Once you tried sushi in Japan, it never quite tastes the same anywhere else in the world… Now, there are many places to try sushi in Tokyo: 7-11, conveyor belt sushi, Tsukiji fish market, etc. But this article is about the Michelin Guide and specially Jiro Sushi.
About the Michelin Guide
Michelin, yes, the tire company, releases a guide showcasing various hotels and restaurants around the world. Establishments can earn up to three “Michelin Stars” and stars can be taken or given. Having even one star can be quite the honor as it is one of the highest award a hotel or chef can get. However, being in the Michelin Guide does not necessarily mean the hotel or restaurant is a luxury or expensive establishment (prices can range from a few dollars at a food stand to thousands at a lavish area), but the experience is always the pinnacle of quality.
Step 1: Know the 2 locations
Location 1: Ginza – the main store (honten) ran by Mr. Jiro Ono
Sukiyabashi Jiro (Honten)
104-0061 Tokyo, Chuo City, Ginza, 4 Chome−2−15, Basement 1 st Floor
Phone: 03-3535-3600 or +81-3-3535-3600
Michelin Guide: 3 stars
Price: ~30,000 Yen
Location 2: Roppongi Hills – ran by Mr. Takashi Ono (second son to Mr. Jiro Ono)
Sukiyabashi Jiro (Roppongi)
106-0032 Tokyo, Minato City, Roppongi, 6 Chome−12−2, 3 rd Floor
Michelin Guide: 2 stars
Price: ~30,000 Yen
Both locations accept major credit cards so you do not have to bring a large amount of Yen.
Step 2: Making the Reservation
Reservations are required when going to either restaurants and they do not accept walk-ins. Before attempting to make a reservation, I did tons of online research and this is what I found:
- Reservations can only be done by phone
- Calling the first day of each month for next month’s seating seems to be the unofficial rule
- Try to find someone who speaks Japanese that can make the reservation for you
- Use concierge services if you are staying at a luxury hotel or have access to some sort of prestigious concierge services
- Pay someone/ a website to book the reservations for you
What I did:
I found and used the site Voyagin (a Japanese tour/ travel company). At the time of writing this article, a reservation at the Roppongi location costs ~70,000 Yen (meal not included) per person and a reservation at the Ginza location costs ~150,000 Yen (meal included) per person. There are many websites and reservation services, please use caution as getting a reservation is rather difficult (based on my experience). There are many waitlists and not everyone can get in (even if you are willing to pay).
Make sure you read the “Dinning at Jiro” ‘rules’ before going – especially know the etiquettes and dress code.
Step 3: What to expect (the eating experience)
I ended up booking the Roppongi location and I got the pleasure of meeting and eat Mr. Takashi Ono’s sushi. When walking in, you are greeted and sat down in front of an open kitchen. The 20-course meal was an absolute delight with Mr. Takashi Ono making and explaining all the sushi. Words cannot describe the amazing experience – there is nothing like it. I won’t say anything more so you can have your own personal experience.
Watch ‘Jiro Dreams of Sushi’ or read his books before going to really peak your excitement!
Final Thoughts and Tips:
- The meal lasted about 30 minutes
- Plan your trip around this meal, ANY dates and times are rare
- Do NOT be late
- From I read online, even if you go to the Ginza location, seeing Mr. Jiro Ono is
- If you can’t get a spot, there are still tons of remarkable sushi spots in Tokyo (and many other Michelin Star sushi places too)
- I was in Japan for a month and this was the highlight of my trip, it was an experience and a story that I can tell for life. I hope next time I go to Japan, I can go to the Ginza location!