What is Omakase? Exploring Sushi with Chef Gento Imai in Tokyo

By Emily Suvannasankha
Updated: November 17, 2022

For any lover of the delicate art of sushi, omakase sushi is a must-try in Japan.

What is Omakase?

You might be wondering, "What is omakase?" The word "omakase" means "I'll leave it up to you," signifying that the chef can have creative license for the duration of the meal, choosing each piece of sushi for you. This exciting "surprise" way to experience a sushi meal will keep you on your toes!

Book the Tokyo Omakase Sushi Experience with Personal Chef >>

The Craft of Omakase Sushi in Tokyo with Chef Gento Imai

Ordering the omakase course at a sushi restaurant can seem like a gamble, but often means you'll get treated to the chef's most delectable specialties and seasonal pieces. Some sushi lovers liken the experience to an artistic performance as the chef masterfully crafts and innovates the whole sushi course for the sake of each customer. It's a great way to try special cuts of fish and seafood you've never had before!

A young Japanese sushi chef in his white uniform leans on the wooden counter

At Tokyo sushi restaurant Imayoshi, Chef Imai is a third-generation sushi chef uniquely modernizing his family business with healthy brown rice, as well as vegan, vegetarian, and halal options. His dedication to buying fresh fish in top condition and transforming them into even more delicious sushi makes this restaurant a must-try for any fan of sushi in Tokyo.

In this video, to celebrate the restaurant's 100th anniversary, he treats Shizuka to an omakase sushi meal that surprises and challenges her with every bite. Watch her try rich fatty tuna, sashimi cut in the luxurious kazari boucho style, melt-in-your-mouth sea urchin, and more!

How do sushi chefs decide what order to serve omakase sushi pieces in? Find out in the video!

Fatty cut of tuna during an omakase meal

Chef Imai lets us in on all his secret tips to having the best sushi experience. He suggests sitting at the counter to get a firsthand look as the chef crafts your fresh sushi and letting the chef pick the perfect Japanese sake to go with your particular sushi course. Watch as Shizuka reacts to this double "omakase" experience, enjoying Japanese sake served in Chef Imai's sparkling, jewel-like Edo kiriko sake glasses.

The meal ends with a fascinating dessert that Shizuka has never seen before, served in a charming, small cube shape. It's fluffy, finely textured, and utterly unique to the sushi experience. What ingredients is this mysterious dessert made of? Go on this journey with Shizuka as she answers the question, "What is omakase?" and learns about each piece of sushi, enjoying the luxurious omakase experience.

Experience "Omakase" at Imayoshi Sushi Restaurant in Tokyo

Close-up of preparing high-quality, luxurious maguro tuna sushi

Craving a taste of Chef Imai's handcrafted sushi? Book this Tokyo Omakase Sushi Experience with Personal Chef for an intimate dining experience at Imayoshi Sushi with up to 8 people. Or, make it alcoholic with this sake pairing! At this upscale sushi restaurant, you'll feel the spirit of omotenashi, or wholehearted hospitality, firsthand. Enjoy 15 top-quality, handpicked pieces of sushi, seasonal appetizers, soup, and dessertand don't forget the sake!

On a budget? Check out our article covering affordable omakase sushi restaurants in Tokyo!

Tag along on Shizuka's other adventures as she dines with demons at Akita Dining Namahage Ginza and attempts traditional Japanese candy making.

We strive to be as accurate as possible and keep up with the changing landscape of Japan’s food and travel industries. If you spot any inaccuracies, please send a report.
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Emily Suvannasankha
Masquerading as a grad student in Linguistics, Emily can typically be found counting the minutes ‘til her next peach chūhai. She has two years in Nagoya before her need for jumbo peanut butter sends her crawling back to the US.
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