Unlike some of the chains we’ve covered so far, Katsura Sushi Tsukiji is a stand alone store. If you come here for dinner, your meal will likely cost in the range of 5,000 yen so the lunch deals are incredibly good value.
For an ‘ichininmae’ (1 person) set of 9 pieces of nigiri sushi and 1 maki (roll) sushi the price is 950 yen. If you go for the 1.5 person set for 1,050 yen, you get an extra 2 pieces of nigiri sushi, so that’s what I generally go for. The nidan-chirashizushi is served in two stacked bowls and is also excellent value at 850 yen. There is also no English menu, so if you go there for lunch, just remember the prices above and point to them on the menu.
Katsura offers three quite different experiences depending on where you are seated. If you get a seat at the bar in front of the chef, the sushi will be served to you as it is made. If you get a table in the dining room or a private room (koshitsu) on the second floor, your sushi will be brought to you in a beautiful lacquered box.
Although they officially have a “high-level nigiri” set for 1,900 yen and a “super high nigiri” set for 2,900, the sushi in the 1,050 yen option tasted first class to me. Each of the neta (toppings) are always succulent, glistening and fresh—not surprising given that Katsura is located only a couple of hundred meters from Tsukiji Fish Market. When at the bar, the sushi is served on a bamboo leaf and the 1 makisushi (sushi roll) was actually sliced into 6 smaller rolls so even the cheaper set included 15 pieces of sushi and soup. The miso soup also was perfect—just the right amount of stock, miso and finely sliced spring onion. Extra bowls are available at no extra charge.
If you speak some Japanese you may be familiar with the word ‘katsura’— it’s probably not what you think though. The store is named after the Katsura tree (Cercidiphyllum japonicum). However, if you ask the sushi chef if he’s wearing a katsura (wig) under his chef’s hat, hilarity will undoubtedly ensue.
Finding the place may be slightly challenging as it’s down a narrow backstreet. To get there, take Exit 2 of Tsukiji Station on the Hibiya Line then head towards Harumi Dori (the Indian inspired Honganji temple will be on your left on the other side of the road). Take the second road on the right and then walk about 50 metres—Katsura Sushi is on the corner of the first road you come to on your left.
Photograph the famous Shibuya scramble crossing, wander around the curious and quirky love hotel hill, visit Yoyogi park and Meiji shrine...