Option for pairing Japanese sake with sushi

There is a theory that when pairing Japanese sake with cuisine, the two should complement each other. This means that one should complement the shortcomings of the other, and thus a harmony is achieved with the compatibility of the two pieces.

Of the five tastes, the components of sake include a balance of sweetness, umami, sourness, and bitterness. It is only missing the saltiness. However, sushi contains salt in the vinegar rice and topping, tacitly complementing sake. Sushi is delicious even eaten alone with its multi-layered umami components including acetic acid, glutamic acid and inosinic acid. By pairing with sake, you are adding the organic acids specific to sake, such as succinic acid, malic acid and lactic acid, further enhancing the taste experience.

Let’s discuss how science backs up drinking sake with sushi.

If you are looking for a new favorite sake, you should sample as many different types as you can. If that’s your aim, then filling your stomach with sushi is going to get in the way. The goal here is to ultimately find a sake that pairs well with sushi.

First, you should ask for a small amount of Junmaishu and Ginjoshu (or Junmai-Ginjoshu) recommended by your sushi chef. See the sensation they create in your mouth, whether there is a sweetness or a dryness, and note the fragrance and acidity. Immediately after eating a piece of sushi, try tasting the sake. Your impression may change a lot when paired with the sushi compared to the first sip. This is the true pleasure of pairing sushi and sake.

Feel free to enjoy two glasses of your favorite or try one glass each of two types. With the first tasting, you will end up having a total of about two glasses. This is said to be the perfect amount for your 2-hour stay, giving you a slight buzz without dulling your taste buds. In other words, it is the perfect amount for enjoying sushi. The cost for this option is JPY 3.500 per person. Please write “Pairing Sake” in the Special Requests field.


We hope this information will be helpful.

Revision date: May 1, 2019

A Michelin Guide secret eater from the US?!

The other day I had a very interesting guest at Sushi University from America. I’d like to introduce them to you. It was their first time in Japan and they stayed in Tokyo for a week. They planned to see Asakusa, the Shibuya scramble crossing, Meiji Shrine, the robot restaurant and all the other usual tourist sites. However, the conversation all seemed to be focused on food.

I asked what they planned to eat. They answered that they would be going to restaurants like Tsunahachi (Tempura), Japanese Soba Noodles Tsuta (the first ramen restaurant in the world to be awarded a Michelin star), and Steakhouse Sato. They had already lined up early in the morning at the Sugamo ramen restaurant, Tsuta, to collect a numbered ticket apparently.

The thing that surprised me most is that they were going to Sukiyabashi Jiro the day after their Sushi University experience.

If you are visiting Japan, I hope that you too will come to Sushi University before going to an expensive Michelin Star restaurant, so you can learn a bit about Edo style sushi. The reason is that sushi masters are just humans who want to provide something delicious to customers who will understand their sushi. For example, just slightly different parts of tuna have a totally different tastes. In order to understand these kinds of details for your chef, you need to have some knowledge of sushi toppings and Edomae-style sushi.

If you like sushi, you can’t continue to only judge the toppings on freshness and the fat content. Even if you don’t speak Japanese, with repetition, I hope you will reach a level that you can meet the challenges set forth by the sushi chef (understanding the Edomae-style techniques that have gone into each piece).

On the other hand, there is nothing wrong with a special trip to visit a restaurant with a Michelin star as part of your vacation so you can boast about it with your friends. I have also visited Paris’s Guy Savoy and Florence’s Enoteca Pinchiorri, and treasure those memories myself.

Returning the conversation to the American guest, they did already have impressive knowledge about sushi. Even their sushi chef was impressed at their knowledge. They had also done their own research and were talking about Ginza’s Sawada (two Michelin stars) and SUSHI BAR YASUDA. On top of that, they had come to Sushi University to test their skills and took that knowledge to Sukiyabashi Jiro. In the major American cities, there are a wide range of omakase sushi courses that cost over $300, at which they had eaten many times and had negative comments.

They didn’t want California Rolls, they had an interest in traditional Edomae sushi.

Perhaps they were a Michelin secret eater.

If so, that’s perfectly fine. You can find sushi delicious even if you don’t have the knowledge. But with each learning experience you will enjoy the sushi even more. I hope it helps in improving your experience, even if it’s just a little bit.


We hope this information will be helpful.

Revision date: March 12, 2019

Automatic reply mails from Sushi University

The reply from the reservation system is  based on the application by the guests autocratically. The original information of your reservation cannot be updated by our system. If there is a change, the new information will not be reflected in the following 4 automatic reply mails.

[Automatic reply mails from Sushi University]

1.The thank you mail to inform you the acceptance for your application

2.The mail to confirm your reservation

3.The mail to reconfirm your reservation : will be delivered the day before Sushi University

4.(only if) The mail to inform you the acceptance for your cancel


We hope this information will be helpful.

Revision date: October 15, 2018

Frequently Asked Questions-Sushiuniversity

What is the appeal of Sushi University?

We are sure you’ve never heard of an interpreter accompanying you to a restaurant. Why does Sushi University go through the trouble of providing an interpreter? This is because sushi restaurants have an element that you won’t find at any other restaurant in the world. That is because they are the only restaurants where you can have a direct conversation with the chef. Sushi chefs make the sushi in front of the customers and in addition to chatting while the sushi is being made, they also make an effort to invite conversation that inspires thoughts of the changing seasons and make your experience memorable. Normally this isn’t an option for visitors who don’t speak Japanese, but our interpreter gives you this opportunity. This is one thing that makes Sushi University interesting and unique.


What to expect

The more you know about sushi, the better it tastes. Let’s consider the meaning of these words.

Fish and shellfish are worked with while they are still fresh and fixed into a state that they can be stored. This process was created for Edo-style sushi and has continued to be passed down for approximately 200 years.

These methods were normal practice during a time without refrigerators and the practices continue in almost the same way today. However, the purpose has shifted from optimum storage to optimum taste of each ingredient. In other words, sublimation for even more delicious sushi.

The techniques known as “work” on the sushi, including salting and soaking in vinegar, steaming and boiling and thorough pickling are commonly known in Edo-style sushi, but do you think about which work is applied to each individual topping when you eat it?

Just slicing up seafood and slapping it on some vinegar rice is not Edo-style sushi. It’s fresh. It has fat on it. You should think about the work put into the dish, not just whether the fish is sweet or fatty.

Sushi University offers plans that allow you to acquire basic knowledge of Edo-style sushi while you’re eating. After the lecture you’ll want to visit sushi restaurants even more than ever before.


Why us

Sushi University interpreters aren’t just translating the words. There are a lot of things that even regulars at sushi restaurants don’t know. This is because restaurant mentor is always watching over everyone and is in a position to answer questions honestly. The mentor normally doesn’t take the initiative to talk to people and it might just be the interpreter’s job to create opportunities for dialogue.

Our interpreters are able to do this because they are well-versed in Edo-style sushi and have a firm grasp of the basics of why each sushi dish is good and what work was done to make it so delicious. Interpreters who are not familiar with sushi get caught up in just the words of the interpreting and often don’t have the capacity to engage in meaningful exchange with the mentor. Not just anyone can become an interpreter.


What sushi restaurants does Sushi University visit?

This information isn’t disclosed until the day of the course. If students learn the name of the sushi restaurant in advance, they may search for it online and find mistaken information or acquire unnecessary preconceptions. The course is not about where you will eat the sushi, but why it is delicious and what Edo-style work has gone into the dishes to create that flavor. This is what you should focus on during your visit. Thank you for your understanding.


Can you provide interpreters for languages other than English?

In Tokyo there are very few interpreters for languages other than English. However, if you apply well in advance, we may be able to find an interpreter in your language of choice. In this case, an extra fee will be applied.


Can children participate in the program?

Sushi University courses are not overly formal, but participants need to stay in their seats for a period of time. Please consider this when making your reservation.


Is there a children’s menu available?

Unfortunately, the sushi roll dishes that children tend to enjoy such as Salmon and Avocado rolls and California rolls are not available on a traditional Edo style sushi menu. For children, the portions and number of toppings will be reduced and served without wasabi.


Is it OK to take photos during the lecture?

It is OK to take photos of anything you are interested in, such as sushi ingredients and knife skills. A sushi master has given us permission. Please be careful not to accidentally get a picture of any other customers. However, please refrain from taking video and uploading to sites like YouTube.


Can I book a large party online?

Online reservations can be made for up to seven guests. For a party of 8 or more people, or anyone who is interested in reserving an entire restaurant, please email services@sushiuniversity.jp with the name of the course, the date, the number of people, your name and etc.


What is the cancellation policy?

If you need to cancel or amend your booking, please let us know as soon as possible. No cancellation fee will be charged as long as the booking is cancelled at least 24 hours in advance.


How do I cancel my booking?

Bookings must be cancelled on the link included in the email confirming the reservation. Cancelations will not be accepted over the phone.


What if an emergency happens and I have to cancel last minute?

Cancellations are handled on a case by case basis and at a manager’s discretion. We will always be hospitable and take the circumstances into consideration.


Do your oils contain trans-fat?

Our oils do not contain trans-fat.


Am I allowed to bring my own drinks?

No, guests are not allowed to bring their own drinks under any circumstance.


Do you allow smoking inside the building?

No, we’re sorry, we do not.


What types of payment do you take?

We are sorry to inform you but we do not accept payment by credit card. We only accept payment by cash only.


How do I make a complaint, say thanks or suggest an idea?

Complaints, compliments and suggestions can be sent to us via email to

services@sushiuniversity.jp


Can I make a Sushi University reservation for one?

The minimum reservation is 2 people. The problem is that for a single reservation, the interpreter’s fee would have to be covered by only one customer. Communicating with the sushi chef is the most important part of this course and is a major part of the fee.


We hope this information will be helpful.

Revision date: July 12, 2019