Sushi Tokami in Ginza, Tokyo

To follow my delicious lunch at Kyubey, I headed to Sushi Tokami (currently ranked as the #5 best sushiya in Tokyo on Tabelog) for dinner. 

The restaurant is located in the basement of the Seiwa Silver building in Ginza, not far from Shimbashi station, in the former location of the celebrated Sushi Mizutani.  The counter sits ten and is quite comfortable. Tokami’s taishōHiroyuki Sato, and his staff are all very friendly, and the atmosphere in the shop is lighthearted and pleasant. Sato-san is quite the stand-up comedian and showman and is quick to make his customers feel at ease. About half of the patrons on this visit were foreigners – I’m assuming that Tokami’s popularity with foreigners has to do with Sato’s English speaking skills as well as Tokami’s Michelin star. In any case, this was the only sushiya I visited on this trip where foreigners nearly outnumbered Japanese patrons. 

As indicated by their Tabelog ranking, Tokami has gained a very strong following in the three years since the shop’s opening. They are renowned for sourcing some of the very best hon-maguro available. How does a new shop manage to source such sought-after tuna? Simple: one of the restaurant’s investors is a celebrated Tsukiji tuna wholesaler! This will get you far when hon-maguro is considered the king of all fish. 

Tokami is also famous for having strongly seasoned shari (rice). Two types of akazu (sake lees vinegar) are used, rendering the rice brownish in color. The rice seasoning appears to be specifically calibrated to pair well with the tuna. I love rice that is strongly vinegared with akazu, but on this visit I found it to be a little bit too salty, overpowering the flavor of the shiromi and ika tane.  However, it worked spectacularly well with the maguro, hikarimono, and shellfish.

As expected, this meal’s highlights were the tuna offerings. The maguro trifecta of akami, chu toro and o-toro nigiri were great. The tossaki temaki (a cut from the base of the tuna’s head that is very high in flavor) and the tuna bone collagen soup were particular standouts. The collagen soup was maybe the best soup I’ve ever tasted – it was amazing! Sadly, I was so enthralled by these two items that forgot to take photos.

Other highlights included the aji, the kuruma ebi, and the really delicious tamago. Another superb bite that was not photographed: cold and heated uni served together in a single gunkanmaki. An unorthodox preparation method that is innovative and incredibly tasty. Total cost for this two hour feast, including a couple of beers and a serving of nihonshu: ¥28,685  ($260 US) – not cheap but definitely worth it.

I look forward to visiting Tokami again, but next time I’ll go in the late fall or winter when the maguro will be in season and should taste even better! 

Below you’ll find photos of (almost) all items that were served, in order, along with a few more tasting notes. 

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Taishō Hiroyuki Sato (foreground) and his second in command (background) behind the counter at Sushi Tokami.

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The first plate of tsumami that was served was by far the best. It included awabi (abalone) with its liver and hatsu-gatsuo, aka “first catch” katsuo. Simply amazing! The next few plates of tsumami pictured below, while very good, were not particularly memorable. 

3-otsumami

4-otsumami

5-otsumami

6-otsumami

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Amazing piece of aji – just in season.

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Lovely kisu.

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Sato’s strong shari seasoning works well with the kohada.

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Hamaguri – in season and very tasty.

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The atmosphere at Tokami is convivial, in no small part due to Sato-san’s good sense of humor.

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Tokami is known for its maguro, and even tough spring is not the best season for it, the tuna was truly excellent. First up: akami.

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Followed by chu-toro. Tokami’s strongly seasoned shari paired beautifully with the hon-maguro pieces.

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And a great piece of o-toro. The best tuna in the spring typically comes from Sado Island on the west coast of Japan, and I believe this is where this specimen was sourced.

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Kuruma ebi is one of my favorite tane and this piece didn’t disappoint. Large, juicy, nicely warm. Perfect!

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Kasugodai, or baby red snapper, in peak season. 

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Good sumi ika, although the saltiness of the rice overpowered this piece a little.

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The anago served with salt (left) and tsume (right) was very good.

The stellar piece of tamago “brûlée” – Sato-san’s tamago is pretty unique and one of my favorite renditions anywhere.

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Sushi Tokami
8-2-10 Ginza, Chuo, Tokyo
http://sushitokami.3zoku.com/
http://tabelog.com/en/tokyo/A1301/A130103/13155234/

12 thoughts on “Sushi Tokami in Ginza, Tokyo

  1. Hi – any tips on reservations here? Tried to go through my hotel for a reservation on the day we arrive in Tokyo….hotel said “We are afraid that we could not make reservation on check in date and check out date.”

    Thanks!

        1. Did not try – their hoops to jump through were too annoying (Need Japanese speaker to call, but no more than 30 days in advance). Did go to Yoshino HQ which was awesome and the joint in Asakusa. Thanks for the Yoshino rec – it was both great and great value!

  2. Isn’t ¥28,685 a lot more expensive than the 18.000 price tag they have in their website? Were you dining alone or with another person?
    I’m planning to go to Tokami with my gf, but 28.000 x 2 is gonna be a bit too much I guess…
    Thanks

    1. Hi Alex. The ¥28,685 I paid was for just me. Prices will fluctuate based on the market prices, but I do think they have been charging more now that it has become a well-known shop. I’d recommend going to lunch and doing the 16 pieces nigiri menu for ¥12,000 – that is a great value. This is probably what I’ll do if/when I go back.

  3. Hello!

    I will be visiting Japan in April and I found your blog to be very helpful.

    I am looking to do a lunch at one of the more budget friendly sushi places. I am trying to decide between Sushiya, Sushi Tokami and Sushi Iwa. Which one would you recommend?

    1. Hi Mary! Glad you find the site helpful.

      First, let me say that you can’t really go wrong with any of these choices.

      I haven’t been to sushiya, but I have heard that chef Takao Ishyama is very talented. But I have also heard some mixed reviews, especially regarding the rice there. This is why I haven’t been yet.

      Out of Tokami and Iwa, I would personally go to Iwa for the Y8,000 lunch set. Iwa-san’s lunch set is a fantastic value. Great balance between the shari and neta, and he strives to serve very seasonal items.
      The sushi at Tokami is very good, but not as balanced, in my opinion. Great tuna, though. I have heard that Chef Sato doesn’t typically work during lunch at Tokami anymore, so that is something to keep in mind.

      Other shops that I can highly recommend for lunch: Arai (becoming difficult to book, though) and Suzuki. If going with a Japanese speaker, I’d also recommend Taichi.

      I hope this helps. Have fun, and please report back!

      1. Thank you so much for the reply. Would your recommendation change if we were to go for dinner omakase instead? We are non Japanese speakers and won’t be going with a local.

  4. Hey, I was wondering do you need to book for Lunch at Sushi Tokami?
    I tried to get someone to book for me but they said they only accept bookings from Hotel Concierges with foreign customers.
    I was hoping perhaps we can just show up for Lunch and hoping to get a seat?

    Thanks

    1. Hi Jenny,

      I’m pretty sure that reservations are required at Tokami at both lunch and dinner. Also, it should be noted that head chef Sato left Tokami a few weeks ago – he will be opening his own shop in Ginza. If you are looking for a restaurant that accepts walk-ins at lunch, I would recommend Kyubey.

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