If you’re pressed for time but still want decent sushi, skip the conveyor belt chain restaurants and come over to Yoshinozushi Honten in Nihonbashi. Their reasonably-priced lunch nigiri sets put the fast in fast food.
The JPY3,000 nigirizushi set. - image © Florentyna Leow
Yoshinozushi is a casual, unassuming sushi shop that’s a short walk away from Takashimaya in the Nihonbashi neighbourhood. It’s not the kind of restaurant that sees queues - perhaps because it has two popular shops right next to it offering competitively-priced grilled meat rice bowls and soba noodles. That doesn’t mean it’s bad; it just means that they’re not competing with their neighbours on price.
The entrance to Yoshinozushi in Nihonbashi. - image © Florentyna Leow
Yoshinozushi has a very limited menu. From the few choices here, you’ll want to consider either the chirashizushi (rice scattered with assorted chopped raw fish) or nigirizushi (shaped, pressed rice with assorted raw fish or seafood on top). For the former, it’s available at JPY1,500, JPY2,000, or JPY2,500. For the latter, it’s available in sets ranging from JPY1,500 to JPY3,000, also in JPY500 increments.
The JPY,3000 set. - image © Florentyna Leow
When it comes to nigirizushi, at least, the higher the price point, the more pieces of sushi you get. Rice and fish alone can be pretty light meal. Go with the JPY3,000 set for a more filling lunch.
There are 4 - 5 chefs behind the counter - steady, constant action. - image © Florentyna Leow
Sushi was the original fast food in Edo, and at Yoshinozushi they put the fast in fast food. The nigiri set arrived in less than 5 minutes after I’d placed my order. You could have lunch here in less than half an hour - great if you’re an office worker pressed for time.
Close-up of ikura - shiny orange orbs of cod roe. - image © Florentyna Leow
The devil’s in the details. One thing that places them a cut above other sushi restaurants in a similar price bracket is that they use real wasabi. Usually, I order my sushi “sabi-nuki” or without wasabi, mostly because I dislike the aggressive heat of faux wasabi, i.e. the horseradish paste substitutes that are so common in cheaper establishments. I’d forgotten to specify how I like my sushi this time round, but luckily for me they use actual wasabi - a small dab on each piece. I caught a glimpse of the chef behind the counter grating wasabi roots on a sharkskin grater.
Left to right: Prawn, fatty tuna, lean tuna, anago (seawater eel), ikura. - image © Florentyna Leow
The seafood is entirely serviceable for this style of sushi - reasonably fresh and treated with respect. There’s a nice variety of fish here: two cuts of tuna (toro and akami - fatty and lean respectively), ikura (cod roe), sweet prawn, horse mackerel (on the flat, slightly iron-tasting side), various white fish. The rice itself is a little warm (around body temperature), seasoned with vinegar and a little on the salty side. Altogether, satisfying but not mind-blowing. It’s the kind of sushi you would pay around $60 for Stateside, to be eaten at half the price here.
The finishing piece - tamagoyaki. - image © Florentyna Leow
In lieu of dessert, sushi sets or meals usually finish with a piece of tamagoyaki or Japanese-style omelette. This is typically on the sweeter, more custardy side. The best pieces in this set were, surprisingly, the finishing egg and the anago (seawater eel) that preceded it. The tamagoyaki was an eggy, soft, pillowy blanket in both taste and appearance; the anago also soft and beautifully flaky.
This isn’t the best sushi you’ll eat in your life, nor does it aspire to be. It’s a straightforward nigirizushi set that’s surprisingly far better than what you’d expect for this price. It’s not worth queuing hours for, but perfect when you want to pop in and out very quickly for lunch. Luckily, it’s easy to walk right in at lunch.
Outside Exit B4 of Nihonbashi Station. - image © Florentyna Leow
Directions: take exit B4 from Nihonbashi Station. Takashimaya will be in front of you when you get to street level. Turn left. At the end of the road, turn right, and walk for a block and a half. After passing a soba shop and a grilled intestines restaurant, you’ll see Yoshinozushi on your right on the corner of a block of buildings.
Name in Japanese:
3-8-11 Nihonbashi, Chūō, Tokyo 103-0027
Mon - Fri: 11:00am～1:45pm (L.O), 4:30pm～9:30pm (L.O)
Subway: 4-minute walk from Exit B4 of Nihonbashi Station on the Tokyo Metro Ginza Line or Tozai Lines.
:: Read customer reviews of Yoshinozushi Honten on TripAdvisor
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