell, Spanish mackerel, and more! Of course, Bullpen also features a variety of different drinks from sake to beer that pairs well with each dish. If you’re planning on coming here, we definitely recommend dropping by during lunchtime since the menu gets a little cheaper. The lunchtime omakase course is priced at just ¥5,000 (~$33)!
We’re ending this list with a restaurant that best exemplifies why omakase dining should be treated like an art form. Chef Takehiro Arakawa of Sushidan doesn’t play around when it comes to making sushi! His incredible eye for detail and close precision shows in each dish. The skills Arakawa uses to slice his fish are truly remarkable. Watching him is a masterclass on its own!
What’s amazing about Sushidan is it offers such amazing high-quality dishes at such a low price point. The lunchtime “Shiro” omakase course costs only ¥3,500 (~$23)! This already includes a whopping nine pieces of nigiri sushi as well as one delicious maki roll. The cheap menu price leaves you with more room to spare for a glass of sake or two, sourced from regions all over Japan!
Table manners during an Omakase sushi experience
Before you embark on your omakase experience, there are just a few things you need to know. Proper etiquette and decorum is very important in Japanese society, especially in an omakase setting. Omakase restaurants are often very small and intimate, so utmost respect and courtesy is important!
First, we recommend freshening up before going to the restaurant but avoid using strong scents like any perfumes. This is because having such strong odors can actually affect the delicate flavors of each omakase dish. So for the sake of both yourself and your fellow patrons, we advise you to keep this in mind!
Up next, we recommend always sitting as close to the chef as possible. Most omakase restaurants offer only one counter for seating so patrons can get a better view of how the master chef prepares each dish. As omakase is a treat not just for the tastebuds but for the eyes as well, watching the chef cook definitely adds to that experience!
Lastly, engage in polite conversation with the chef. Some chefs are used to having foreign customers and can speak a little English, while some chefs prefer to converse in Japanese instead. That’s why it’s good to learn simple phrases like “Arigato” (Thank you) and “Oishi” (It’s Delicious) to tell the chef. This all adds to the intimate atmosphere inherent to omakase dining!
We hope you liked our guide to the best omakase restaurants in Tokyo! Which restaurant caught your eye the most?
Omakase is a unique experience not just for the stomach but for the eyes as well. This way of dining puts complete trust in the chef to serve you visually pleasing and mouthwateringly delicious dishes. With Japan’s high caliber of chefs, you can expect each omakase experience not only to be life-changing but completely unique as well!