How to Get a Reservation at Sukiyabashi Jiro and 10 Things You Need to Know About Tokyo’s Most Famous Sushi Restaurant

  • Plan Ahead--Way Ahead

    The restaurant will start taking reservations on the first day of the previous month, so make sure you’ve told your hotel concierge well ahead of time and know exactly what day and what time you want to dine. It’s also wise to give them multiple options to ensure a spot for lunch or dinner.

    City Foodsters (CC BY 2.0) / Flickr

  • Your Credit Card Concierge Is Useless

    Chase Sapphire Reserve? No chance. American Express Platinum? Nope. The Black Card by American Express? Sorry. The only way you’re getting in here is having a friend on the ground who speaks fluent Japanese or a concierge from a 5-star hotel to help you out.

    City Foodsters (CC BY 2.0) / Flickr

  • Don't Be Late

    There are only 10 counter seats and if you show up past your reservation time, they will likely refuse you entry. Also, they have a strict cancellation policy, so if you’re late they will charge you the full set menu price. You have to secure the reservation with your credit card.

    City Foodsters (CC BY 2.0) / Flickr

  • It’s Not Cheap

    The meal costs 33,000 yen, which is a little over $300. You’ll get a souvenir napkin and a copy of that day’s menu.

    City Foodsters (CC BY 2.0) / Flickr

  • Learn to Use Chopsticks Before You Go

    Take a look at their website and make sure you cradle that fish properly or you will be admonished. And not just stared at. You will be told you’re doing it wrong. 

    Leon Brocard (CC BY 2.0)

  • It’s Some of the Best Sushi You’ll Ever Have

    Of course it’s good, but is it going to blow you away? Unfortunately, nothing can live up to the expectations that have been placed upon it. The rundown is this: It’s omakase style–you get 20 pieces of fish and a melon for dessert. Every piece is the best piece of whatever that particular fish is that you’ll probably ever eat.

    Leon Brocard (CC BY 2.0) / Flickr

  • There’s a Chance You Might Be Disappointed

    It’s impossible to live up to the hype. The restaurant has three Michelin stars. Barack Obama ate here. Anthony Bourdain thought it was incredible. They made an entire documentary about it called Jiro Dreams of Sushi! It is definitely a victim of unobtainable expectations.

    City Foodsters (CC BY 2.0) / Flickr

  • It’s a Short Meal

    As stated above, you might be disappointed. The meal lasts about 35 minutes. That’s around $8.80 per minute at current exchange rates. The moment you eat the fish they serve you, the next piece is presented. If you take too much time to eat, you will be guilted with cold stares.

    City Foodsters (CC BY 2.0) / Flickr

  • It’s Hard to Find

    The restaurant is inside Ginza Subway Station at exit C6. Find the large yellow C6 sign, and go down the stairs and through a set of glass doors into another building. The restaurant sign is in Japanese with a big DO NOT TAKE PHOTOS placard. If you’re having trouble finding it, look for Birdland, the restaurant next door that has a sign in English. 

    Dan_H(CC BY-NC 2.0)/Flickr

  • You Probably Won’t See Jiro

    Chef Jiro Ono will most likely not be there. He’s 92-years-old and only comes in occasionally. If you’ve seen the documentary, you’ll recognize his son preparing your sushi.

    Jim & Claire(CC BY-NC 2.0) /Flickr

  • If You Can’t Get In, Tokyo is Full of Good Sushi Restaurants

    It should come as no surprise that there are hundreds of options for all budgets and quality. For the most interesting experience, wake up early (like 4 am early) and head to the Tsukiji Fish Market. There are dozens of sushi shops open around 5 am for omakase-style breakfast with the freshest fish right off the docks. Check out Sushi Dai or Daiwa Sushi for some of the best.If you want what many consider to be a quality equivalent to Jiro, make sure you reserve a spot at the small and savory Sushi Saito. For 10,000 yen for lunch or 20,000 yen for dinner (around $100-$200), you’ll be treated to a fishmonger’s mastery unlike anything else. Reservations are pretty impossible, so make sure you have a 5-star hotel concierge to help you out.Lastly, nearby the Shinjuku Train Station is Sushi Tokyo Ten. With super reasonable prices (around $50 for lunch and $75 for dinner), you’ll find succulent slices of raw goodness mixed with boisterous chefs in a non-stuffy environment.

    City Foodsters (CC BY 2.0) / Flickr

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