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Tempura Masa

天ぷら 成

Tempura Masa is a restaurant within a restaurant showcasing Hokkaido seafood and produce in a course of Japanese cuisine featuring deliciously light tempura. Step inside to enjoy the fascinating story of a passionate food family and a meal that has no parallel anywhere in Japan.

Do not despair when you arrive at the designated address only to find a shop curtain with a totally different business name. It may say Susukino Naniwatei – a Japanese restaurant established in 1962 in this place – but it is also Tempura Masa’s home. You first behold a lively counter with the older Murai at the helm serving up Japanese cuisine with fresh, seasonal ingredients. Guests at the father’s table have been curious to try the new restaurant within, and father and son are delighted to give diners more choice.

Proceed to the back left of the Suskino Naniwatei space and enter another world. The restaurant logo is written with ink mixed with the oil and flour from Tempura Kondo, the chef’s former training ground, requested before opening with a wish to be blessed with good energy. Hokkaido’s appeal can be found throughout the simple restaurant interior. The counter is made from Asahikawa Oak – a tree found in a rich natural area to Sapporo’s northeast. The walls with a distinctive white spotted pattern are made from Sapporo soft stone — porous tuff stone formed from volcanic ash found in the city’ south – as are the rectangular stands on which freshly fried pieces of tempura are placed. The soft stone for the latter was carved out by the chef himself. Just as touching is the story that much of the tableware is from when the chef’s grandfather first opened the restaurant’s doors.



Turning tempura stereotypes on their head

Unlike many tempura restaurants focused on Tokyo Bay seafood delicacies, Tempura Masa serves “Ezomae Tempura”, using the former name for Hokkaido, Ezo, in a play on the word “Edomae” typically used to indicate Tokyo-style sushi. Through his cuisine, Chef Murai is dedicated to showcasing Hokkaido‘s natural blessings and especially the superb seafood brought into Hakodate port.

The chef’s degustation course commences with four seasonal small plates, followed by six pieces of seafood tempura and six pieces of vegetable tempura, before closing with flavorful steamed rice filled with seasonal ingredients. And there are, of course, some delicious sweets to punctuate a truly delightful meal.

In spring, the menu includes wild mountain vegetables foraged by the chef. He wields his cookery skills to showcase sashimi, puréed soups, and other delectably satisfying dishes combining tempura with umami-rich dashi or thickened sauces. And therein lies the appeal of Tempura Masa — it’s not only tempura. He uses his tempura skills and Hokkaido roots to offer a completely original menu. The chef composes the meal to balance volume and seasoning carefully, allowing guests to savor tempura without a heavy feeling. The only two dishes guests will be sure to see at each visit are the hand-rolled sushi of sauce-dipped conger eel tempura and cucumber wrapped in a crisp sheet of roasted seaweed, and tempura of prawn served with its head which you really should gobble up to experience its sublime, rich flavor. Small plates may include marinated sakura masu cherry trout, crisp prawn cracker topped with plump amaebi prawns, and lily bulb topped with lashings of homemade dried mullet roe.

And while many tempura restaurants typically serve tempura chazuke or tendon as their finishing dish, here, the signature is steamed rice combined with exquisite seasonal ingredients. Leveraging his Japanese cuisine skills, the chef steams rice in flavorful dashi and tosses through generous amounts of seafood like luscious hair crab meat and tasty tempura batter bites.

The mild, gentle flavor of the deep-frying oil comes from a blend of three parts Taihaku untoasted sesame oil to one part Taiko lightly toasted sesame oil, the same used at Chef Murai’s training ground Tempura Kondo. However, the similarities end there. In contrast to the Kondo concept of tempura as a form of steaming, Chef Murai adopts a flexible approach in conversation with each ingredient. Some are effectively steamed, but others, like asparagus and prawns, are deep-fried ever so slightly, and the cooking process is completed with the residual heat. Nira garlic chives, in contrast, are fried intensely to prize out their aromatic essence and distinctive melty sweetness. The frying process likewise deepens the earthy aromas found in shiitake mushrooms.

The concept at Tempura Masa is “Ezomae Tempura”; thus, the course takes you on a journey around Hokkaido to savor the local delicacies like asparagus, corn, and lily bulb. It also features seafood ingredients not typically in tempura, like hokke greenling, saba mackerel, succulent kinki rockfish, and local abalone. The summer menu even includes tempura of hops used to make beer. Focusing on Hokkaido ingredients allows Chef Murai to differentiate from other tempura restaurants, give tempura lovers morsels they have never tried, and offer guests the true taste of the north island.

The batter preparation begins three days in advance with flour placed in the refrigerator to reduce moisture content. The powder snow consistency results in an extremely light batter. The rice is premium Hokkaido brand Yumepirika but of a kind not available on the market because Chef Murai contracts directly with the farmer for the rice from specific paddies. The passion for serving delicious rice extends into the iron pot it is cooked in – an original specially ordered from a Muroran Institute of Technology professor in Muroran, a city with a prolific steelworks industry.

In addition to a selection of sake from breweries around Hokkaido, the French and Californian wine collection is supplemented by local Hokkaido vintages. You may even enjoy a rare encounter with wines from the famed Domaine Takahiko in Yoichi. Homemade soft drinks like ginger ale and craft cola are also available to cater to those who prefer non-alcoholic options.

Tempura Masa cuisine #0
Tempura Masa cuisine #1


Masayuki Murai

Masayuki Murai was born in Hokkaido in 1989, the first year of the Heisei Emperor’s reign. His grandfather was the founder of Susukino Naniwatei, and his father is the middle child of the famed Hokkaido Murai brothers, who took over the Naniwatei restaurant. The older is a chef of kaiseki cuisine centered on robatayaki in Niseko, and the younger manages an Italian bed and breakfast in Yoichi. Masayuki’s grandfather chose his name, taking one character from Heisei linked to the idea of success and joining it with the character for “to attain”, with a wish that he may succeed in whatever he does.

Although he was born into a food dynasty, Murai was obsessed with baseball right through high school. He attended a local powerhouse baseball school where his days began and ended with the sport. Students were required to live in dorms and were responsible for all the cleaning and laundry, which built physical stamina and mental resilience. He shifted course to cuisine after high school, beginning work as a trainee at Kikunoi, the Kyoto restaurant with more than 110 years of history, at his father’s urging. While many around him whined about their days, Murai immersed himself in his daily work without complaint, having been toughened up during high school. Over seven years, he absorbed everything, from the meticulous craftsmanship required of a chef to etiquette, hospitality, and how to run a business. His father then suggested he pivot to specific tempura training as he felt there was strong demand for a high-end tempura restaurant in Sapporo and that it was a perfect way for the son to showcase his experience with Japanese cuisine. The younger Murai roamed the streets of Tokyo devouring tempura until he settled upon Tempura Kondo. He was fascinated by the fact that the master chef with more than 50 years of experience still worked the counter each day. The further training proved invaluable, and with ten years of training under his belt, Murai went independent with Tempura Masa within his father’s Susukino Naniwatei.

Murai is meticulous about cleanliness which he believes is the starting point for everything and which he views as one component of the entire omotenashi style of Japanese hospitality offered to guests. You will undoubtedly notice the clean, dignified air the moment you set foot inside Tempura Masa.

Chef Murai wants to raise tempura‘s profile and generate excitement around it in Hokkaido, where tempura culture is not yet firmly established. He also has his sights on a more casual style where guests can enjoy high-end tempura from an à la carte menu. Ultimately, Murai would like to expand overseas to New York or Paris to share tempura with the world. Sushi has seen enormous success overseas, but unlike sushi, where seafood quality is everything, tempura’s potential and appeal is in showcasing the unique ingredients of the local landscape. Murai knows food makes people happy, and words of gratitude and praise motivate him to continue his work. It will be wonderful to see how far he takes his tempura dream.


Almost every ingredient served at Tempura Masa originates in Hokkaido. Only the kuruma-ebi shrimp, sudachi citrus, and karasumi dried mullet roe are shipped to the big north island. Once the ingredients are battered and fried, it is difficult to see their beautiful colors and shapes, so Chef Murai presents them to guests first as a feast for the eyes on a platter. He is happy to answer questions on ingredients you may be curious about and where they are farmed. Special mention must be made of the anago conger eel used in the signature anakyu anago and cucumber hand-rolled sushi. The large, thick, fleshy conger eels are from Funka Bay in Hokkaido’s southwest, famous as a treasure chest of premium seafood. Chef Murai takes delivery of the fresh eels and only breaks down what he uses each day. With the perfect amount of fat, the flesh soaks up the chef’s signature sauce and contrasts with the crisp, crunchy, and refreshing goodness of cucumber for a dish that is out of this world.


6PM-, 8:30PM-
Tempura Masa omakase course from January 2024
  • The price includes our booking fee of ¥8,000
  • The price includes our booking fee of ¥8,000
Reservation Request
Monday, 7PM
Tempura Masa omakase course served by sous chef
  • The price includes our booking fee of ¥8,000
  • The price includes our booking fee of ¥8,000
Reservation Request


Tempura Masa

天ぷら 成

& UP
Tempura, Sapporo
1F, Japan, 〒064-0804 Hokkaido, Sapporo, Chuo Ward, Minami 4 Jonishi, 4 Chome , 松岡ビル 1階 天ぷら成
Dinner: 6PM-, 8:30PM-


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