The complete sushi restaurant. Paying utmost respect to each day, each guest, and each moment, the chef humbly greets every guest before treating them to exquisite Japanese hospitality. With a focus on fresh, unaged sushi served in keeping with the customer’s dining pace, Sushiya Ichiyanagi delights guests with the highest quality fish prepared by a truly top-notch sushi chef in an atmosphere you will want to return to time and again.
Located in Ginza where competition among sushi restaurants is extreme, the restaurant’s name Sushiya Ichiyanagi reflects not only the chef’s last name, but also its fitting location just off the quaint Yanagidori street. Yanagi is the Japanese word for willow tree, and flanked with soft weeping willows, this street offers some gentle green refreshment amid the bustling shopping and business district of Ginza.
Once located within Hotel Seiyo Ginza, this popular restaurant found a new home in Ginza Icchome upon the hotel’s closure in 2013. It opened less than a month later welcoming guests through the indigo draped noren adorned with a Japonica flowering quince – the chef’s family crest. The interior exudes sushi restaurant with its extremely minimalist décor, but far from being impersonal, it has a lovely relaxed feel. A beautiful hinoki Japanese cypress plank graces the counter, and the use of timber all around gives the space a distinctly warm and cosy feel.
The striking plate on which each nigiri piece is placed is Karatsu ware decorated with flowers and plants reflecting each season. Coming into view after you are seated behind the counter is wall-to-wall Oya tuff stone, the same dotted porous volcanic rock that featured in the previous space. It provides a vivid reminder of the past as do the regular customers who continue to seek Ichiyanagi’s sushi even after his move. The counter seats ten and there is a private room for four, but wherever guests happen to be seated, all can enjoy sushi shaped at the hands of Chef Ichiyanagi.
The complete sushi restaurant.
Ichiyanagi is driven by a single desire to share his sentiments. He leaves the ‘how’ of eating sushi up to each diner, placing the guest at the center of his warm hospitality. He sees no need to push a certain style and is focused solely on satisfying and delighting the guests seated before him. He observes first, then he shapes. A meal might take you on a journey from small plates to nigiri, it may alternate them, or it may take you straight to nigiri and stay there. Appetisers and small plates include grilled fish, simmered dishes and signature sushiya delicacies, all of which express the season simply and deliciously.
When it comes to nigiri, each seafood variety is coaxed just the tiniest amount to express the best it has to offer in terms of umami and flavor, and all are presented fresh without aging. The rice has refreshing flavor, seasoned simply with just one variety of red vinegar and salt. Made with Akita Komachi grains, the rice ovals strike a perfect balance with the fresh fish toppings, slightly al dente and on the warm side.
You can enjoy the full array of flavours tuna has to offer on a flight from the leanest to fattiest morsels. Akami lean meat is followed by the perfect mix of delicious flesh and melt-in-your-mouth fat in chutoro, and then you arrive at otoro, fatty tuna of such high quality that you can already feel it melting in your mouth just by looking at it. Your nigiri selection may also include sea bream from Kamogawa, Chiba, aji horse mackerel topped with asatsuki tiny green onions to accent the innate umami of the fish, or the well-known Ogawa uni sea urchin from Kushiro, Hokkaido. The chef only inserts his knife into the golden cuttlefish from Tomitsu, Chiba, after examining each individually, aware of the slight variations in the shaping. Anago conger eel from Taima, Nagasaki, finds its way onto your palate having been simmered to plump perfection and entirely enveloping the oval of rice.
Ichiyanagi makes the short trip to Tsukiji Market every day to gather his seafood and produce. Being located virtually on its doorstep, he has the privilege of observing the shifts in season as each variety progresses from early to peak and then late season. He prepares about thirty varieties of carefully selected seafood to be used in both small plates and nigiri each day. While he has a soft spot for his native Chiba, he also features premium items from Izu Peninsula, Kyushu and Hokkaido. The seaweed from Ariake in Saga and wasabi from the home of wasabi – Shizuoka Prefecture – round out the ingredients to complete your perfect sushi dining experience.
Approximately ten sake brands feature regularly on the Sushiya Ichiyanagi drinks menu. They are fundamentally dry in nature and a particular favourite of guests is Kamawanu, brewed by Tsukasa Botan in Kochi Prefecture on the island of Shikoku. An area known for its pristine waters, the sake has very defined structure as a yamahai junmai variety. There are also many daiginjo and junmai daiginjo varieties on hand – elegant, clean sake owing to the high rate of polishing on the rice used in the production. The fantastic selection of famous brands from highly acclaimed sake-producing regions includes Kubota and Hakkaisan (Niigata) and Fukukomachi (Akita).
- The price includes our booking fee of ￥5,000
- The price includes our booking fee of ￥5,000