Best supporting role for wasabi that magnifies the umami in sushi many times over

Back before there were refrigerators, wasabi was indispensable for Nigirizushi, eliminating the fishy smell and also providing bactericidal effects to prevent the fish from spoiling. Wasabi is originally from Japan and it has been used in Edo-style sushi from the very beginning. Even with all the advancements in technology for storing sushi toppings, wasabi is still used today to remove the fishy smell and prevent spoiling. However, nowadays the flavor and aroma of wasabi and the way it brings out the flavor of the sushi topping is the main focus.

When wasabi is grated and exposed to the air, its unique heat is made enhanced by enzymes. Using a coarse grater gives the wasabi a rough, fibrous texture that spreads the spicy flavor through to the back of the throat. On the other hand, if Sharkskin wasabi is grated finely, it foams up with tiny bubbles and makes a creamy taste. The type of wasabi depends on the personality of the shop.

However, the powdered wasabi and wasabi paste you find at kaiten-zushi (conveyor belt sushi) is primarily made from horseradish and is colored and scented with additives. It isn’t dried wasabi and it is significantly cheaper.


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Revision date: June 6, 2017

Judge a chef’s ability and quality of the shop by its Anago (Conger eel)

Sushi restaurants that advertise “Edo style” on the sign somewhat fear customers who order Anago right off the bat. If the customer then eats as if they are really taking the time to taste the sushi, then any chef not fully confident in their skills will want to hide under the sushi counter.

Anago is a topping that really demonstrate a chef’s skills (or lack thereof).

Edo-style sushi chefs work on many toppings. Anago is a perfect example of these toppings. It is actually first steamed to remove the fat. However, it’s a difficult balance to remove the fat while still leaving the umami. The steamed Anago is then boiled and flavored. Since the fish is plain, the flavoring is also a subtle skill and not an easy task.

Depending on the shop, the chef may make the sushi with the boiled fish, use Nitsume (boiling down) to bring out the flavor or lightly roast the fish before combining it with the rice. The chef’s ideas and abilities are apparent in the final dish. If the sushi is made from the freshly boiled fish, it should be soft and melt in your mouth…if the chef knows what they are doing! Lightly roasted Anago will have an aroma that fills your entire mouth.

The work this topping takes to serve is a chance for sushi shops to show off their specialties, but it is also a clear indicator of the quality of the shop. The level of the chef and quality of the sushi shop will be revealed as soon as you place Anago in your mouth.


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Revision date: May 27, 2017

Gizzard shad (kohada) flavor is refined by exquisite salt seasoning!

According to most sushi masters, salt is the defining factor in the taste of gizzard shad (kohada).

Before seasoning gizzard shad with vinegar, the process starts with salting the spread open shad. It is the length the fish is salted that makes or breaks the fish. The reason for salting the gizzard shad is not just for flavoring, but also to draw out the umami of the fish. Salting for too long results in a briny taste; too short and the umami won’t come to the fore. The timing must be perfect in order to achieve that emotional “umami” moment.

This timing can be compared to boiling eggs: 3 minutes gets you soft-boiled eggs but five minutes gets you hard-boiled eggs. With eggs you can follow this rule of thumb, but no such rule exists for the spotted shad. The conditions for the salting time differ depending on the temperature, humidity, size of the fish and the degree of fat.

For example, a more slender fish in the middle of summer may be salted for 30 minutes, but a fatty fish in the winter needs to be salted for four hours. Just a few minutes longer or shorter than the perfect salting time completely changes the taste of the final dish.

Skilled chefs adjust the time on a daily basis according to the weather and the quality of the fish. Shops that can provide precisely the same spotted shad taste every day of the year are truly the best of the best.


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Revision date: May 29, 2017

How do you order at a sushi restaurant?

The sushi restaurant is unusual in that the customer sitting at the counter can see the seafood (neta) from which individual servings will be made, and can watch the chef deftly perform his art while enjoying lively conversation. Sushi restaurants also differ from other restaurants when it comes to menus.

Typically there aren’t any.

If the customer is inclined to worry about what the bill will come to, he orders Okimari (combination set)*. This consists of 7 to 10 pieces of nigiri-sushi and nori-maki selected by the proprietor in such a way as to allow them to offer an affordable price. It is cheaper because, like ready-made clothes, Okimari is not necessarily made piece by piece to fill individual orders. Of course, it will not be of inferior quality. Okimari is prepared by the chef and his assistants in the same way that everything else the shop is prepared. If the diner still wants more, they are always free to order sushi of their choice (Okonomi). Generally Japanese customers eat no more than 10 pieces of nigiri-sushi.

People at the counter most often order Okonomi (a la carte)**, which may be likened to having suits tailor-made from the finest fabrics. The customer who orders only the best will find that the check at the end can get a little expensive. But this is worth remembering (sushi worth eating is never inexpensive).

Long ago people used to say that first ordering Okimari and then ordering Okonomi after was the best deal for eating sushi, but that is a thing of the past. Actually, there are more and more shops that don’t allow Okonomi orders. The only choice is Omakase***. In some cases, all customers sitting at the counter take their seats at the same time and eat the same dishes and the same sushi in the same order. Even if you know nothing about sushi toppings, if you leave it to a master sushi chef, they will provide you with a combination boasting a good balance of early, peak and late season sushi. Omakase is great as it allows you to concentrate on genuinely enjoying the sushi and, especially if you’re visiting a shop for the first time, there will be no confusion regarding the best dishes.

*Okimari-The price and menu content are easily understood when ordering “Okimari”. The rank of “Tokujou”, “Jou”, “Nami” are often used. Order additional sushi as you like for a more fulfilling experience.

**Okonomi-A way customers choose and order sushi they want to eat. If you clearly know what you like and want to enjoy eating at your own pace, ordering “Okonomi” your choice of sushi, would be best.

***Omakase-If you don’t have any preferences, and you are happy to have a professional choose the most delicious toppings from that day’s catch, then ask for Omakase.


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Revision date: December 3, 2018

The real way of making shari (vinegared rice) by a sushi master. There are 4 tips!

In order to bring sushi to life, it is extremely important how shari is made. Let me introduce a cooking method, a top grade sushi master uses.

First, wash the rice gently. Leave it to soak for about half an hour and let it fully absorb water. The first tip is to keep the water level of the rice even in this way.

The rice should be cooked with water with a ratio of 10 to 9. A little less water than the regular rice, so that it is cooked slightly hard. This is the second tip.

While you wait for the rice to cook, make awasezu* by adding salt and sugar in vinegar. Also, set up hangiri (rice-cooling tub) for mixing the rice. Don’t forget to wipe the inside with a wet kitchen towel to prevent the rice from sticking to it.

Once the rice has finished cooking, leave it to steam for about 15 minutes and dump it out into hangiri. Pour awasezu immediately and let it sit for 30 seconds or so. Because the rice absorbs vinegar only while it is hot, managing this process quickly is the third tip.

After letting it sit for 30 seconds, spread the rice out with shamoji (rice spatula) as if cutting it down. Make sure that vinegar goes around using a cutting motion vertically. Additionally, fan the rice using a uchiwa (fan) to remove the moisture of vinegar and mix the rice with a cutting motion horizontally this time. Fanning with uchiwa is not to cool down the rice (Do not put the rice in the fridge to cool it down.), but to dry up the excess moisture of vinegar. Moving both hands as you consider it is the fourth tip.

After the rice is vinegared evenly, assemble it in one place and cover it with a damp kitchen towel. In about an hour, it is ready when shari is settled. (Body temperature) Even in a hurry, if you don’t give at least 30 minutes, it won’t help the taste of course, and also won’t make it easy to form the rice for sushi. If you rush at the end, all the delicate attention up to this will be in vain.

*A professional recipe for awasezu is as follows. This is a recipe for short grain rice species such as Koshihikari and Sasanishiki. Slightly sticky rice like calrose is not suitable for sushi rice.

9 cups rice

8 cups plus 1 tbsp plus 1 tsp water

8 tbsp plus 1 tsp vinegar ~ 12 tbsp vinegar

2 tbsp plus 1 tsp salt

1 tbsp plus 1 tsp sugar ~ 2 tbsp plus 2 tsp sugar


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Revision date: May 18, 2017

Salmon is not used as a topping in Edo-style sushi!

 

The Japanese were not in the habit of eating salmon raw. Salmon was not a traditional topping in Edo-style sushi. The reason for this is that the existence of parasites has been well-known since long ago and there was no way to prepare the salmon raw.

According to the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, salmon must be frozen at -20℃ for at least 24 hours in order to completely kill all parasites. Salmon served at sushi restaurants must be stored frozen and then thawed before serving.

The type of salmon (sake) you find in Japan is Chum salmon. However, most of the salmon served raw at sushi restaurants is Atlantic salmon. This is a popular topping throughout the world due to the high fat content and smooth texture achieved by sea farming in places like Norway and Chile. The fish are strictly managed from water quality to the effects on the environment, so there are very few issues with parasites and the salmon can be eaten raw. However the fact remains that the fish are administered a number of chemicals due to concern of spread of disease-causing germs in the farms.

Even when salmon roe and sea urchin first started to be used as toppings, most sushi chefs said that these didn’t count as Nigirizushi and refused to use them. However the favorable reputation of sea urchin sushi in Ginza won out, it started to be used by more chefs and eventually became one of the major dishes.

The fifth generation sushi chef at one long-standing shop says, “If it’s what the customers want, then salmon may also be rolled as Nigirizushi in the near future.” It may even become part of the standard menu.

At a pre-Edo sushi shop that features Hokkaido toppings, they are actually serving ultra-high grade salmon such as Keiji* and Tokishirazu**.

*Keiji are young salmon with immature ovaries or testes. Only 1-2 Keiji are found in a normal catch of 10,000 salmon. Normal salmon fat content is 2-15% but the Keiji have a very high body fat percentage at 20-30%.

**Tokishirazu are salmon swimming upstream at the beginning of summer. They are the same chum salmon found in the fall, but since they aren’t caught during the spawning season, the fish don’t have eggs or milt, and instead have a high fat content. The name “Tokishirazu” stems from the fact that these fish are caught out of season, in summer and the name means ”ignorant of time”


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Revision date: May 9, 2017

What type of vinegar do sushi restaurants use?

Instead of looking at the topping, take a moment to focus on the vinegared rice (shari). This shari is made of a blend of red and white vinegar.

When the Edo style sushi first appeared, red vinegar (made from fermented sake lees) was used for the sushi rice. Approximately 200 years ago Matazaemon Nakano, founder of Mizkan (a condiment manufacturer) invented red vinegar, which circulated and was used throughout Edo. At the time, red vinegar was used because it was more inexpensive than vinegar made from rice (white vinegar).


Instead of looking at the topping, take a moment to focus on the vinegared rice (shari). This shari is made using only white vinegar.

Nowadays the more fragrant rice vinegar (white vinegar) is used nearly exclusively but increasingly more shops have rediscovered the full-bodied but mild red vinegar and are using it in their dishes. Various restaurants have even come up with new ideas such as blending multiple vinegars or using different vinegar depending on the fish. Ultimately the sushi chef can exercise their own ingenuity in matching topping flavors with white or red vinegar.


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Revision date: April 27, 2017

Why is it that sea urchin can taste bitter?

Some people say that “Sea urchin in a wooden box (called ‘hako-uni’ or ‘ori-uni’ or ‘boxed sea urchin’) has a bitter medicine taste”. When a sea urchin loses its freshness, its starts to disintegrate so an additive called alum is used to maintain its shape. If you’ve ever tried a sea urchin that tasted bitter*, this may be the reason.


Sea urchin soaked in brine without using alum (called ‘ensui-uni’ or ‘saltwater sea urchin’) is also commonly found. There is also a new technology that doesn’t use alum. In this method nitrogen water (water from which oxygen has been removed and then nitrogen dissolved) is used when sealing. The effect of replacing oxygen with nitrogen is inhibited oxidation, maintaining freshness of the sea urchin.

*An “off flavor” that takes away from the primary good tastes.


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Revision date: April 18, 2017

Surprisingly, there are sushi restaurants established from over 100 years ago in Tokyo.

 

About 200 years ago (around 1810-1830), Yohei Hanaya opened up the oldest nigiri sushi restaurant in Japan. It is said that this was the beginning of edomaesushi. As expected, none of the restaurants remain to this day, no matter how popular they were in those days. However, if relating to those lasting more than a century, as many as 10 still exist in Tokyo. It is such a surprise and many respect that they’ve managed to survive, still keeping their business running now. We will introduce those old restaurants in the order of its establishment.


KUDANSHITA SUSHIMASA

First started as a stall in 1861 at Nihonbashi area, relocated to Kudanbashi and then opened the restaurant in 1923. The beauty of wooden architect managed to survive the war and it has a 100-year history. They carefully prepare sushi ingredients with appropriate amount of vinegar and salt. Take Kohada for instance, they adjust the amount of salt depending on the thickness of fish fillet, fat content, temperature and humidity of the air. Check the glossiness of the vinegared kohada fish, and decide the best timing to serve. Enjoy superb sushi prepared with the traditional recipe passed on for generations.


JANOMEZUSHI HONTEN Established in 1865


BENTENMIYAKOZUSHI Established in 1866


YAHATAZUSHI Established in 1868

During the end of Edo period, many of samurai lords who had served for Tokugawa government lost their jobs. Many of them disguised themselves as dango rice dumpling seller. The first owner of Yahata-zushi was one of them, started the business as dango rice dumpling stall and then the second generation owner began serving sushi. The fourth and fifth chef now run the kitchen behind the counter. The fourth chef has a 62-year experience and he is the respected patriarch chef in Tokyo and serves traditional Edomae-style sushi with careful preparation. The fifth chef adheres to basic principle of sushi making while embarking on new-style. He uses sun-dried salt produced in the French Basque Country for well-matured akami red fish such as tuna, and sea urchin from Hokkaido. Other must-eat ingredients are, the highest quality tuna from long-time partner vendor at Tsukiji market and rare tuna caught at the sea near Miyakejima island and matured for good five days.


OTUNASUSHI Established in 1875


YOSHINOSUSHI HONTEN

Opened in 1879, Yoshino sushi has served excellent Edomae-style sushi. Now the fifth-generation owner runs the restaurant. The second-generation owner first started using Toro, fatty tuna meat while most of the chef discarded it. That was because food freezing was not in widespread use at that time and fatty content of fish went bad quickly. Soon Toro was quickly raved by their regular customers as delicious treat. First it was called “abu” as it came from “abura” meaning fat in Japanese, but it didn’t sound as good as it tastes, so they changed it to “toro” meaning mild and tasty. They will feed you interesting stories to go along with sushi dish. One of them is that they had never considered Gunkan roll of ikura and uni sea urchin as sushi since Gunkan never requires hand rolling techniques as other hand roll sushi does. They use only salt and vinegar to make sushi rice not a slight use of sugar and mirin. And then they carefully prepare fish ingredients to go with vinegared rice. Enjoy delicious sushi dish however you like in a casual atmosphere.


JANOICHI HONTEN Established in 1889


ASAKUSA SUSHISEI Established in 1891


KIBUNZUSHI Established in 1903


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Revision date: April 11, 2017

Why is it important to avoid wearing too much perfume?

It is often said that the taste, texture and fragrance of sushi should be enjoyed. For example, the striking scent with traces of acidity that gives you a sense of the iron content in tuna. Abalone has a salty fragrance with an abundant seaweed smell. Don’t let perfume get in the way of your enjoyment of the joy of smoked straw scent that penetrates your nose the moment when you put dried bonito in your mouth.

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Revision date: April 3, 2017

Notes for visitors to the observation area at the Tsukiji wholesale fish market? (2017-2018)

We really don’t understand but there is a regulation, that taking photos is prohibited at a seafood wholesale market. And its visiting hours have recently changed from 10am11am) started from 15 June, 2018.

Even though cameras are forbidden as a rule, if you ask intermediate wholesalers for permission, they will gladly let you take pictures. It doesn’t seem quite right to me to have such a rule, as if it were an art museum.

We would like to thank all the intermediate wholesalers who willingly accepted me for shootings at their shops. We are praying you will carry on more thriving business.

We hope this information will be helpful.

Revision date: May 23, 2018

The A to Z of Sushi Glossary

Among Sushi Glossary (sushi terms), there is a word called “Fucho” which is unfamiliar even to Japanese. It would be cool if you knew, but it wouldn’t be embarrassing even if you didn’t. However, these terms are used between pros. It seems senseless if customers use them and sushi chefs might find it off-putting. *Japanese terms will be italicized on sushi glossary page.

Aburi-To bring out the deliciousness by searing the skin and melting the fat. Used on a type of fish with fat between its skin and meat.

Agari-A Japanese sushibar term for green tea. A term for green tea at a Japanese sushi bar, which helps freshen the mouth by washing away any fatty taste.

Akazu-Red vinegar made from sake lees, characterized by a strong flavor, slight sweetness and its reddish color.

Akami-Lean tuna, cut from the back of the fish. See also Maguro.

Aniki-Things that are older. Food ingredients that need to be used earlier. The opposite of this word is “Otouto”.

Astaxanthin-A red-colored component found in organisms such as salmon, shrimp, and crab. It has been drawing an attention for having an excellent anti oxidative effect and oxidation prevention.

BachimonoWasabi (Japanese horseradish) other than the ones from Izu Amagi, which is called “Honbamono“.

Donshari-Regular rice that is not vinegared.

Dress-Fish, whose head and internal organs have been removed.

Edomae-Edomae means sushi using fish from the sea that lies before the Edo town. Although the fishes caught only in Tokyo Bay are not enough to feed numerous sushi lovers. The excellent work of Edomae sushi chef in which the ingredients are vinegared or seasoned with soy sauce after salted, a common method for longer preservation.

Furijio-To sprinkle salt lightly all over an ingredient. Causing an effect of making it salted, extracting moisture, and tightening its texture.

Gari-A sushi-bar term for pickled ginger. Pickled ginger that helps cleanse the palate after eating fatty sushi like Ohtoro.

Geso-Squid legs.

Geta-Wooden sushi plate

Gezakana -Relatively low-cost sushi ingredients, such as gizzard shad and horse mackerel. Bluefin tuna used to be also called gezakana in the Edo period, for losing its freshness easily.

Gunkanmaki-Sushi made by wrapping dried seaweed around vinegared rice, topped with salmon roe and sea urchin which is easy to crumble on top.

Gyoku-Egg omelet

Haneru-To throw away a part of something or the whole thing that cannot be used for ingredients.

Haran (Baran)-Plant leaves used as dividers and decorations when sushi is served. Mostly bamboo leaves in the Kanto region.

Hashiri-Referring to when fish have just started to come on the market and they are highly sought after even though they are still not mature in flavor

Hikarimono– Fish sliced for serving with the silver fish skin left on. Typical of Iwashi, Aji, Sayori, Sanma, Kohada

Himo-Mantle of shell

Ikejime-A process of cutting the medulla oblongata off of live fish, removing the nerves and draining the blood.

Inrouzume-A small boiled squid stuffed with sushi rice, Kanpyou, chopped Shiitake mushrooms, Oboro, and etc.

Irizake-A traditional Japanese seasoning made by boiling down Japanese sake with pickled plums etc.

Jukusei-Maturing. By preserving fish in refrigerator with adequate water content and temperature, the umami taste will be condensed. The maturing period is usually a couple of days, sometimes it lasts for weeks.

Kan – A unit for counting sushi

Katamiduke-Using one side of a fish’s body to make sushi.

Kataomoi-One-sided love:Abalone, for having a shell on only one side of its body.

Kazari boucho-Small cuts onto the ingredients in order to make it look beautiful.

Kakushi boucho-Make slits onto the firm ingredients in order to make it easier to bite.

Kiritsuke-To cut fish for sushi topping shapes after slicing into three fillets and taking off skin, bones and such.

Kizu-Dried gourd shavings (Kanpyomaki)

Kobujime-The fish ingredients marinated between sheets of kelp and then let sit overnight in the refrigerator.

Konawasabi-Powdered horseradish (a.k.a. wasabi daikon), which is reasonable but has a weak flavor.

Kusa (Nori)-Purple layer seaweed pressed into thin sheets. It is essential for sushi roll and Gunkanmaki. High-quality one is flavorful, shiny, and has a smooth texture.

Makiosame-To eat norimaki at the end of a course of nigiri sushi. This action indicates that “this sushi is going to be the last one to eat.”

Maruduke-Making sushi with one whole fish.

Meji-Young bluefin tuna (Maguro) which weighs about 10 to 20kg.

Mugiwaradai-Red seabream (Tai) caught during the time of the barley harvest (early summer) is skinny after laying eggs and doesn’t taste good.

Murasaki-Sushi bar term for soy sauce.

Nakaochi-The middle bone part when fish is cut into three fillets. Or the meat attached to this part. Used especially for tuna, becoming ingredients for tekkamaki, negi toro and etc.

Namida (Sabi)Wasabi has a pungent taste which removes fishy smell from the ingredient, thus the fish becomes tastier many times as much.

Namida maki-Vinegared rice and thin strips of Wasabi rolled in seaweed

Nagori-Fish have already passed their peak condition, which the Japanese start to miss in the late season

Neta (Tane, Sushidane)-Sushi bar term for the fish topping in nigiri sushi.

Nigemono-Low-cost sushi ingredients.

Nikiri (NikiriShouyu)Nikiri is a short form of nikiri syouyu in which an alcohol-evaporated Mirin, Sake, Soy sauce and Dashi broth are added together.

Nimono-Simmered or boiled foods

Oaiso-To get a check and make a payment by customers at a sushi restaurant and elsewhere.

Obitsuke(Noriobi)-To bind toppings to sushi rice, such as white fish and egg, with seaweed like a belt (obi) for a kimono.

Oboro-Usually, salt, sugar and Mirin are added to mashed shrimp meat, and then roasted in a pan until they are smaller flakes.

Odori-Serving sushi made with live seafood such as prawns.

Okimari-The price and menu content are easily understood when ordering “Okimari”. The rank of “Tokujou”, “Jou”, “Nami” are often used. Order additional sushi as you like for a more fulfilling experience.

Okonomi-A way customers choose and order sushi they want to eat. If you clearly know what you like and want to enjoy eating at your own pace, ordering “Okonomi” your choice of sushi, would be best.

Omakase-A way customers choose and order sushi they want to eat. If  you do not have likes or dislikes and would like to enjoy the delicious catch of the day, “Omakase” is the way to go.

Otachi-To have a seat at the counter and eat by ordering okonomi.

Otemoto-Chopsticks

Oteshou-A small dish for soy sauce

Otouto-Food ingredients that are used later.

SagariOboro

SakariSakari season is before the fish spawn and they feed actively, acquiring a high fat content

Sakuradai-While cherry blossoms are in bloom, Red seabream (Tai) comes into season and increases its deliciousness.

Sakudori-To fillet fish and cut into blocks (saku) in each part. (Toro, red flesh and etc. in tuna, for instance.)

Shari (Sumeshi)-Cooked rice mixed with sweet sushi-vinegar in which sugar and salt are added. In sushi term it is called “Shari”.

Shirozu (Komezu)-White vinegar made from rice, characterized by smooth and refreshing sour taste.

Sotoko-Eggs of shrimps and crabs, folded and protected in their parents’ legs after being laid.

Shigoto-Refer to carrying out an extra preparatory step for edomaezushi toppings, such as brushing with Nitsume, or steeping fish in vinegar.

Tatejio-Salt water which is around 3 percent salt about the same as seawater, usually used for preparing thin body fish and seafood before cooking. Soak fish in tate jio and make it salted evenly because sprinkling salt can make it too salty for thin body fish by furi jio.

Teppou-Vinegared rice rolled in a sheet of laver (Norimaki)

Tezu-Vinegar that is put on fingertips of sushi chefs when they make sushi, to prevent sushi rice from sticking to their fingers.

Tsume (Nitsume)-Short form of Nitsume. Soy sauce, Mirin and sake are added to the soup in which Anago eel was boiled, and then boiled down until it gets thick sweet.

Tukeba-An area where sushi is made.

TumaDaikon radish which is thinly peeled and shredded.

Uramaki-A rolling technic of putting sushi rice on the outside, and seaweed on the inside.

Uchiko-Eggs inside of shells before being laid, such as shrimps and crabs.

Yakishimozukuri-A cooking method of grilling fish fillet with a little bit of skin left, over high heat for a short time and cooling it down. Its purpose is transferring the roasted skin fat into the meat. Used mainly for fish with thick and hard skin, like Mackerel (Saba) and Chicken grunt (Isaki).

Yama-Bamboo leaves used for a decoration. Called yama (mountain) because they are gathered only on mountains.

Yuburi-A process to cook just on the surface such as meat and fish,which is dipped in boiling water and shaken quickly.

Zuke –Seasoning method of fish such as Maguro tuna in dashi joyu, which was developed in the late Edo period in order to preserve fish longer.

We hope this information will be helpful.

Revision date: April 30, 2018

Relax and Enjoy under Cherry Blossoms off the Beaten Path!

More and more visitors from overseas are making a point of timing trips to Tokyo during the cherry blossom season. Guidebook in their hands, they head to Meguro River, Ueno Park, Sumida River, Chidorigafuchi Park, or another popular spot. It goes without saying that the blossoms are beautiful in all of these locations.

However, to be frank, there are so many people sometimes it’s hard to tell if you’re there to see blossoms or to see crowds. If you’re visiting Japan and you’d like to really experience cherry blossoms, we recommend Shakujii River.

Around 1000 trees bloom on both sides of the river and there are very few people, making it perfect for enjoying cherry blossoms on a stroll. There are actually more cherry blossoms here than on Meguro River or at Ueno Park.

After enjoying the scenery, stop by Makitazushi, established in 1972. Entering this flagship shop of Nakaitabashi is like stepping back in time to the Showa era (1926-1989). Make sure to splurge and order the special sushi selection for JPY 3024.

Location : A few minutes walk from Nakaitabashi Station on the Tobu Tojo Line

Cherry Blossom Season : April 3-April 9

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Revision date: March 28, 2017

The A to Z of Table manners

This article covers not only the special manners specific to Sushi restaurants, but also the certain etiquette expected in all restaurants in Japan. The only thing we ask of our customers to understand is how to behave in a way that doesn’t inconvenience other customers. Review the guidelines listed here.

・Don’t be late for a reservation.

・Stick to your allocated seating.

・Drunken yelling and fighting with other customers is obviously prohibited.

・Do not wear too much perfume. Learn more

・There is of course, no smoking.

・Do not take photos without permission.

・There is no dress code but you are expected to wear clothing suitable for the surroundings.

・Do not make or take phone calls.

・The counter scratches easily so please do not place your phone, watch or other items on it.

・Do not occupy too much of the owner’s time with talking.

・Do not keep ordering the same thing.

・Sushi should be eaten immediately after being prepared and served. Ideally it should be eaten within 10 seconds.

・It may be eaten with either your hands or your chopsticks.

・You should eat the sushi in one bite to fully enjoy the balance between the fish and the sushi rice. For that reason, you shouldn’t peel the fish off the rice.

・Wild fish and shellfish have larger, fatty bodies, during certain seasons when they are at their most delicious. Take this opportunity to eat fish which are in season.

・Make sure to only use a small amount of soy sauce on the topping only. Sushi rice (shari) absorbs soy sauce very quickly, so dipping the rice side of the sushi will make the piece fall apart. Also, do not use too much sauce so as not to inhibit the delicate tastes of the fish.

・There is no specific order to eat the dishes in. Eat in the order you like.

・Once you have finished, you should give up your place quickly. There is no reason to linger.

We hope this information will be helpful.

Revision date: March 2, 2017

The A to Z of Sushi Ingredients : Seaweed roll

You don’t want to find yourself in a Sushi restaurant not knowing enough about the fish on offer. Here we will introduce all the different types of Edo-style Sushi (Edomaesushi) Ingredients. *Japanese terms will be italicized on sushi ingredients page.

<Norimaki-Seaweed roll>

Anakyu maki-Gizzard shad and Cucumber roll

Himokyu maki-Mantle of ark shell and Cucumber roll

Kanpyou maki-Sweet-simmered kanpyo (dried gourd strip) roll

Kappa maki-Cucumber roll

Kohada maki-Gizzard shad roll

Namida maki-Vinegared rice and thin strips of Wasabi rolled in seaweed

Negitoro maki-Green onion and toro roll

Shinko maki-Pickled radish and shiso plant roll

Takuwan maki-Pickled radish roll

Tekka maki-Norimaki sushi roll with red tuna and grated wasabi at the core.

Torotaku maki-Toro and Pickled radish roll

Umeshiso maki-Pickled ume and shiso plant roll

We hope this information will be helpful.

Revision date: May 12, 2017