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When visiting Hokkaido, considered the mecca of fresh fish in Japan, you must absolutely try its delicious sushi. Among the many options available, this article offers you a roundup of 10 of the best sushi restaurants for 2018.
1. Otaru Masazushi Main Branch (Otaru)
This long-established restaurant carries on a tradition of over 70 years. Using exclusively local products for local consumption, the chef turns the daily catch into delicious sushi right before your eyes. Above all, the restaurant boasts exceptional wild maguro (northern bluefin tuna). Caught in November in the Atlantic coast of Canada, an over 300kg tuna is stocked whole and made available for consumption any time of the year, never ceasing to taste incredibly delicious. Enjoy otoro (premium fatty tuna) in their 12-nigiri set called [Masazushi Takumi], together with other fish that are chosen depending on the season!
Otaru Masazushi Main BranchOpen: [Monday, Tuesday, Thursday - Sunday, Holidays, Day Before Holidays] 11:00 - 22:00
Average price: [Dinner] 3,500 JPY
Access: Get off at JR Otaru Station. It is approximately 3 to 4 minutes by taxi from the station.
Address: 1-1-1 Hanazono, Otaru, Hokkaido (Map)
2. Sushi Ko (Otaru)Enjoy sushi while stretching your legs in a stone warehouse full of history. While sticking to the freshest ingredients, the prices are quite reasonable compared to other restaurants. You may either order your favorite fish à-la-carte or go for a nigiri set. That said, their most popular menu items are donburi (rice bowl with toppings) dishes topped with generous amounts of seafood. In particular, their specialty is the fresh, raw uni (sea urchin) used in their [Uni Ikura Don], made with no additives whatsoever. Its unique rich taste is typical of Hokkaido.
Sushi KoOpen: [Monday/Tuesday/Thursday-Sunday/Holidays/Day Before Holidays] Normal hours noon-9:30 PM (last order 8:30 PM) *Hours can change depending on amount of food.
Average price: [Dinner] 2,500 JPY
Access: From JR Otaru Station, 5 minutes on foot. Also, from the Otaru Highway Interchange, 5 minutes by car.
Address: 2-2-6 Ironai, Otaru-shi, Hokkaido (Map)
3. Sushi Sho (Ebetsu)If you're looking for a budget-friendly kaiten-zushi (conveyor belt sushi), head here and you'll be treated to super fresh local ingredients. Make your order with the easy-to-use touch panel, and you'll get your freshly handcrafted sushi in no time. A recommended menu item is the [5 Fresh Maguro Nigiri], consisting of otoro, chutoro (medium fatty tuna), akami (lean meat), bincho maguro (white tuna), and negitoro (fatty tuna and scallion). This popular dish allows you to enjoy tuna in all its forms for a bargain price. Take advantage of such freshness and try their sashimi, tempura, Hokkaido's original zangi (deep-fried food), and all the other delicacies available that make this place a great option for families.
Sushi ShoOpen: [Monday - Thursday / Sunday] Normal hours: 11:00 a.m. - 10:00 p.m.
[Friday / Saturday] 11:00 a.m. - 11:00 p.m.
Average price: [Dinner] 1,700 JPY / [Lunch] 1,700 JPY
Access: The restaurant is a 15-minute walk from Takasago station on the JR Hakodate main line, or a 40-minute drive from the centre of Sapporo.
Address: 9-22 Motomachi, Ebetsu-shi, Hokkaido (Map)
4. Sushi Hanayoshi (Niseko)Thanks to its pure Japanese design and English-speaking staff, this restaurant is extremely popular among foreign tourists. Their specialty is fermented fish with divine condensed umami (Japanese savory taste), made from all kinds of seafood, including flounder, silver-skin fish, and other fresh seafood that the owner personally selects every day with extreme care. Of course, their sushi is delicious, but so are their sashimi, grilled fish, and every other delicacy on their diverse menu that offers the best ways to experience seafood. For example, the [Sashimi Assortment] is a delight for both the eyes and taste buds. Yezo abalone, uni, maguro, squid, and others for a total of 8 kinds of seafood are beautifully arranged to give you a taste of what's in season.
Sushi HanayoshiOpen: [Tuesday - Sunday, National Holidays] Lunch 11:30 am - 2:00 pm (L.O. 1:30 pm) / Dinner 5:00 pm - 9:00 pm (L.O. 8:30 pm) *Close at 10:00 pm (L.O. 9:30 pm) in winter
Average price: [Dinner] 8,000 JPY / [Lunch] 2,000 JPY
Access: 10 minutes walk from Niseko Station on JR Hakodate Main Line
Address: 65, Fujimi, Niseko-cho, Abuta-gun, Hokkaido (Map)
5. Sushiya no Saito (Susukino)This is a renowned restaurant in the crowded sushi mecca of Susukino, Hokkaido's foremost shopping area. Without too elaborate processings, their fresh sushi is simply crafted so as to enhance the authentic flavor of each ingredient. They open early, and if you order their [Lunch Only - Okimari (10 Nigiri - Rice Bowl)], you'll spend way less than dinner time, so keep it in mind as a valid lunch option! You'll get a mouth-watering lineup of white-fleshed fish, maguro, scallop, botan shrimp, abalone, surf clam, crab, herring roe, salmon roe, uni, and more. The à-la-carte menu also offers hairy crabs, live botan shrimps, and lots of other typical tastes of Hokkaido.
Sushiya no SaitoOpen: Normal hours 5:00pm- 12:00 am (Until 10:00pm on Sundays and days before holidays)
Average price: [Dinner] 12,960 JPY
Access: With JR Sapporo Station behind you, walk 4-5 minutes south along Ekimae Dori towards Nakajima Koen Station.
Address: Plaza 6 - 4 Bldg. 1F, 4 Minami Rokujo Nishi, Chuo-ku, Sapporo, Hokkaido (Map)
6. Shikama - Sushi & Japanese Cuisine (Otaru)Stuff your cheeks with fish caught in Hokkaido's adjacent seas and products from Otaru here. Most of all, make sure you order uni, mantis shrimp, and botan shrimp when they're available! They taste so good and fresh that you might feel like crying. One of their top menu items is the [Shikama Nigiri], an assortment of uni, salmon roe, crab, and tuna, as well as super fresh shellfish. Off the menu, they also have tons of creative delicacies made with seasonal ingredients, so you'll find different things depending on when you go.
Shikama -Sushi & Japanese CuisineOpen: [Monday, Wednesday - Sunday, National Holidays, Day before National Holidays] 11:00 am - 10:00 pm (L.O. 9:30 pm) During weekdays, we have a break from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm.
Average price: [Dinner] 7,000 JPY / [Lunch] 3,000 JPY
Access: From JR Otaru Station, turn right at the National Route No. 5, turn left at Inaho Icchome Intersection, and turn right at Sushiyadori-mae-temae Intersection
Address: 1-2-5, Hanazono, Otaru city, Hokkaido (Map)
7. Sushi Watanabe Sapporo branch (Susukino)A skilled sushi masterchef uses traditional Edo techniques to craft his sushi in a course he named [Yezo-mae Sushi]. Other than some nigiri, the course also includes top-rated must-eats like [Yezo Abalone and Innards Sauce] and the [Deluxe Tofu] topped with uni and salmon roe. Plus, you can pair it with seasonal or limited edition alcoholic drinks from Hokkaido, which when combined with the modern Japanese design of the restaurant, will truly bring your experience to a higher level. This place is mainly recommended to those who want to enjoy a quiet meal on a special occasion.
Sushi Watanabe Sapporo branchOpen: Lunch 11:30 am - 1:30 pm (L.O. 1:00 pm) / Dinner 5:30 pm - 10:30 pm *Last entry is 9:00 pm
Average price: [Dinner] 15,000 JPY / [Lunch] 5,000 JPY
Access: 4 minutes walk from [Susukino Station]
Address: 4F, Plaza 6-4 Bldg., 4-1 Minami 6-jo Nishi, Chuo-ku, Sapporo, Hokkaido (Map)
8. Sushisai Wakichi (Maruyama koen)Playing a significant role for the world of sushi in the Sapporo area, the young sushi master of this restaurant has drawn the attention of many. In a tiny and cozy space with just 8 seats, the white wooden counter oozes out elegance. The menu only offers an omakase (chef's recommended) course, comprising of 5 side dishes and 12 nigiri. Whether they're from Hokkaido or other parts of Japan, the seafood ingredients stocked at this restaurant are always of high quality and in season. Of course, Hokkaido's specialties are all superb, and you'll get to savor the chef's creativity with his original hairy crab and bafun uni (a local kind of sea urchin), which are first marinated and then used as nigiri toppings. Don't miss this chance to taste both classic and extravagant delicacies!
Sushisai WakichiOpen: [Tuesday - Sunday, Holidays, Day Before Holidays] 18:00 - (Two sets, one each from 18:00 and 20:00)
Average price: [Dinner] 20,000 JPY
Access: 5 minutes on foot from Maruyama-Koen Station on the Sapporo Municipal Subway Tozai Line.
Address: 25-1-22 Minami 2-jo Nishi, Chuo-ku, Sapporo, Hokkaido (Map)
9. Sushi Minato (Asahikawa)This is a popular starred restaurant. Focusing on seafood from Hokkaido, it carefully selects and sources its seasonal products from all parts of the country. The à-la-carte dishes, masterfully prepared by the chef, are true artworks that bring out the authentic aroma, flavor, and texture of each ingredient. Of course, the same meticulousness is applied to his nigiri, like the [Anago] (eel), whose fluffy texture and the sweet sauce will put a smile on your face without you even realizing. Alternatively, sake matching delicacies like the [Karasumi] (dried mullet roe) and [Nidako] (boiled octopus) will undoubtedly make you enjoy the most delicious ingredients at their best. Make a reservation if you can.
Sushi MinatoOpen: [Weekdays, Saturday, Holidays, Days before holidays] Normal hours 6:00 pm - 12:00 am
Average price: [Dinner] 10,000 JPY
Access: 10 minute walk from Asashikawa Station.
Address: 3 Jodori 5-chome Left 9, Asahikawa, Hokkaido (Map)
10. Sushiya no Yamada (Susukino)This is the king of nigiri. They pay particular attention towards selecting only the best ingredients, resulting in their stock coming not only from Hokkaido but from as far away as Kyushu. As for the rice, they use a top-quality brand from Hokkaido called "Yumepirika," which tastes divine with nigiri toppings. Of all their fantastic nigiri options, one item you cannot miss is the [Kita no Sushi]. It's a set of 10 nigiri, including tuna, flounder, shrimp, octopus, abalone, surf clam, salmon, crab, uni, and salmon roe. It will offer you the ultimate experience of seafood from Hokkaido and the surrounding seas.
Sushiya no YamadaOpen: Normal hours: 5:00 pm - 2:00 am
Average price: [Dinner] 10,000 JPY
Access: Three minute walk from Susukino Station on the Sapporo Municipal Subway Line. Proceed along Sapporo Ekimaedori street toward Nakajimakoen Station, turn left at the third corner and it will be on your right-hand side.
Address: Shinjukudori No.20 Keiwa Bldg. 1F , 4-2 Minami Gojo Nishi , Chuo-ku, Sapporo, Hokkaido (Map)
Reservation Fresh sushi is a food that truly lets you taste the changing of the seasons, and the seafood stocked by each of these restaurant is so fresh that you'll immediately get addicted to its flavor. Go ahead and enjoy to your heart's content the gifts from the sea, available seasonally during the time of your visit!