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Sushi is arguably the most Japanese food out there. Many other Japanese foods are similar to foods from other cultures, but it’s hard to find anything as uniquely Japanese as sushi.

A small sushi bar near a train station in Tokyo called Sukiyabashi Jiro, run by sushi chef Jiro Ono is largely considered to be the best sushi restaurant in the world; and Jiro, a master at the top of his craft. What is it about Jiro and his restaurant that makes the sushi so good?

Michelin Stars

So who says that Sukyabashi Jiro is the best in the world? Well, the Michelin Guide, for one.

If you’re unfamiliar, the same Michelin company that makes tires and has a giant, puffy, white man for its mascot, has been putting out a restaurant and hotel guide for about 100 years.

The Guide hands out stars to restaurants, on a scale of one to three stars. Even earning just one Michelin Star is one of the greatest honors a restaurant can get. But three Michelin Stars? That’s essentially food perfection.

There are fewer than 100 restaurants in the world with 3 Michelin stars, and Sukiyabashi Jiro is one of the few sushi restaurants to receive that honor.

What Makes This Sushi The Best

What’s the difference between Sukiyabashi Jiro and your neighborhood conveyer belt sushi restaurant? You can’t even compare the quality.

So good, it looks fake.

Instead of the $2 sushi plates you’ll find at lesser sushi restaurants, a full meal at Sukiyabashi Jiro will run you around $300-$400.

You won’t find any sushi abominations at Sukiyabashi Jiro; no Philadelphia rolls, no sushi pizza, and no sushirritos. Everything is served per the chef’s specifications, omakase-style.

The ingredients are world-class. Being located in Tokyo, Sukiyabashi Jiro has access to some of the best, freshest fish in the world. The restaurant even has vinegar specially manufactured to its exact standards.

The preparation is careful and precise. Sushi is served in a specific order, and made only moments before you’re served. Everything comes at the right temperature, at the right time.

And the list goes on. Sukiyabashi Jiro’s obsessive attention to detail is what makes it the best in the world. If you want to read about what a meal at Sukiyabashi Jiro is like (and browse the greatest sushi porn ever), check out this report from A Life Worth Eating.

Jiro Dreams Of Sushi

Jiro, already in his mid-80s, won’t be around for much longer. That’s why I’m excited that somebody is making an entire movie dedicated to Jiro and his obsession for perfect sushi.

The movie is called “Jiro Dreams Of Sushi,” and it’s due out later this year. In the meantime, this trailer will have to do.

I can’t wait till this movie comes out and I can see into the world of Jiro, and what makes his sushi so damn good.

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  • Rafael Viana Ribeiro

    Now that’s a another place to stop by when I go to Japan.

  • Dy~

    The sushi there must give off the same feeling as the ending to Clannad – tears of joy.  I’ll be sure to keep on the lookout for that movie (I love documentaries). Oh and did you know that KFC’s Col. Sanders was the original person to draw the Michelin Man? He came with a cigar in one hand.

  • Michael

    $300-400?  Damn you, lottery tickets!  Why won’t you let me win?!

  • Anonymous

    Those Michelin Stars are special Japanese stars if I’m not mistaken. That’s not to say the restaurant doesn’t have the highest quality, but you just can’t measure Japanese restaurants by French means since the cultures are so different.

  • http://profiles.google.com/blukat99 Julie Helmi

    I do see this is the restaurant featured in “No Reservations” although it appears one has to make a reservation up to a year in advance?

    There is no other way to be able to try it without doing that?

  • http://www.tofugu.com/ Hashi

    Yeah, definitely. I just hope I’ll have the money for it!

  • http://www.tofugu.com/ Hashi

    I’m not sure, to be honest. I saw that it was featured on No Reservations, but other sources I looked at (like the A Life Worth Eating post I linked to) made it seem like the restaurant was sometimes kinda empty.

  • http://www.tofugu.com/ Hashi

    It’s rigged, I tell you!

  • http://www.tofugu.com/ Hashi

    So you’re saying that the Japanese stars are given out by different people? Or how do you mean that they’re different?

  • http://www.tofugu.com/ Hashi

    I thought that the Michelin Man was created in France in like, the 1800s :?

  • Anonymous

     Well, they have a special Tokyo guide: http://www.michelin.com/corporate/EN/news/products/article?articleID=NMICHELIN-Guide-Tokyo-Yokohama-Shonan-2012

    Like it says, “The criteria are adapted to each type of cuisine, notably Japanese cooking styles.”

    Even though not everyone was happy about it when it was introduced a few years ago: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/24/business/worldbusiness/24guide.html?pagewanted=all

  • Anonymous

    My mouth is watering.  Seriously.  I just don’t think I’ll ever be able to go there…

  • David

    Not sure who told you there is only a single three star sushi restaurant, there are in fact three of them in Tokyo. Mizutani, Saito, and Sukyabashi Jiro.

  • http://www.tofugu.com/ Hashi

    Oh, I didn’t know about that. Thanks for informing me, I’ll edit the post.

  • http://www.tofugu.com/ Hashi

    Whoops, it looks like my research on the Michelin guide was less than accurate. I’ll edit my post, sorry for the mistake!

  • http://japan-australia.blogspot.com/ Japan Australia

    Looks really good and will need to start saving for it straight away :)

  • kuyaChristian

    I want to have some quality sushi when I go to Japan. California rolls and other sushi abomonations here in California just doesn’t cut it anymore.

  • http://profiles.google.com/blukat99 Julie Helmi

    There are a couple really good sushi restaurants in Southern Calif but online reviews aren’t much help with that. I have had sushi in Japan and have no problem recommending Aki’s in Long Beach and Gonpachi in Torrance. At both the bar is much better where they have really good sushi chefs who know their fish. Gonpachi do not sit at the tables. There are a few others in Santa Monica and Culver City that were good but I’ve been to Aki’s and Gonpachi more than a few times and they are consistent.

    I agree, most places in Southern California are more about making money rather than quality. I won’t even get into the roll fad here.

  • http://profiles.google.com/blukat99 Julie Helmi

    Well I think that was in a Wiki reference about the reservations thing. I think if a person is going to spend that kind of money, they would find a place for them to sit  =)

    Thanks for the article. It is interesting and now I’m dying for some good sushi!

  • http://www.japaneseruleof7.com/ Ken Seeroi

    It looks amazing, but seriously $300-$400?   Jeeeez, you could buy an aquarium for that much.  I’m sure it’s way better than the $15 meal I get sitting in front of a conveyor belt, but at that price, wow.  Somebody fax me some yen.

    Sure love to be able to try it though . . .

  • Anonymous

    before i spend $400 on a few pieces of fish i would rather take a boat to an island and catch all i can eat.

  • (゜o゜)

    This can be explained by Col. Sanders being a time traveler. And since it was in France, uh… also a regular traveler, I guess.

  • loki

    The funny thing is, sushi IS NOT Japanese.  Sushi was developed in Southeast Asia (namely China) before it ever hit Japan.  The original sushi was/is called Nare-Sushi (馴れ寿司 or 熟寿司).  Sushi was brought to Japan by the Chinese. 

    Just like tempura is not really Japanese either.  Batter-coated deep frying was introduced to the Japanese by Portuguese
    missionaries during the 16th century. The origin of the word tempura is
    due to Portuguese missionaries that ate fish due to the Catholic
    proscription against meat during Lent, in Latin, “ad tempora
    quadragesimae”, meaning “in the time of Lent”. 

    But don’t tell any Japanese people this, because their heads will explode.  Trust me.

    Anyhow, this makes the first line of your post 100% wrong.  Please fix it.

  • Dyonathan Misuguti

    That’s better than Lawson’s Maki-sushi Fear! LOL

  • Luxeat.com

    When i went to Sukiyabashi Jiro two months ago, i got my table just one week in advance. What was interesting though, the restaurant was almost empty. (And at some point i finished eating there alone!) Anyway,it was a truly unique experience.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=630637211 Brandon Inoue

    I think we as Americans are too used to cheap good food.
    $300 – $400 is on the lower end of three star Michelin food cost.  Sushi places like MASA (which is considered the most Expensive restaurant in New York) can reach up to $600 per person. 
    Robuchon’s full 6 course dinner is a little above $400.  Similar pricing for La Tour D’argent which is probably the most famous restaurant in the world.  Even my friends in France sit in awe if you can prove you have eaten there.
    I’m not rich, but I’m sure someday I’ll save enough for at least a visit to Robuchon’s.  But who am I kidding?  I feel my wallet kicking me in my groin when I spend $50 per person on a meal.

  • http://www.japaneseruleof7.com/ Ken Seeroi

    Actually, I think Japanese are more accustomed to cheap, good food.  I can easily eat a great meal in Japan for under $10.  Once you factor in tax and tip, meals in the U.S. tend to run about two or three times what they run in Japan.  Jiro’s is an outlier.  In a country where every housewife is a sushi expert, it’s hard to figure what would justify the price.  I guess the tablecloths must be very nice.

  • http://twitter.com/thekokeshi 高崎 由加利

    I saw this film last year and I actually shed a tear after watching it because my family suggested that we go to Kozo Sushi afterwards…

  • BoOze

    Seen the documentary. Sushi is not for everyone. It may be called “World Class” food. You may have the money in your hands to buy one of these expensive foods. But one thing I’m sure that these so called “World Class” foods are going in to the same path after you digest them.

    Appreciation :
    ~ Hard work
    ~ Availabilty
    ~ Preparation
    ~ Skill
    ~ 3 Star recognition

    All of these mentioned above is not even worth paying for something impractical for a food just to satisfy the taste.

  • nashty61

    Love the comparison to Clannad.

  • maria

    are the sushis garnished with sparkles of diamonds?

  • http://www.tofugu.com/ Hashi

    It might as well be!

  • Wendy

    Watch Jiro Dreams of Sushi and you will understand. Jiro has spent all of his 75 years as a sushi chef perfecting his craft and he still considers himself to be learning. The ingredients are only the best, freshest, most perfect catches of the day. And if they do not reach his standards that day, they are not on the menu. Every ingredient is prepared with techniques that have been mastered and perfected over a lifetime of practice. By the way, there are no tablecloths. The sushi bar is a minimalist, understated bar with nine seats. It is the only sushi restaurant ever to receive a Michelin rating, not to mention three of their coveted stars.

  • http://www.japaneseruleof7.com/ Ken Seeroi

    I watched this movie, and . . . jeez, what a snoozer. It’s no Tampopo, that’s for sure. Somehow I thought a movie about raw fish would be more interesting. I’m gullible like that though.

    Unfortunately, nobody who lives in Japan and doesn’t read the foreign press even knows about this restaurant. You know, here in Japan we eat this stuff every day. It’s only rice and fish, for God sakes. You can hang out near any port here and eat the same thing all day long. Same fish, same nori, same wasabi . . . don’t buy into all that mystical Japanese stuff. We’re just a country like anywhere else.

    That a French company decided to elevate one Japanese restaurant above the others is pretty absurd. Do you know how many tens of thousands of similar places there are here? You couldn’t even count them, much less eat at them.

    But wait, I’m sure French people pay a lot of attention when a Japanese company reviews one of the restaurants in Paris . . .

  • Milán Marsi

    If that japanese company is the most influential food reviewing entity in the world? Yep, I’m pretty sure they’d pay a lot of attention to that french restaurant.

    The Michelin Stars aren’t just some gimmicks. They really mean something. If that is the only sushi restaurant in the world that got any, never mind the perfect 3/3 stars, then it means something. All I know is that if I’ll have the money I sure as heck am going to invite my family to have a dinner there. Maybe ( actually most likely ) the food there isn’t 150-250 times better than the normal sushi that you can eat elsewhere, but it’s the price of the best sushi in the world.

  • xai

    Quit being a know-it-all. Original sushi did come from Asian continent but the sushi we see around the globe is completely different from the original.

  • zhan

    Why don’t you not to use Japanese to describe non Japanese food ?

  • Brooke Lee

    What a fuckin low class peasant with no taste for life!! Go have McDonalds for lunch.

  • susan

    I loved the film…i saw it at the local video store…if i had the money…I would have one lovely meal there …nothing compares to the art that Jiro exhibitis…look at the way he dons the brush at the end…pure art.

  • bang2tang

    are there any diamond at the price of 300US$?

  • PRIVATE LIFE OF MINE

    Thanks for giving the correct information of sushi’s history.
    [Anyhow, the first line of your post 100% wrong. Please fix it.] Because China is in EAST Asia, not southeast.
    I’m sure even one year ago, the wiki says so.

  • Pierre Richard

    Wow! yummy! I really love sushi.. Even in France, the SoGoodSushi in Nice. They served countless sushi specialties.

  • KAT

    Do they mean something to the children of the world who wonder where their next meal is going to come from?? I think not… get a grip on reality. Michelin stars are just a another name for opinion.