Ginza Kyubey, Tokyo
EM has checked into ... Ginza Kyubey
When you think of Japan, sushi is one of the top elements that associate greatly with the country. They say when in Rome, do what the Roman's do. So when people come to Japan, they must experience sushi omakase at least once. Not sushi train stuff, but the type whereby the sushi chef is standing right in front of you and make your sushi in the most skillful way.
If you are in Melbourne and have been thinking of the infamous Minamishima, I have a detailed review of my experience and thoughts (both good and bad) at Minamishima.
So back to your considerations of picking a sushi omakase in Japan (Tokyo in specifically), many people have heard of Jiro Sushi, Sushi Saito and lots more but let's face it, these places are highly expensive and you might not fully enjoy it with quite a serious type of atmosphere. Unless if you have the money, then sure go ahead. But for the rest of us, let me introduce you to Ginza Kyubey - A cheaper alternative yet can provide the ultimate sushi omakase experience of your lifetime.
At Ginza Kyubey (the main branch), it is in fact a multi level building and each floor compromises of a few individual stations. And there are around 12 people in one station with at least two sushi chefs per station. So you can still have the authentic experience to engage with the chef yet still have the ability to socialise and talk with your partner or group.
I love it how they provide not 1 but 3 different types of side condiments to refresh your palate and they are generous too. So you have have a bite of seaweed, radish and pickled ginger in between each serve of sushi. They really do want to make sure you are well spoiled and fed.
The omakase was the best and most worth it winner during my trip in Tokyo. With such a reasonable price tag (I remembered it was around $130 AUD in April 2017 including a couple of drinks), we were thrilled with the experience. The fish were at excellent quality and the atmosphere was well thought out with a slight casual tone to allow you to be relaxed and comfortable. I wouldn't say that this place is casual yet it is not fine dining.
You will also notice that there are less foreigners in this place compared to all the other well-known sushi outlets. That is because this place is actually well known among the locals and not promoted widely to the outside world - so this is the true secret gem of Japan.
In saying that, you need to make a booking few months in advanced. Try to go for the lunch session as it is cheaper and easier to get a booking than the dinner session. BUT the challenge of this place is that you need to get your hotel to book for you. You can't just call in and book it yourself. I guess this is their way of making sure that you won't be able to cancel last minute and even if you do cancel last minute, they are able to send a bill to your hotel to add into your reservation account. Also, highly recommended for you to make a reservation at the main branch in Ginza as they have several branches in Tokyo. I heard the main one is the best.
So next time you are in Tokyo, come and try Ginza Kyubey! I would highly recommend it and would go back time after time. Seriously, don't even bother to consider the standard 'well known' sushi places. Go to Ginza Kyubey, I promise that it will worth more than what you pay for.
Till next time, take care and stay inspired.