Sushi wonderland at Sukiyabashi JiroTokyo, Japan
Few meals compare to an evening under the eye of Jiro Ono, one of Japan’s national living treasures and head chef at Sukiyabashi Jiro. Devoting his life to sushi from the age of nine, this octogenarian was the world’s first sushi chef to snare three Michelin stars. Gently pressing each portion of seafood into a stack of lightly vinegared rice sourced from his personal rice dealer, Jiro crafts each morsel to the mould of your mouth. His staff handpicks each creature from Tsukiji fish market, before they’re sliced, diced and tempered.
Hardly larger than a bento box, you’ll struggle to find the 10-stool eatery, which is tucked into a basement in Ginza. And it’s one of the toughest restaurants in the world to make a reservation, especially for gaijin (foreigners) who must find a Tokyo native to dine with. The starting price looms at ¥30,000 (US$252) and each mouthful checks in at US$12 a pop. Diners forking out for the half-hour feast enter a gastronomic symphony, from chilled uni (sea- urchin), to melt-in-your mouth unagi (eel), before the closing chord of succulent soft egg roll.
- The attention to detail. The chefs have to train for years before they progress from cooking egg rolls to working with fish
- The incredibly fresh produce
- Its informal location – hidden in a subway in Ginza
- The price!
- The pace – each portion is brought out quickly, so if you’re not careful your costly meal will be over in an instant
- How difficult it is to get in – book at least a month in advance
A meal here will cost you at least ¥30,000 (US$252).
It can be hard to make a booking. If you know someone who can speak Japanese, now’s the time to ask for a favour.