If you’re set on eating at Sukiyabashi Jiro but can’t snag seats there, try your luck with Jiro's son's restaurant Sukiyabashi Jiro Roppongi instead. Read our guide to securing reservations here and decide for yourself whether it’s worth eating here or not.
Tuna akami, or lean tuna - lean but deceptively tender. - image © Florentyna Leow
Eating At Sukiyabashi Jiro Roppongi Overview
Most people travelling to Japan with even the slightest interest in sushi will probably have watched or heard of the documentary Jiro Dreams of Sushi. Gourmands fly in from all over the world just to taste Chef Jiro Ono's sushi. But snagging a reservation at the hallowed Sukiyabashi Jiro is notoriously difficult (and expensive). Even if you're staying at one of Tokyo's top hotels, that in itself won't guarantee you a seat at his restaurant in Ginza unless you're both lucky and planning months if not up to a year in advance.
If your heart is set on eating Jiro's style of sushi, however, another option is to dine at the restaurant of Jiro's son, Chef Takashi Ono. Chef Takashi's restaurant is called Sukiyabashi Jiro Roppongi. While still not entirely straightforward to book for first-timers, it's significantly easier to do so here.
Chef Takashi is the second son of Chef Jiro Ono. Takashi was trained by his father at the original Sukiyabashi Jiro in Ginza before setting up his own restaurant, Sukiyabashi Jiro Roppongi. Chef Takashi also appears in the Jiro Dreams Of Sushi documentary talking about his relationship with his father and continuing Jiro's legacy.
Flounder, brushed with nikiri soy sauce, the shari still warm. - image © Florentyna Leow
Using GoVoyagin to Book Sukiyabashi Jiro Roppongi
- How do you snag a reservation at Sukiyabashi Jiro Roppongi? They don't take reservations directly from first-time overseas visitors, so you either need to ask a hotel concierge - assuming you're staying at one - or use an online booking service. This is where GoVoyagin comes in: they help overseas visitors to Japan secure a seat at his restaurant.
- Here's a link to GoVoyagin's reservation service:
Reservation for Sushi Jiro Roppongi Michelin 2-star Tokyo
- At JPY7,000 per person, it is not the cheapest option around, but it is extremely convenient. All you have to do is purchase this service online - it takes less than 2 minutes to click and complete. If they can't secure a reservation on your intended dates, you'll be fully refunded.
- To maximise your chances of securing a seat for your party, it's best to provide the GoVoyagin staff with as many options as possible, with regards to available times during your travel dates. You can type this in just before you pay for the service.
- Try not to miss your reservation: no-shows are charged the full course fee per person. This is common practice at small restaurants like this, as each no-show hits them hard - it's unlikely that new diners will turn up at the last minute, and the restaurant is likely to lose revenue. GoVoyagin will send you a payment link in this case; or it'll be automatically charged to your credit card if not paid within a certain date.
Sayuri, or Japanese halfbeak. Delicate. - image © Florentyna Leow
Should you use GoVoyagin To Book Sukiyabashi Jiro Roppongi?
GoVoyagin charges JPY7,000 per person to use their reservation services. This is just for their service. You'll pay for lunch on the day, which comes to between JPY18,000 - JPY26,000 depending on additional orders or drinks. Is it worth the expense?
It is worth it if Jiro is on your culinary wishlist and:
- a) You can afford it. If you’re going to eat at Jiro, chances are that you have a little bit of spare cash lying around. In this case, it's also likely that your time is more valuable than the effort you’ll make in trying to secure a reservation.
- b) If you’re not staying somewhere with a concierge. Guests staying in hotels can usually ask their concierge to make reservations on their behalf, free of charge. But, for whatever reason you might not be staying in a hotel. Sometimes you’d rather spend more on the food than where you’re sleeping. Sometimes you’re in an Airbnb. In cases like this, GoVoyagin is a useful service to have on hand.
- c) You're not going with a Japanese-speaking resident. For first-time bookings from overseas visitors, they'll only take bookings through a reputable hotel concierge (except the Westin Hotel) - or a booking service like GoVoyagin.
- d) You can't get a reservation at the original Sukiyabashi Jiro. If your heart is absolutely set on eating Jiro's style of sushi but you couldn't snag seats at the Ginza restaurant, Sukiyabashi Jiro Roppongi is not a bad alternative at all. (More on their particular style of sushi later in this review.)
The shopfront for Sukiyabashi Jiro in Roppongi. - image © Florentyna Leow
How To Get To Sukiyabashi Jiro Roppongi
The Roppongi branch of Sukiyabashi Jiro is not the easiest to find. It's located in Roppongi Hills, but sequestered in a quiet corner on the Keyakizaka side of the complex rather than the main West Walk. GoVoyagin emails you fairly detailed instructions after confirming your reservation, and they advise you to give yourself plenty of time to locate the restaurant. This is well-founded - finding this place for the first time is tricky.
Signs to Exit 1c. - image © Florentyna Leow
Take Exit 1c of Roppongi Station on the Hibiya Line. When you see escalators, don’t go up - turn right and walk up the staircase at the end after the lockers.
Above ground at Exit 1c. - image © Florentyna Leow
Once you're above ground, turn left.
A crossing. - image © Florentyna Leow
Cross the road.
Don’t cross here. - image © Florentyna Leow
You’ll see the Roppongi Hills Cross Point building in front of you. Don’t cross - turn left and follow the road down, keeping left.
A sake shop. - image © Florentyna Leow
You’re going the right way if you see Suzusake on your left.
Hugo Boss store - image © Florentyna Leow
When you see the Grand Hyatt on your left and Hugo Boss across the road, turn left.
Turning into Keyakizaka Street. - image © Florentyna Leow
Cross the road here - Escada will be on the opposite left corner.
On Keyakizaka Street. - image © Florentyna Leow
You’ll follow a curved street that looks like this.
Stop before this sign - a playground across the street. - image © Florentyna Leow
When you see this, you’ll want to watch out on your left.
A staircase. - image © Florentyna Leow
You’re looking for this staircase. Walking up two floors takes you right outside Sukiyabashi Jiro Roppongi.
Even with this guide, I would suggest giving yourself additional time to find this place. It will take a little longer than you think, especially if you're not a fast walker.
Kohada, or shad gizzard. An unusual, strongly flavoured piece. - image © Florentyna Leow
Some Rules for Sukiyabashi Jiro Roppongi Restaurant
This is less daunting than it sounds! While there are some rules for diners to observe during the meal, I wouldn't worry too much. Most of them are common sense for restaurants of this sort. Some of them are:
- No heavy perfume or cologne
- No collarless shirts, shorts, or sandals.
- Don't dip your sushi into additional soy sauce.
- Be punctual - turn up 5-10 minutes prior if you can. It’s better than being late.
- It is perfectly okay to pick up the sushi with your hands. (And if you struggle with chopsticks I would suggest using this method).
Further reading and clarification can be found on their official website.
Though it says on the website above to refrain from taking photos of the sushi, I asked for permission, and Chef Takashi said yes - provided I didn't take photographs of the other customers. If you want to take photos, I suggest asking just in case.
Akagai. Slippery, lightly crunchy texture. Pretty good. - image © Florentyna Leow
Lunch here is an omakase set of 14 pieces of sushi. The exact seafood used will change depending on the season, so the meal here reflects the neta available during an early winter visit in December. The meal moves along at a fairly rapid clip, and towards the end of the meal, he will ask if you want any extra pieces - not included in the lunch set - before he serves the final piece of tamago.
A word about the shari here, or sushi rice. The sushi rice is far more vinegary than most other high-end sushi places. This is characteristic of Jiro's style - they use a fairly high proportion of white yonezu (rice vinegar) to rice. It can border on too sour for some diners, which is why you'll see some online reviews expressing disappointment about the sushi. It is personally not my favourite style of shari, but some diners love it - that's why Jiro has a cult following. The profile of the shari seems to change a little depending on what it's paired with, and it's especially beautiful with the fattier neta.
Some Sukiyabashi Jiro Roppongi highlights include:
Salmon roe. - image © Florentyna Leow
Salmon roe. Incredibly fresh, saline-sweet, and one of the pieces where the vinegary shari didn't overwhelm me. It's all prepared in-house: sacs of roe straight from the salmon rinsed repeatedly under running water to remove any trace of fishiness. No added sake, nothing to detract from the roe. There is a marked difference between ikura at a mid-range shop and this one here. A remarkable piece.
Kuruma ebi. - image © Florentyna Leow
Lightly boiled tiger prawn. It is exactly as it sounds - and the simplicity of the technique belies how good it is, especially the richer head part of the shrimp.
Sea urchin gunkan. - image © Florentyna Leow
Sea urchin - cold, fresh, deliriously creamy. Interestingly, he takes care to use exclusively male murasaki uni - though the tongues of male urchin don't hold their shape as well as the female ones, the flavour is far sweeter and superior.
Smoked bonito. - image © Florentyna Leow
Smoked bonito with a dab of ginger. A heady, umami rush of meaty smoke in the mouth, noticeably better than other sushi restaurants serving the same piece. I'm not sure other bonito will ever be enough again. The fish is smoked over rice straw - rather than charcoal or gas - which gives it an incomparable fragrance.
Anago, or ocean eel. - image © Florentyna Leow
Wild anago. I have always preferred anago sushi to its freshwater unagi counterpart, but this piece has set the bar for me. ‘Melt-in-the-mouth’ is a lazy food writing cliche applied to anything and everything, and is an inaccurate description most of the time. But this anago does actually collapse instantly in the heat of your mouth - it is that beguilingly sweet, tender and soft.
Chutoro, or medium-fatty tuna. Gorgeous. - image © Florentyna Leow
Some Additional Sukiyabashi Jiro Roppongi Dining Notes
A few things you should take note of before visiting:
- Go hungry. This might be fairly obvious advice, but 14 pieces can be a fair amount for some diners - especially if you've had a light meal or some snacks beforehand. You do want to get your money's worth!
- Meals move at a brisk pace. A meal of 14 pieces of sushi, plus time for extras, clocked in at just under an hour. (Plenty of banter with the chef, though.) This can feel too rushed for some diners, especially if you just want to take your time. I did manage to take photographs each time before eating, but it is also a good idea not to leave the sushi on the plate too long - ideally, each piece should be eaten as soon as it lands in front of you.
Shime saba, or vinegared mackerel. - image © Florentyna Leow
- Don't necessarily expect the best sushi of your life. This doesn't mean it's not good - he is obviously very skilled, and the sushi is well-executed. However, high-end dining is very subjective, and is often about certain culinary preferences rather than “the best” food. Not all sushi styles are created equal. Some diners love this style of sushi, and some people don't. If you can, figure out what you like, then consider whether Jiro is for you.
- If you haven't eaten expensive sushi in Japan before, this may not be the best place to start that journey. Eat somewhere less expensive, or work your way up to it! You'll probably enjoy another place just as much, if not more.
- Do expect vinegary shari. If you like your sushi rice to be noticeably tart, you'll like this. It pairs very well with some of the fattier neta.
- Chef Takashi might not be everyone's cup of tea. He is in general pleasant towards customers, especially if you take care to observe a few rules (e.g. not wearing strong perfume, not dipping the sushi in more soy sauce...). His English is also remarkably fluent, and he even speaks some Mandarin Chinese and Taiwanese. However, he can be rather blunt and outspoken on certain political issues (only applicable if you speak Japanese), and can definitely rub some people the wrong way.
If you need help with getting reservations, you can book many Michelin-starred Tokyo restaurants online with GoVoyagin. Be aware you pay a fee simply for the reservation - your meal is not included.
Sukiyabashi Jiro Roppongi Hills
3F Keyakizaka-dori, 6-12-2 Roppongi, Minato, Tokyo 106-0032
〒106-0032 Tokyo, Minato, Roppongi, 6-12-2 六本木けやき坂通り 3F
Admission: Book through your hotel concierge or online with GoVoyagin at JPY7,000 per person.
Subway: 8-minute walk from Exit 1c of Roppongi Station on the Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line.
Near To Here:
Sukiyabashi Jiro Roppongi Hills is located in Tokyo's Roppongi district. See our complete list of things to do in Tokyo's Roppongi district, including places to eat, nightlife and places to stay.
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