Some of Japan’s top sushi chefs have set up shop in Osaka. The whole city is a foodie's paradise, with the Dotonbori area in particular a hub of cozy pubs, sizzling street-eats and melt-in-your-mouth seafood. In a place with so much to see and do, it's hard enough to make a decision on where to eat, much less what to order. These Osaka omakase sushi restaurants take the stress out of dining, with the menus carefully curated by the chefs. Here's what to expect at Osaka’s finest sushi spots.
What is Omakase?
Fans of Japanese cuisine may be familiar with the word "omakase". It means that the selection of dishes or ingredients that make up a meal is left to the chef’s expertise. Outside of Japan, similar arrangements might be called a blue-plate special, prix fixe menu, or “tasting menu”. The term comes with a sense of being high quality for a high price, like kaiseki or a fine-dining course dinner. However, omakase extends to include the daily selection moriawase plate (a set of nigiri sushi or other dishes served together, all at once as opposed to one by one), high-class sushi-counter service dinners, or even just a tasting sampler of a few pieces of nigiri at a beloved izakaya.
No matter what form it takes, omakase dining allows guests to lean on the chef’s skill and style to come out with a one-of-a-kind meal. For a traditional taste of Japan, try some of Osaka’s best sushi at these venues; simply order "omakase" and leave the rest to the chef.
8 Best Omakase Sushi Restaurants in Osaka
In no particular order, here is our pick of some of the most delicious sushi in Osaka:
- Hozenji Sushi Dokoro Nakatani
- Sushi Ooga
- Sushi Kuroshio Kaiko
- Kitashinchi Sushi Chikkodo
- Sushi Bettei Nakago
- Sushiya Yohei
- Sushi Hijiri
1. Hozenji Sushi Dokoro Nakatani: Michelin-starred, Individually Tailored
A Michelin-starred venue in the ¥25,000 range, this high-end omakase service comes with a special twist. Dinner may be up to the chef, but rather than keeping only the day’s specially selected ingredients on hand, he has a wide repertoire of dishes to satisfy every customer. The omakase selection at Hozenji Nakatani in Namba is individually tailored to each diner.
Your meal begins not with an amuse bouche, but with a friendly chat about your tastes, preferences and expectations for the meal. What follows is a once-in-a-lifetime experience: completely personalized dining at the hands of an expert chef. There is no concern about missing out on part of the meal due to allergies or disliked foods, since each course is prepared with you in mind. The venue only hosts seven guests at a time, so reservations are a must.
2. Sushi Ooga: Fourth-generation, Kansai-style Sushi
A fourth-generation sushi chef heads this exquisite venue in the heart of Osaka. An intimate venue serving Kansai-style sushi with delicacy and flair, just stepping through the doorway of Sushi Ooga in Sakai feels more like entering a temple than a restaurant. You can expect this omakase course to introduce lesser-known flavors and regional specialties, each prepared with love and local pride by Master Ooga.
In addition to his popular omakase sets, the chef shares his long-standing love of fine tuna with guests by way of limited all-tuna menus, showcasing the best cuts and flavors of the sushi favorite. This is the first place to go on your Osaka sushi explorations. Reservations are essential.
Bookings: Reserve Sushi Ooga online in English.
3. Sushi Kuroshio Kaiko: Seasonal Specialties
Michelin-starred sushi and small plates make up the omakase course at Kuroshio Kaiko. Their claim to fame is the “Ko-don”, an elegant riff on the Japanese family favorite, oyakodon. This dish uses a variety of fish eggs, from tobiko to caviar, in a single flavorful bite. Of course, as a sushi omakase course, the chef takes great care in selecting flavors that represent the season. Kuroshio Kaiko strives to prepare omakase meals with ingredients you won’t be able to fully enjoy at any other time. This means that the menu is always delicious, and always changing. According to old texts, every two weeks marks a new season in Japan, so the ingredients never last long!
Located just minutes from Kyobashi Station, this is one of the best sushi omakase courses in Osaka, featured by big names like Japan Airlines and many popular bloggers. Their no-reservation policy makes getting a seat a lucky break, so be ready to wait! More information.
4. Kitashinchi Sushi Chikkodo: Traditional Nigiri in a Relaxing Atmosphere
We’ve ranked this as one of the best sushi omakase spots in Osaka because the menu and atmosphere immerse guests in a traditional dining experience. Seasonal ingredients are served atop mounds of plump, hand-formed rice for some of the most delicious nigiri you’ll ever taste. Nigiri omakase sets are available as 8-, 10-, or 15-piece meals, but you can enjoy a full omakase course dinner or lunch as well.
Sushi Chikkodo is just two minutes from the busy Kitashinchi Station, but the lighting and wooden interior make guests feel as though they’ve entered another world. This is the place to relax with a few glasses of high-quality sake and fine nigiri sushi after a high-speed day exploring Osaka. More information.
5. Sohonzan: Supersize Sushi
Sohonzan, meaning “Headquarters”, is an apt name for a restaurant overseen by an intense (but extremely talented) sushi master. The owner of this shop has been using his expert eye for fresh fish for over a decade of intimate service. What makes this little spot near Korien Station so special is not just its quality, but its XL sushi. Sohonzan's nigiri is topped with extra-large servings of the season's fish. Courses are available for lunch, dinner and parties. For families, there is a kids' room, so that you can enjoy your omakase in peace while the little ones play.
Another feature that makes this one of Osaka's best sushi omakase restaurants is the way their sets are structured. You can choose from a general, up-to-the-chef nigiri menu, a set of dishes to enjoy with sake, or the chef's special selection of sushi from cuts brought in exclusively for that day's menu. More information.
6. Sushi Bettei Nakago: Value for Money
One of a series of eateries from a well-established washoku brand, you would never believe, from looking at Sushi Bettei Nakago's home page, that you can enjoy a full omakase lunch, comprising five courses, for under ¥3000 here. This spot in Shinsaibashi (near Dotonbori) is an Osaka secret, and a top omakase sushi-ya. Contemporary upscale dining unites with hundreds of years of expert training, passed down to today’s sushi masters in this one-of-a-kind omakase course.
Beautiful dinnerware adds to the ambiance and overall experience, providing guests with a meal that is equal parts traditional and refreshing. Omakase courses outside of lunch are available by price point. Guests can choose the experience that suits their taste and budget—the chef at this intimate offshoot of Nakago Honten is eager to make the experience unforgettable no matter what. More information.
7. Sushiya Yohei: Delight in the Detail
At Sushiya Yohei, headed by Chef Kenji Imanishi, the price is fixed but the menu never is. The chef at this intimate, eight-seater omakase-only venue began his journey studying washoku and sushi preparation as soon as he reached adulthood. His tenure at several top-ranked hotel restaurants earned him the grand prize in a national recipe competition at age 30. He later studied at Kyoto’s famed Saezumi, to pursue expertise in traditional Japanese counter-service omakase.
Chef Imanishi’s restaurant offers only the best nigiri sushi, paying special attention not only to the ingredients, but fine points such as temperature and bite size. Even different cuts of the same fish species, when sourced from different locales and seasons, can be prepared with attention to detail that brings out unique qualities—this is the talent and expertise you’ll find at Sushiya Yohei. Located near some of Osaka’s top hotels in Kitashinchi, this omakase course is one for the bucket list. More information.
8. Sushi Hijiri: Next Generation Sushi
Rounding off the list is a fine dining experience for the books, headed by three up-and-coming sushi masters and notable for its strict reservation policy and waiting list. All this for good reason: Hijiri's line-up of young chefs bring amazing things to their exclusive venue—and it’s not just the sushi. Nijiho Takai, now in her mid-twenties, is one of the world’s premier sushi masters. Her career began just after graduating high school, expanding quickly to a spot at a Michelin-starred sushi counter at 19, then her own establishment in South Korea soon after. Her two male counterparts share Chef Takai’s exquisite sense for sushi and creative, youthful outlook.
Hijiri is unique for its classically upscale Edomae sushi and contemporary, no-holds-barred approach to flavor, thanks to the fresh energy of its highly awarded chefs. The restaurant is near Fukushima Station. Reservations open at noon on the first of each month and fill up within minutes, making this one of Osaka’s most in-demand sushi experiences. More information.
Be your own Chef: Take a Sushi Class in Osaka
If you're keen to learn the secrets of great sushi, consider taking part in one of our Osaka sushi-making classes . Find out how to choose the freshest ingredients, make the perfect rice the way Japanese chefs have been doing for centuries, and how to slice maki rolls like a pro—all while making memories that will last a lifetime.
P.S. Browse our curated Osaka food tours, too!