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Pure, simple flavors of the ocean are served in an intimate and warm atmosphere. A loud welcome of “irasshaimase” echoes as you step inside. This legendary and laude restaurant thrives on the energy and vitality of Koichi Taira, the third Executive Chef in Umi’s brilliant history.

After a short walk from Gaienmae metro station, the crisp noren hanging above the wooden entrance comes into view. The calligraphy characters for “ocean” and “flavor” are read as “Umi”. The welcoming interior is lined with dark timber, contrasting with the pale counter that intimately seats nine guests.

Stacks of dishes in an array of shapes and sizes are within the chef’s easy reach. He is busy, yet entertains the guests who anticipate the next delicious bite to grace their palates. Tiara specialty-orders beech wood chopsticks and guests are encouraged to take them home after dining.



Rustic and warm

The omakase menu includes approximately seven appetizer-like dishes in addition to the sushi courses. These may include his signature dish of brown rice or soy-marinated peanuts, showcasing Chef Taira’s versatility and skill. His experience working in kaiseki restaurants, though abbreviated, has shaped his current role as a sushi chef. Some sushi chefs may leave their guests to their own devices to dip fish slices in soy sauce. Taira, however, does not allow it. He always creates the most appropriate sauces to accompany his sashimi courses by combining kombu, onion, or other flavorful ingredients with soy sauce.

The following courses in the omakase menu consist of 15 to 16 pieces of nigiri. Kohada is presented first as a unique start to the sequence of fish, followed by white-fleshed fish or squid. The chef’s intricate knife skills highlight the beautiful pattern of the fish, and each piece at once satiates and brings anticipation for the next piece.

Nigiri with impossibly tender anago, umami-rich seasonal crab, purple uni from Hokkaido, and a bite of custardy omelet create the foundation of Umi’s new legacy.

Fish, shellfish, and vegetables change monthly and reflect the significant impact of season on the menu. Chef Taira makes final menu decisions each morning from among the ingredients which have been procured and set aside in Toyosu Market specifically for Umi.

Chef Taira’s tuna aging acumen is especially noteworthy since he takes the location of harvest as well as the method into consideration. His special piece “o-toro no zuke”, soy-marinated fatty tuna belly, is phenomenal. Before he serves the o-toro zuke, he always presents something warm like a grilled or steamed dish to ready guests’ palates.

Umi cuisine #0
Umi cuisine #1


Koichi Taira

Taira was born in 1980 on Tokunoshima Island in Kagoshima, and was an enthusiastic fan of sumo wrestling. At 15, he left the island to attend Kagoshima Josei High School where he studied culinary arts. After graduation, he spent the next four years working at a well-known sushi restaurant in Osaka. During this time he also helped to open a branch in the U.S. Upon returning to Japan, he worked at Japanese restaurant in the Hotel Granvia Osaka and soon after at the renowned sushi counter, Mizuki, at The Ritz Carlton Kyoto. He was appointed Executive Chef at Umi in July 2019.

He strives for consistency each day, and gracefully respects Umi’s tradition and loyal customers. He strives to insert his own personality by using his favorite rice and vinegars and by using a special donabe pot from the artisan Ippento Nakagawa. He plans to customize plates gradually, and hopes customers will appreciate his knowledge of Japanese service ware.


Taira’s favorite rice comes from Minoru Ishii in Tome, Miyagi prefecture. It is grown without pesticides and freshly packed using the latest technology that prevents oxidation by replacing air with carbon dioxide. He washes his rice the day before, soaks it in water overnight, and drains it first thing in the morning. He then allows it to rest, and begins cooking after taking into account when it will be served.

At any given moment, he always has three kinds of shari, seasoned sushi rice, on hand. One is mainly seasoned with red vinegar and mixed with a little regular rice vinegar, which is for richer tasting fish. The second shari is mainly seasoned with rice vinegar, but mixed with a smaller amount of red vinegar, which is for lighter fish. The last one is well-balanced shari, which he uses for making sushi bowls, such like bara or chirashi.

He specifically sources Ishii’s brown rice. Chef Taira often serves the just-cooked brown rice as the second appetizer presented with a bit of Fuji-su vinegar brewed by Iio Jozo. It is his signature dish.


Lunch (Tue, Fri, Sat, Sun only)
Umi Lunch ONLY course menu
  • The price includes our booking fee of ¥8,000
  • The price includes our booking fee of ¥8,000
Reservation Request
Umi Omakase course from Feb 2024
  • The price includes our booking fee of ¥8,000
  • The price includes our booking fee of ¥8,000
Reservation Request




& UP
Sushi, Aoyama
1F, 3-2-8 Minami Aoyama Minato-ku Tokyo
Lunch: 12PM, Dinner 5pm and 8pm seating
Wednesday and Holidays


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