Sushi Takemoto main image


Sushi Takemoto


Gourmands who have long beaten a path to Kokura in Kyushu need to update their destination to Tokyo’s Minami-Aoyama to devour the delicious cuisine at Sushi Takemoto. Embarking on Tokyo's fiercely competitive sushi scene, Chef Takemoto is confident that the ambiance he has created and his skills as a chef will spell success for him in his already brilliant career.

From the large avenue running above Gaienmae station, near Japan’s premier rugby ground, look for the restaurant’s signboard – a precious piece containing the penmanship of Unokichi Tachibana, a calligrapher from the Tachibana School of Edo-style and Vaudeville lettering (Edomoji and yosemoji) who is more accustomed to kanji than hiragana. As you descend the stairs to a private basement location, the doors open onto traditional Japanese paper sliding doors with latticework above and a carved wooden design below. The pattern, called seigaiha or wave pattern, was chosen by Suzuki Komuten, the company charged with the restaurant’s interior design and carpentry, despite being more accustomed to constructing religious sites like shrines and temples. It chose the pattern because the Sushi Takemoto fare focuses on delicacies from the sea. The auspicious motif evokes a sense of the vast blue sea and its blessings, with the endless waves carrying a wish for eternal happiness and a prayer for peaceful lives for all.

Inside, a stunning hinoki cypress counter creates an elegant dining space. Cut from a 6.5-meter plank from a 480-year-old cypress, the counter generously seats nine guests. Every seat offers a close-up look at the chef's deft movements as he shapes sushi. It's mesmerizing. It’s also hard to take your eyes off an akamatsu red pine column that stands sturdy and tall within the counter.

In searching for a new venue, Chef Takemoto considered the world's most coveted food destinations, from New York and London to Paris and Thailand. Finally, he settled on this place much closer to home in Minami-Aoyama, Tokyo. And the space is beautiful. While never having engaged in service before, the chef’s wife is the new restaurant’s proprietress, and her lovely style and personality complement the chef well.



Relocated from Kyushu

The Sushi Takemoto omakase course begins with a few small plates, sashimi, and delectable appetizers, followed by eleven pieces of nigiri sushi, rolled sushi, and a sumptuous omelet. The nigiri follows a progression from white-fleshed fish and squid to tuna, then gizzard shad, boiled hamaguri clams, and conger eel, showcasing the chef's exquisite cooking skills and seasoning choices. Having formerly used plates for service, Takemoto now adopts the direct service style, placing nigiri pieces and appetizers straight on the counter, so enamored with that aesthetic.

Sashimi of hirame flounder from Chiba Prefecture’s Boso Peninsula is rested for one day and typically served with liver ponzu sauce. The origin of the kohada gizzard shad is Edomae, meaning it was fished in the Tokyo Bay area. It is cured in sea salt and Yokoi Brewery’s finest vinegar for a sharp taste to suit the preferences of the local Edokko – a nickname given to people who are native to or have strong roots in Tokyo. Takemoto’s move to Tokyo prompted a more robust vinegar profile for the pickled kohada. The umami-rich fish supplied by fishmonger Ueken needs solid seasoning and a good balance of salt and vinegar in the underlying rice beds the seafood rests on. The morsels of firmly pressed vinegared rice are bite-sized, as the chef feels that’s what guests want. Kasugo from Kyoto is rested before being cured with kombu and vinegar. The hamaguri clams from Kagoshima are first cooked, then marinated, and finished with a brushstroke of a reduced sweetened soy sauce mixture. The dish is a fine demonstration of the chef’s talent and craftsmanship. Anago conger eel is steamed to fluffy, pillowy perfection. The 320-kilogram line-caught maguro comes from Kesennuma in Miyagi Prefecture, an area that suffered badly in the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. Classic Edomae sushi always features rolled sushi with kanpyo – marinated gourd strips. Chef Takemoto knew that with the move to Tokyo, there would be no shortage of diners to appreciate the simple beauty of kanpyo-maki.

Wine lovers will rejoice in the wonderful selection that includes an extensive array of brands imported personally by the chef. This is complemented by a carefully curated collection of sake varieties.

Toyosu wholesaler Ueken is the source of all the incredible seafood served at Sushi Takemoto. Sushi chefs used to visit the market daily, stopping by several stores to gather their ingredients. But now, with falling fish resources, Takemoto finds it more efficient to procure everything from one trusted supplier. He is convinced that giving the fishmonger total control results in deliveries of the highest quality items. Several of the chef’s ingredients show the importance of his Kyushu roots. Freshly harvested Koshihikari rice from the Kuwahara district of Saga Prefecture is seasoned with a blend of one red and two rice vinegar varieties from Yokoi Vinegar Brewery. The soy sauce is an organic brew from Itojima in Fukuoka, the natural sea salt comes from Yamaguchi Prefecture, and the wasabi of the Mazuma variety is delivered from the lush green surrounds of Gotemba, Shizuoka Prefecture.

Sushi Takemoto cuisine #0
Sushi Takemoto cuisine #1


Daisuke Takemoto

Daisuke Takemoto was born into a poor household in Kokura, Fukuoka Prefecture, in 1981. He started part-time work while still an elementary school student and took a job at a sushi restaurant near his home during junior high school. He could not believe his luck getting to eat sushi for staff meals. Upon graduation from junior high school, Takemoto expressed a wish to continue working at that sushi restaurant but was refused by the master, who implored him to go to Tokyo. Thus, at just 16, he left for Tokyo, where he went on to polish his sushi skills at eight acclaimed restaurants.

Keen to go independent early, he chose to open Sushi Takemoto in 2006 in his native Kokura at the age of 26, wishing to live near his parents. The word spread among gourmands who traveled the length of the archipelago to enjoy his cuisine. During some of that time, Chef Takemoto was supported by Nobuhide Takagaki, then a trainee sushi chef and now the master at Nihonbashi’s Takagaki no Sushi. After ten years in Tokyo and 17 in Kokura as a sushi chef, Takemoto has returned to delight guests in the metropolis with his delicious food and enjoyable atmosphere.

The desire to shape sushi on a bigger stage compelled Takemoto to move to Tokyo, this time with his wife and daughter by his side. He is grateful for his wife's unwavering support at work and home. Constantly focused on his original intentions, he prioritizes the sentiment of his diners even on the grand stage of Aoyama, Tokyo. He hopes guests will always experience the warmth and comfort of his restaurant.


For the past six years, Chef Takemoto has been a dedicated user of ROKUNABE, a fully glazed earthenware pot specially designed in Shiga Prefecture. When food is cooked in clay pots, the clay absorbs heat from the heat source and distributes it evenly throughout the pot in a gentle, even cooking process that cooks food thoroughly while retaining its natural flavors and nutrients. Clay also emits far-infrared radiation when heated, and ROKUNABE pots effectively use this property to cook rice using very little water. While a typical sushi-ya uses just under a 1:1 ratio of rice to water, Takemoto uses freshly harvested rice and a ratio of 1:0.65. The Koshihikari rice is grown in a climate with widely variable temperatures, leaving the smallish grains packed with sweetness and luster. They arrive direct from a rice merchant who mills the rice to remove the hull and polishes it in five-kilogram batches to send to Takemoto.

Working backward from his guests’ arrival time, Takemoto places the ROKUNABE pot over the flame. The freshly cooked rice is then spread across his workspace with steam emerging, and the chef gets to work on reinventing it as vinegared rice right before guests’ eyes. Resting the rice and waiting is unnecessary because it is steamed with so little water. But once it is ready, Takemoto uses it all within an hour for maximum enjoyment.


5:30PM- or 8:30PM-
Sushi Takemoto Omakase course
  • The price includes our booking fee of ¥8,000
  • The price includes our booking fee of ¥8,000
Reservation Request


Sushi Takemoto


& UP
Sushi, Aoyama
B1F, 2-22-17 Minamiaoyama Minatoku, Tokyo, Japan
5:30PM- , 8:30PM-


  • ×