You must be kidding. Can people eat a sushi meal within 1000-yen budget (10 USD)? The answer is Yes! However, if you want to find exceptional sushi restaurants, I want to introduce standing sushi bars to you. There are a lot of high quality standing sushi bars in Tokyo. Before elaborating more on this topic, I would first like to explain the sushi dilemma to you.
Opening a sushi restaurant in Japan is similar to playing the game of “dead or alive.” Competition between sushi restaurants becomes more intensive in Japan year by year. One of the reasons is the declination of ingredients. Overfishing is the primary reason behind this phenomenon. Because fishers cast their nets to the ocean and catch fish disregarding their sizes, sushi chefs have to find substitution of their ingredients. Another reason is about season. Seafood will be fatty in certain season. Overfishing eliminates the quality of sushi due to the neglect of fishing season. Furthermore, the quality of sushi chefs is also a crucial element for the success of business. They need to monitor and maintain balance between the temperature of fish and rice, so customers can enjoy sushi in the best timing.
What should the creative Japanese people do? They think about opening a standing sushi bar. Yes, instead of sit on a chair and eat sushi, customers can eat sushi while standing. If you are a sushi-lover and an adventurer, you must try these standing sushi bars. There are four reasons to try these standing sushi bars: lower-price, high quality, speedy, and convenient. I have done my research, and I have found the meritorious five-sushi bars in Tokyo for you. All you need is bringing 1000 yen to those restaurants, and then you can relish decent and fresh sushi.
Standing Sushi Bars: Okame Sushi おかめ
Most of you know that Tsukiji is one of the best fish markets in the world. Thousands of fish and other seafood have been delivered in that area. Okame Sushi locates at the Tsukiji area, so their ingredients are 100% fresh and seasonal. Maguro (tuna) or salmon only cost you 100-yen (1 USD). One of the special deals in this restaurant is the tuna sushi meal. You can enjoy tuna, medium fatty tuna, fatty tuna, partially grilled tuna, and tuna warship-roll in 1000-yen (10 USD).
I know that some of you don’t like tuna. But you need to know that most of the tuna you eat back home is yellow-fin tuna, which consists sour flavor. Yellow-fin tuna is also the lower level type in the tuna world. You don’t need to worry about these issues in this store because they select good Bluefin tuna for customers. When you first try it, you will gradually like it.
Although the operation hour of this store is longer than others, I would recommend you to come here before 12 noon in order to visit the markets. Most of the stores will close at 1 or 2 p.m. in Tsukiji. Besides sushi restaurants, you can also purchase various souvenirs at Tsukiji.
Okame Sushi Information
Nearest Station: 3-minutes walk from Tsukiji Station (click on the Google Map below for walking directions).
Hours of Operation: Opens on Monday to Saturday from10 a.m. – 10 p.m.; Opens on Sunday and Holidays from 10 a.m. – 9 p.m.
It only takes fifteen minutes walk from Tsukiji to Ginza. We will go to the second standing sushi bar, Nemurohanamaru. It’s located at B2 floor in a new mall, Tokyu Plaza. If you are a sushi lover, you must want to try authentic seafood from their original places in Japan. This is what this tiny sushi bar can help you with. For example, you can order Sailfin poacher in Nemurohanamaru, which is a local specialty from Otaru, Hokkaido. They will import different ingredients according to the seasons and water areas. You can find hundreds of sushi restaurants that provide same types of sushi. However, if you want to have new sushi experience without traveling to other areas in Japan, Nemurohanamaru is your first choice.
Nearest Station: 4 minutes walk from Ginza station (click on the Google Map below for walking directions).
Hours of Operation: 11:00～23:00(L.O.22:00)
Uogashi Nihon-Ichi 魚がし日本一
Besides searching variety of sushi, a sushi lover also loves to go to the original restaurants. Uogashi Nihon-Ichi is the ancestor of standing sushi bar. Its headquarters is located at the Tsukiji Market. They order bids and monitor the quality of ingredients in the market. Since the manager of Uogashi Nihon-Ichi has the business network with fishers and providers in Tsukiji, he always gets good quality seafood from the market. “Freshest” is the motto of their restaurants.
In addition, you can have a dinner set from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m within 680 yen, which contains 5 pieces of nigiri sushi (hand-form sushi) with a cup of beer. Furthermore, the sushi staffs from this restaurant are friendly and approachable. If you want to chat with them and inquire sushi information from them, you should come and visit this store.
Uogashi Nihon-Ichi Information
Nearest Station: 3 minutes walk from Ikebukuro Station (click on the Google Map below for walking directions).
For your convenience, here is list of locations
Hours of Operation: 11:00～23:20(L.O)
Tachiguimidori 美登利 エチカ池袋店
Midori is one of the premium sushi brands in Japan. Individuals line up at the Midori branches every day. In order to satisfy the demands of diverse customers, Midori also opens a standing sushi bar for those busy businessmen, and those who like to eat cheap and delicious sushi in Ikebukuro station. It’s not a huge bar, so you probably need to line up and wait for a while. But you will be rewarded. First of all, diversity is one of the selling points of Midori. There are thirty-six choices of sushi in the menu.
Second, Midori’s sushi is economical. I don’t think you can find any 50-yen tuna (0.4 cents) or 70-yen horse mackerel (0.6 cents) in other sushi restaurants. The medium fatty tuna only costs customers 100 yen (1 USD). If you want to have a piece of fatty tuna, you only need to pay 300 yen (3 USD). Tachiguimidori also have set lunch offer. You can have eight pieces of sushi within 500-yen (5 USD).
Finally, It’s located at the underground shopping center. If you just want to eat fast and rejuvenate your strength in order to go shopping again. Here is your first choice. Hence, Midori can be considered one of the best sushi chains in Japan.
Nearest Station: 6-minutes walk from Ikebukuro Station, exit west (click on the Google Map below for walking directions).
Hours of Operation: 11:00～23:00(L.O 22:30)
Sakura Sushi さくら寿司
If you love to eat pagrus major (マダイ), splendid alfonsino (キンメダイ), or milt (白子), Sakura Sushi is definitely one of your favorite restaurants. Comparing to tuna and salmon, pagrus major and splendid alfonsino are the milder fish. When you put the sushi into your mouth, let the fatty part of the fish to fill your taste bud. When you are chewing the sushi, the sweetness of the fish will gradually come out. Since these two types of fish are milder, please remember to eat them first before partaking other sushi. If you mix up your eating sequence, the flavors of the stronger ingredient will affect your palate. As a result, you can’t enjoy the fullness of sushi.
Milt is the semen of a fish or a water creature. A lot of people consider this as a good culture experience. However, if you don’t like the smell or taste of milt sushi, you can still have around 50 choices in this restaurant.
Sakura Sushi Information
Nearest Station: 4-minutes walk from Ikebukuro Station, Exit West (click on the Google Map below for walking directions).
Hours of Operation: 10:00～22:00
What do the standing sushi bars can help you? Eat cheap, eat fast, and eat fresh!