After a ten-minute walk from Settsu Motoyama station through a peaceful residential neighborhood, the building with elegant wood walls and a Japanese-style lantern welcomes you. Sushi Kissui is the only sushi restaurant in Kobe to have earned two Michelin stars.
Kissui means “absolute” or “without impurities”, and dining here will elucidate why this is the most appropriate name for this restaurant. Stepping inside, you will note the substantial L-shaped counter made of hinoki cedar, intimately seating just ten guests. Warm light cast from above mirrors the shape of the counter, while cedar shelves complete the minimalist décor.
After four years of training at a sushi restaurant in Kobe, Daisuke Fukuhara opened Sushi Kissui when he was just 24 years old. It is located in the same place as his father’s restaurant, Akashiya. Self-taught in the skill of Edomae preparation, his career as a sushi chef spans more than 30 years. He singularly catapulted the restaurant’s reputation, gathering diners to enjoy his mesmerizing skill and artisanship. The gorgeous hinoki dining counter and the preparation area were designed with intention, so that customers at every seat can observe the master’s technique.
He opts to season the rice in the most traditional way, using only vinegar and salt, while many sushi restaurants in this area of western Japan add sugar for richness. Most of the fish comes from Toyosu Market where the absolute highest quality fish arrive daily. He elevates the fish even further, creating perfect Edomae nigiri that are simple, refined, and complex yet uncomplicated. This explains why sushi-lovers make the pilgrimage here all the way from Tokyo, the birthplace of Edomae sushi.
Omakase with “absolute” preparations
The symphony of this omakase begins with eight courses of seasonal dishes, called “ate” or “otsumami” in Japan, such as steamed abalone with liver sauce, monkfish liver, or shirako in winter months. Eighteen sushi courses follow, and typically begin with a white fleshed fish or squid nigiri treated with an artisanal aging technique to intensify umami and yield a perfect texture. Fukuhara first ages hirame, a type of flounder, for one day then in kombu sheets for an extra day. For aori-ika, summer squid, he ages it for almost 10 days.
His preparation of silver fish, hikari-mono, is especially traditional in the Edomae style. When shinko is in season, he serves a nigiri piece beautifully layered with 3 to 4 tiny shinko fillets. When the shinko grows larger into kohada, he marinates them with salt for 15 minutes and then with rice vinegar for 15 minutes. He places the fillet onto a piece of nigiri with a scant amount of sweetened shrimp crumbles, oboro, between the fish and the rice.
Hokkaido uni sushi is served gunkan style, wrapped with nori while Awaji uni sushi is presented as regular nigiri, without nori. Patrons revere his treatment of tuna, as he features nigiri made with three different parts of Bluefin tuna.
He pays a great deal of attention to the temperature of the rice depending on what it will accompany. Rice that is slightly warmer than body temperature will be paired with seared sushi like anago eel, while rice that is just below body temperature will be paired with shellfish. He controls the temperature based on where he draws the cooked rice out of the wooden container.
The omakase menu concludes with tamagoyaki, egg omelet, made by mixing “surimi” ground fish, shiba-ebi shrimp, and “yamaimo” mountain yam with mirin and sugar. He cooks one side for 25 minutes and the other side for 15 minutes. These are examples of what the chef may prepare, but the varieties of fish will correspond with the season.
Chef Fukuhara sources approximately 80 percent of the fish from Toyosu Market, while the remainder is mostly shellfish from Osaka Wholesale Market. Hirame and uni arrive directly from Akashi and Awaji, respectively. The wasabi is grown in Amagi, Shizuoka.
This year Chef Fukuhara has been using Koshihikari rice from Tajima, which has been harvested and sun-dried within the last year. The grains are small and firm, which he believes make the best sushi rice. To season the rice, he mixes three kinds of akasu vinegars made of sake lees and Moshio salt from Hiroshima, made by reducing seawater and umami-rich seaweed. As stated above, he does not believe in using sugar in his sushi rice.
Sushi Kissui has been sourcing Bluefin tuna from Ishiji, a respected middle wholesaler housed in the Toyosu Market, for more than 15 years. Chef Fukuhara prefers tuna that has a natural tartness, fresh aroma, and ample umami. He seeks out fish weighing around 100 kg caught using a fixed net technique called teichi-ami.
He serves three cuts of Bluefin tuna in the omakase; otoro from a part called the jabara (below the belly), chutoro, and akami. With this variety, guests can become familiar with the true taste of Bluefin and enjoy comparing and contrasting these portions of the fish.
- The price includes our booking fee of ￥4,000
- The price includes our booking fee of ￥4,000