Ginza is a neighborhood known for luxury stores and ritzy shopping. Located in the southeast of Tokyo near Tokyo Bay, the district also has plenty to offer in the way of fine dining too. In fact, Ginza is home to some of the best sushi joints and chefs in the world. A meal at any of the area’s best restaurants is sure to be unforgettable.
Ginza District Overview
Ginza is a district located in the Chuo ward of Tokyo. It’s famous for its upscale shopping and luxury retailers. The neighborhood was an important part of Tokyo through the Edo Period, but a fire destroyed it in 1872. As a result, the government decided to rebuild it as a “model of modernization” following in line with the Meiji Restoration’s goals of rapidly developing the country. They built large, fireproof brick buildings that attracted foreign companies and investment, eventually leading to a large Western-style shopping promenade.
It’s been a long time since then, but Ginza’s place as a glamorous neighborhood for high-end shopping has lasted through the centuries. Now, many companies, especially fashion houses and retailers, have set up flagship stores and headquarters in the area. These include world-famous department stores like Ginza Six and the Mitsukoshi department store as well as the frequently visited Sony Building. People also go for the historic and high-culture sights like the Kabuki-za theater, built-in 1889.
Ginza isn’t just for shopping, though. To complement the luxury stores, restaurants and venues abound in the neighborhood. Altogether, it’s the place to go for the finer aspects of Japanese culture.
Ginza Sushi at a Glance
In the past, the famous Tsukiji market was located right next to Ginza. Many of the best sushi chefs decided to open their restaurants in the neighborhood so they could get the best and freshest seafood products for their dishes. Today, there’s no better place in the world for sushi than Ginza. Many restaurants boast two or even three Michelin Stars, and many of the chefs internationally renowned.
You can probably already guess, but high-end sushi of this class isn’t exactly cheap. Many of these restaurants serve an omakase course, which is a set menu decided by the chef based on his own style and what’s in season. These can cost upwards of ¥35,000, which is around $350. It’s worth it.
That said, there are options if you want to avoid such a hefty bill. Many times, the lunch menu is considerably less expensive, as much as a third the cost. You may also try for a restaurant that lets you order from a menu. This way you can control the price and order just what you want. Occasionally, some restaurants have all-you-can-eat or all-you-can-drink specials that get you more for your money.
One of the most important things to keep in mind while eating sushi in Ginza is reservations. Most of the best Ginza sushi restaurants don’t have many seats, sometimes as few as 10. Plus, these places, their food and their chefs are often world-famous. You need to try to get a table well ahead of time. If you’re going to Japan on vacation or business, you’ll want to call or reserve online before you even leave.
13 Best Ginza Sushi Restaurants
Umegaoka Sushi no Midori Ginza
Access: 4 min from Shimbashi Station
Hours: 11 AM - 10 PM, 7 days/week
If you want to eat sushi while shopping in Ginza, but you don’t feel like paying Ginza prices, this might be your best bet. Midori is one of the most popular sushi chains in Japan, and for good reason. It’s traditional Japanese sushi made by expert chefs.
Midori is also straight forward, so it’s good for families or couples looking for a quick bite while exploring Ginza. It’s got a lot of seating and an automatic ticket machine to streamline ordering.
Prices are better than most places with lunch starting at around ¥1,600. The restaurant itself lies right next to the main JR Yamanote line tracks, just a few blocks north of Shimbashi Station. If you’re doing a day trip around Tokyo, you can stop there for lunch or dinner on your way in or out of the neighborhood.
Access: 5 min from Shimbashi Station
Hours: 6 PM-8 PM/8:30 PM-10:30 PM, closed Sundays
You came to Ginza to see the finer things Japan has to offer, so why not have one of the finest dining experiences in the country? Frankly, Yoshitake makes some of the best sushi in the world. Of course, it’s a set menu served slowly over two hours to allow you to enjoy all the nuances of flavor.
Yoshitake only has 10 seats and two dinner slots, so call well ahead of time to make a reservation. The staff speak English, and the customer service is as good as the food. In fact, Yoshitake is a Three-Michelin Star restaurant. Just remember the dress code: absolutely no t-shirts, and men cannot wear shorts or sandals. You cannot bring children under 13 either.
This is a fine dining experience, so don’t go unless you’re willing to pay the ¥35,000 price tag plus a 10% service charge. Yoshitake is located in the heart of Ginza, just a block off of Ginza’s main street Chuo Dori.
Sushi Ginza Onodera
Access: 12 min from Shimbashi Station, 3 min from Higashi-Ginza Station
Hours: 11 AM-3 PM/5 PM-10 PM, 7 days/week
Americans might know Onodera because of its sister location in Los Angeles, a Two-Michelin Star sushi restaurant. Ginza’s Onodera has the same great quality food in its native habitat, so to speak.
Onodera is an omakase sushi restaurant, which means instead of ordering from the menu, you let the chef decide on the sushi he serves you based on the season and his own expertise. In the case of Onodera, the chef is from Hokkaido, so he is particular to fish from that area. In fact, he even has it shipped in along with fresh market fish.
The classic wooden sushi bar atmosphere is wonderful, but make sure you call ahead to get a reservation. Located right next to Higashi-Ginza Station in the center of the neighborhood, Onodera makes a great place to go for lunch or dinner while shopping at the famous Ginza department stores.
Access: 2 min from Shimbashi Station
Hours: 5 PM-12 AM, closed Sundays
This is a luxury sushi restaurant to match the luxury atmosphere of Ginza. It has two Michelin Stars and was opened in 2006 by the famous sushi chef Harutaka Takahashi. He produces an omakase menu based on seasonal ingredients Harutaka hand picks from Toyosu Market, originally the famous Tsukiji Fish Market.
Located right along the train tracks, just head north from Shimbashi Station. Open later than most places, you can shop till the stores close then head there for dinner before going back to the hotel.
Access: 12 min from Shimbashi Station, 1 min from Higashi-Ginza Station
Hours: 5 PM-11 PM, 7 days/week
Yamaken is new on the Ginza sushi scene, so you have the opportunity to be a trendsetter. It’s also a great way to get an expertly chosen omakase course for under ¥10,000. In fact, for exactly ¥10,000, not including discounts for reserving online, you can get the chef's course with three hours of all-you-can-drink.
Take advantage of Yamaken’s entry-level status to get amazing sushi at a great price. The restaurant is in the modern luxury style typical of Ginza and very comfortable. If you’d like, you can even reserve a private room. Just call ahead to make sure there’s space available.
Access: 7 min from Shimbashi Station, 9 min from Yurakucho Station, 4 min from Ginza Station
Hours: weekdays 11:30 AM-3 PM/5 PM-11 PM, Saturday 11:30 AM-3:30 PM/5 PM-11 PM, Sunday 11:30 AM-3:30 PM/5 PM-10 PM
Go to Ginza Seamon for the atmosphere, stay for the fresh, master-crafted sushi. A larger restaurant than many famous Ginza sushi restaurants, this is a place you’re more likely to get a reservation, and you’ll enjoy your time interacting with the friendly staff.
To add to its devotion to customer service, you can choose between the omakase course or order from the menu. Either way, the trained chefs make the sushi fresh right in front of you.
Access: 5 min from Shimbashi Station
Hours: 11:30 AM-2 PM/5 PM-10 PM, closed Sunday and Monday
Kyubey Sushi is a world-famous chain of sushi restaurants with seven locations in Japan. The Ginza location was their first store, founded in 1935. It’s a Mecca for sushi lovers from around the globe. If you’re a sushi connoisseur, you can’t pass it up.
Dinner at Kyubey can get pricey, so if you want the same high-class sushi at nearly a third of the cost, go for lunch. For lunch you can get set menus for around ¥10,000 and some individual dishes as low as ¥6,000.
A word of advice, try the Uni or Ikura if you can. Kyubey was the first restaurant to begin serving these dishes wrapped in dried seaweed. The long history and unique production make them phenomenal.
Access: 10 min from Shimbashi Station, 1 min from Ginza Station
Hours: 11:30-2 PM/5 PM-8:30 PM, closed weekends
Sukiyabashi Jiro carries a proud sushi tradition. They’ve had three Michelin Stars for over a decade, a feat hard to match. The restaurant is captained by Jiro Ono who still prepares sushi despite being over 90 years old. He’s served celebrities from politicians like Barack Obama to entertainers like Anne Hathaway.
Unfortunately, this isn’t a place you can just swing by after a day in Ginza. Sukiyabashi Jiro is considered by many the best sushi restaurant in the world, and its waiting list extends into the hundreds. Plus, it only has 10 seats. To get a reservation, you will most likely need some kind of connection or a concierge from a luxury Ginza hotel. All in all, Sukiyabashi makes for an unforgettable dining experience to top off a glamorous trip through Ginza.
Access: 5 min from Shimbashi Station
Hours: 12 PM-2 PM/6 PM-10 PM, closed Mondays
Renowned Master Chef Iwa started this sushi restaurant in 2012. Its main claim to fame is the wide sushi selection which Iwa expertly pairs with his fresh, carefully crafted dishes. The fish is fresh from the market and hand picked to be the highest quality.
Many people like to go just to watch Chef Iwa work as he makes his sushi right in front of you. He and his staff are all very friendly and speak English. You can describe your tastes, and they’ll prepare what they think you would like with the sake to match.
Like many Ginza sushi places, there’s a big difference in price between lunch and dinner. While dinner can be over ¥30,000, you can get the lunch omakase set menu for closer to ¥10,000.
Access: 5 min from Shimbashi Station, 5 min from Ginza Station
Hours: 11:30 AM-1 PM/5 PM-10 PM, 7 days/week
Sushi Kanesaka is more than just a restaurant, it’s a dining experience. Head Chef Kanesaka, like many of his colleagues, prepares his sushi right in front of you. On top of that, though, he does it in an entertaining and hospitable way that adds to your meal. The calm, sophisticated atmosphere doesn’t hurt either.
As for the food, Kanesaka’s speciality is the Kuruma-Ebi, so make sure you try it. You’ll need a reservation ahead of time, and you can even go for a private room. If you call early enough, ask for a seat with a view of the Ginza neighborhood.
Haneda Ichiba Ginza Seven
Access: 10 min from Shimbashi Station
Hours: 5 PM-10 PM, closed weekends
Despite actually flying in fresh fish from all over Japan, Haneda Ichiba Ginza Seven manages to serve high-end sushi at a much lower price than most Ginza restaurants. On top of ordering from the menu, you can get a ¥10,000 omakase course that includes all-you-can drink sake.
If you want to try world-famous Ginza sushi without waiting months for a reservation and paying an arm and a leg, go to Haneda Ichiba. The evening hours and convenient location near the Ginza shopping area make it a great dinner spot for the Ginza day of your Tokyo trip.
Nemuro Hanamaru Ginza
Access: 10 min from Shimbashi Station, 7 min from Yurakucho Station, 1 min from Ginza Station
Hours: 11 AM-11 PM, 7 days/week
Nemuro Hanamaru is kaiten sushi, what you might have heard called conveyor-belt sushi. The chefs prepare dishes and place them on the conveyor belt. Then you can grab whatever catches your eye. This may not be the upscale glamor you’ve gotten used to in Ginza, but it is a great way to have an authentic sushi experience without breaking the bank. In fact, Nemuro Hanamaru is a chain from Hokkaido that’s one of the most popular among the local Japanese.
For kaiten sushi, Nemuro Hanamaru is well-known for its freshness and quality. They also stick to authentic sushi instead of catering to Western tastes. Altogether, this means a down-to-earth Japanese cultural experience.
Finally, with long hours and a location right next to Ginza station, Nemuro Hanamaru is the convenient, inexpensive option. You can focus all your energy on exploring Ginza and swing by for sushi whenever you have an extra minute.
Ginza Sushi Aoki
Access: 7 min from Shimbashi Station, 9 min from Yurakucho Station, 3 min from Ginza Station
Hours: 12 PM-1:30 PM/5 PM-9:30 PM, 7 days/week
Sushi Aoki is the delicious, high-quality sushi typical of Ginza but with a little more variability. Specifically, you can choose between two different omakase courses: nigiri with delicacies or without. There’s also a beautiful takeout bento-box if you want to eat at the hotel.
Like most of the higher end sushi places in Ginza, you need a reservation. There’s just one room available for families, and otherwise it’s the bar. The good part about that is that it’s discreet and tucked away. Get away from the bustle of Ginza and relax for dinner in the classical, quaint Sushi Aoki.
Book online before your trip!
As you’ve seen, having a reservation is essential to your Ginza sushi experience. For many of the finest sushi restaurants in Ginza, the waitlist is long, and asking your hotel concierge to call the morning before might not cut it. You may need to book well in advance of your trip, but making an international call to reserve a table in Japanese might seem daunting.
Luckily, modern technology has the answer. There are a number of websites where you can book seats at great Ginza sushi restaurants online ahead of time.
Go to Pocket-Concierge to find restaurants matching your personal specifications. You can set dates, cuisine—sushi in this case—price range and neighborhood. You can even put whether you want a table, seat at the bar, etc. Since it’s Japan-specific, you know you’ll get a wide selection of restaurants popular with both the local and international community.
Most people know TripAdvisor for its reviews on hotels, restaurants and anything else to do with travel. That’s not all, though, you can actually book tables on the website, specifying the number of people, date and time. Whether this is an available option depends on whether the restaurant has verified and claimed their TripAdvisor page and set up online reservations.
Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case for the smaller, upscale restaurants, but TripAdvisor always links to the establishment’s website and phone number.
OpenTable is operated by Booking.com and is a method for online reservations used around the world. Just put in the date, time and number of people, and search for the restaurant. If you don’t have a specific place in mind, type something as broad as “Ginza sushi,” and the site will pull up a list of all the best sushi restaurants in the neighborhood where you can book a table.
Try the restaurant’s website
Last but not least, just go to the restaurant’s website. Sometimes they have an online reservation system built right in. Plus, you might be able to check out the menu and details about the chef. It’s a great way to prepare and get excited for your upcoming Ginza adventure.