Maybe you’re tired of the same old options on the menu, or you’re unsure what to order but want to try something new. If you’re looking for something fresh and original, this trick will work wonders for you: ask for omakase. Where, though? Any of these affordable omakase sushi restaurants in Tokyo.
What is Omakase?
Omakase, loosely translated from Japanese as “I will leave it to you,” is the equivalent of saying, “Surprise me.” This is the magic word that gives the chef free rein to express their creativity with the ingredients at their disposal, to make something off-menu that is uniquely yours. Unlike the set dishes on the menu, omakase is a fleeting experience that will never again be replicated, so slow down and savor it. Read our beginner's guide to omakase sushi to learn more.
But of course, the art of omakase doesn’t apply everywhere. Large-scale restaurants such as chain restaurants or restaurants with limited ingredients do not offer omakase. Because of its delicate and precise nature and simple ingredients, most of the omakase restaurants in Tokyo are sushi restaurants, showcasing the absolute best of the season.
Omakase sushi, especially, has recently gained the reputation of being a pretty pricey dining experience. While this can be true for certain establishments, a tailored-to-you sushi course dinner doesn't have to break the bank, even if you're staying in the capital.
Going to Kansai? Explore the best omakase sushi restaurants in Osaka and the chef's selection of omakase sushi in Kyoto!
11 Affordable Omakase Sushi Restaurants in Tokyo
Here are some of the best, most budget-friendly omakase sushi restaurants in Tokyo:
- Sushi Tenkawa
- Sushi Oumi
- Nishiazabu Kamikura
- Nadeshico Sushi
- Imayoshi Sushi
- Ginza Saisho
- Sushidokoro Yamada
- Takumi Sushi Owana
- Seamon Ginza
- Yoshino Sushi Honten
1. Sushi Tenkawa: Seasonal Ingredients All Year Long
Sushi Tenkawa may be situated at the heart of Ebisu, but a single bite of its Edomae-style sushi is guaranteed to conjure up images of Japan's expansive nature and ocean coasts. By serving dishes that use seasonal seafood and vegetables, the restaurant aims to let guests enjoy a "sense of season," even amidst the glass and steel of the Tokyo metropolis. The restaurant strays away from the usual red vinegar in its shari rice for rice vinegar instead, resulting in a milder taste that lets the fish's natural flavor come through. The flame-grilled tuna is a must-try; its smoky flavor and fragrance make it the restaurant's most popular dish.
2. Sushi Oumi: Memorable Edomae-style Sushi at Kitano Hotel
Sushi lovers regularly return to Sushi Oumi for its delectable Edomae-style sushi and meaningful conversations with the chef. Enjoy ten nigiri sushi as well as Chef Oumi's signature conger eel and egg dish and leave with but the best memories.
An omakase lunch at Sushi Oumi is an excellent introduction to this traditional cuisine.
3. Nishiazabu Kamikura: Explore the Possibilities of Edomae-Style Sushi
Chef Takashi Kamikura heads to the market at the crack of dawn to sample, purchase and, later on, age fish to serve his guests at his restaurant in Minato City.
Chef Kamikura specializes in traditional Edomae-style sushi and exclusively uses Tsubuzoroi, a variety of rice grown and cultivated in Ogata, Akita Prefecture. To Chef Kamikura, using the best rice with the best protein makes a world of difference, and he invites each customer to discover the range of flavors and textures of Edomae-style sushi.
4. Nadeshico Sushi: Challenging Gender Stereotypes
Gender stereotypes have often created barriers to entry for women hoping to make it in the sushi restaurant scene. Traditionally, women have not been allowed to become sushi chefs in Japan, based on the myth that women’s higher body temperatures made them less suited for making sushi. Yeah.
Opened in Akihabara in 2010, Nadeshico Sushi is a women-run sushi restaurant in Tokyo that challenges this notion. Its owner and chef, Chizui Yuki, graduated from an art university and was drawn to the culinary art form of sushi. Her creations include surprising seasonings, such as peppercorns, bursting like fireworks on the palate.
5. Imayoshi Sushi: Vegetarian, Halal and Other Omakase Options
The third-generation sushi chef of Imayoshi Sushi, Gento Imai continues his family traditions of sushi making while introducing a more contemporary approach. The thoughtfully-considered menu includes halal, vegetarian, and vegan options, as well as brown rice as an alternative to the usual white sushi rice. This has made his sushi restaurant popular among foreign visitors.
6. Ginza Saisho: Sea Urchin Sushi & Sake by a Sommelier
You might know this top Tokyo sushi restaurant by its previous name—Sushi Saisho. Now trading as Ginza Saisho, in the glitzy neighborhood of Ginza, this is the place to go for fresh sea urchin sushi. Sea urchin, or uni, is their specialty, and they even have festivals in honor of this delicacy. Held irregularly, they sell out super fast, with people racing to secure a seat.
Sea urchin aside, Ginza Saisho's other sushi is top-notch, making it an excellent choice for an omakase meal. Chef Saisho hails from Akita, and is happy to share a taste of his home town through local sake, selected by a sake sommelier.
The chef brings over two decades of experience to the table, and has hosted diners from around the world — helping to create a welcoming, friendly atmosphere.
7. Sushidokoro Yamada: A Single, Superb Meal
Sushidokoro Yamada may have the best cost performance when it comes to Tokyo sushi omakase. With an intimate seating capacity of eight, no matter where you sit you'll have a front-row seat to view the chef at work. This top Tokyo sushi restaurant is fully booked every night, so it's best if you make an early reservation!
They offer only one menu, but you don't need anything else. The sushi omakase here, featuring 15 pieces, is priced at a reasonable ¥10,000. Their sushi is rich and soft, and Sushidokoro Yamada's loyal patrons say that every piece is beyond perfection.
8. Takumi Sushi Owana: Affordable Michelin-star Sushi in Tokyo
Michelin-star sushi can seem out of reach for the average person. Take Sukiyabashi Jiro, the famous Tokyo sushi shop featured in the popular documentary Jiro Dreams of Sushi: an omakase set there can be very expensive — more than the cost of a night at a luxury hotel!
However, there is still a way to enjoy Michelin-starred omakase sushi without breaking the bank. Takumi Sushi Owana offers their Michelin-star omakase sushi, prepared with exquisite craftsmanship, at an affordable price.
Book this Michelin-starred omakase course Takumi Sushi Owana for a one-of-a-kind experience in Tokyo.
9. Seamon Ginza: Try Their Sushi Lunch Set (It's a Steal)
A bit bigger than your usual sushi-ya, Seamon Ginza seats 20 people, but reservations are highly recommended because these seats fill fast. They serve superb sushi, and their sushi lunch set, which consists of nine pieces of sushi, soup, dessert, and three otsusmami (appetizers), provides great value for money.
The wasabi is freshly grated, none of that packaged and dyed fake wasabi you get at kaitenzushi (conveyor belt sushi) restaurants or in supermarket bentos. The sushi is served elegantly on gorgeous ceramic dishware, a work of art on a work of art, and the restaurant has a relaxed vibe, so you can easily mingle with other people or have a quick chat with the chef.
10. Yoshino Sushi Honten: Serving Omakase Sushi since 1879
Yoshino Sushi Honten is another affordable omakase sushi restaurant in Tokyo that serves great tasting and authentic sushi, with a long history. Founded in 1879, Yoshino Sushi Honten was the first sushi restaurant to serve toro nigiri, super fatty tuna sushi that practically melts in the mouth. Their nigiri sushi set, which consists of eight pieces of sushi and one hosomaki (thin sushi roll), is a classic favorite among patrons.
The restaurant has a working-class vibe and is the perfect place for a casual meal with family and friends. But be sure to book early, because it gets extremely crowded during lunch and dinner.
11. Kizushi: Old-school Style with Incredible Rice
Kizushi is an old-school restaurant that serves mouthwatering sushi dishes prepared Edomae-style. This Tokyo sushi-ya is housed within a building that was originally lodging for geisha. They are most proud of their shari (sushi rice), which guests find superb, with hints of saltiness, sourness, and sweetness.
Their omakase nigiri sushi set, which has 10 pieces of sushi, is one of the things people go back to because of its reasonable price that doesn’t skimp on flavor or quality. If you like things to be simple, traditional, and classy, Kizushi is the perfect restaurant for your Tokyo omakase sushi treat.
Tips for Your First Omakase Experience in Japan: Etiquette, Etc.
There are a few things to remember when dining out and choosing omakase in Tokyo or anywhere else.
First, freshen up before going to the restaurant, but avoid strongly-scented soaps (and laundry detergents), and don't apply any perfumes or colognes. Strong scents can affect the delicate flavors of the food — for both you and other patrons — so chefs ask that you keep this in mind when getting ready. Check your shoes, too — especially in the sticky summer months!
Second, always sit near the chef. This will give you a better view of what they are doing. They might ask you about your taste preferences and, from there, will create a dish that’s made especially for your palate. Also, choosing a seat near the chef gives you that intimate personal experience that is at the heart of omakase.
Third, it’s always a plus if you know how to speak their language. Usually, the chef will strike up a conversation with the guests, and if you do your best to speak in Japanese, even just a few simple Japanese phrases, they'll be impressed. But of course, it’s also important to practice reading the room. And, if you’re going to take a photo, always ask for permission first.
Lastly, if you're willing to be an adventurous eater for a day, then the omakase experience is for you. After all, these chefs create the dishes, especially for you, straight from their own imaginations. Omakase may not be the best option for people who are picky eaters or have food allergies or dietary restrictions. Always keep in mind that every dish given to you will be a surprise!
Tokyo Omakase Sushi FAQs
Here are answers to some of the most common questions about omakase sushi in Tokyo.
How expensive is omakase in Japan?
Omakase can be as expensive or as cheap as you like. There is a huge range of restaurants offering omakase sets in Japan. Most omakase is sushi, and you can find an omakase sushi set to suit every budget, from under ¥5,000 to over ¥30,000. Check out our tips to find affordable omakase sushi restaurants.
How much does omakase cost in Tokyo?
Tokyo omakase sushi sets range from under ¥5,000 to ¥30,000 and up. You can get an idea of what's available in our Tokyo sushi restaurant listings.
Is omakase worth the money?
Yes, omakase is worth every yen. It's a one-off dining experience that will stay with you for the rest of your life. See our blog post on why omakase sushi is expensive for more insights.
How much do you tip for omakase in Tokyo?
In Japan, you don't tip at omakase or other types of restaurants. Tipping is not part of the culture.
How long is an omakase in Japan?
It depends on the restaurant, but an omakase meal in Japan will typically last 1-2 hours.
What is the dress code for an omakase in Tokyo?
It depends on the restaurant. For high-end Tokyo omakase restaurants, smart or elegant attire is best. For more casual eateries, you can dress down a little. When in doubt, check with the restaurant itself.