1. Eat Play Works
    Photo: Sushidan
  2. ブルペン
    Photo: Keisuke TanigawaBullpen
  3. Sushi Tokyo Ten Shibuya
    Photo: Keisuke TanigawaSushi Tokyo Ten Shibuya

7 best omakase sushi for ¥5,000 and under in Tokyo

This quintessential Tokyo food experience doesn’t have to break the bank

Emma Steen
Written by
Emma Steen
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People often think there are two kinds of sushi: the cheap conveyor belt sort that comes on ¥100 plates and the expensive omakase courses served piece by piece over the counter. The latter is, of course, one of the most coveted Tokyo experiences, but one such meal could easily set you back ¥20,000 to ¥30,000. 

Let us reassure you that expertly crafted omakase sushi doesn’t necessarily have to cost upwards of ¥10,000. In fact, there are plenty of restaurants in Tokyo where you can enjoy top-tier sushi featuring the chef’s seasonal recommendations for ¥5,000 or less. 

Affordable sushi also doesn’t mean compromising on quality or swapping uni for cucumber rolls. The secret is knowing the right places to go. Here are our top picks for omakase sushi if you want to live a champagne lifestyle on a lemonade budget.

RECOMMENDED: Try the best cheap Michelin meals in Tokyo

  • Restaurants
  • Marunouchi

From ¥3,850

Nothing adds sparkle to an ordinary weekday quite like an omakase sushi lunch. This restaurant in the Marunouchi financial district is usually packed with office workers popping in during their lunch break for a mid-week treat, but show up before 1pm and you’ll have a good chance of nabbing a seat.

The standard lunchtime omakase menu has a good variety of nigiri sushi and side dishes like chawanmushi (savoury egg custard) and ikura (marinated salmon roe) over rice. The vibe here is polished but fuss-free, so you don’t have to feel intimidated if there’s a particular fish or ingredient you’re not a fan of – the chefs behind the counter are happy to prepare a replacement for you.

You can only book a table for lunch if you’re planning to order the ¥7,700 course. The ¥3,850 lunch course doesn't take reservations, but it has all the goodies everyone looks forward to in an omakase menu, including prized uni and chutoro (fatty tuna). 

  • Restaurants
  • Shinjuku

From ¥4,000

Omakase sushi doesn’t need to be reserved for special occasions planned weeks ahead. This casual open kitchen at the new Shinjuku Yokocho food hall allows for casual spontaneity while serving up first-rate sushi. The restaurant playfully likens itself to a petrol station because of the way its course selection is formatted, but instead of diesel, you’re getting fueled on sushi.

A ‘regular’ omakase set is priced at ¥4,000 during lunch while the more voluminous ‘full tank’ set is available for ¥6,000. The former includes roughly eight pieces of Edomae-style sushi, where the rice has been lightly seasoned with red vinegar. Varieties of fish vary depending on the season, but even the standard course often includes favourites like chutoro (fatty tuna) and anago (saltwater eel).

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  • Restaurants
  • Sushi
  • Shinagawa

From ¥5,000

This offbeat standing-only sushi bar in Shinagawa has a bizarre baseball theme to it, but the concept behind the restaurant is a little easier to digest if you see it as an amalgamation of two of Japan’s greatest loves. Bullpen is named after the area where pitchers warm up before a game, and its sushi chefs all wear customised baseball caps. 

Though the joint identifies as a modern pub, its single-minded goal is to provide an authentic sushi experience to a wide group of people – and you don’t have to love baseball to enjoy the sushi here. Each piece of nigiri is served one at a time, with toppings like maguro (tuna), akagai (ark shell) and sawara (Spanish mackerel) that wash down well with the beer and sake offered behind the counter. The lunchtime omakase is priced from ¥5,000 while dinner will set you back at least ¥7,000.

  • Restaurants
  • Sushi
  • Shibuya

From ¥4,400

In Tokyo, sushi on a budget normally means skipping the uni and fatty tuna rolls and sticking to imported salmon and dashimaki tamago (Japanese omelette) nigiri. This isn’t the case at Sushi Tokyo Ten Shibuya, where you can drop into the Shibuya Stream sushi restaurant for a generous omakase lunch for ¥4,400 (weekdays only) and dinner for ¥8,800.

A peaceful oasis in the middle of bustling Shibuya, this sleek counter-style sushi restaurant will leave you feeling pampered, calm and most importantly, satisfied by the end of your lunch break. The restaurant doesn’t have any menus, but you’re in good hands as the chef behind the counter swiftly and seamlessly forms an array of perfectly shaped sushi, including opulent favourites like chutoro (medium fatty tuna) and a mini ikura-don (salmon eggs over rice).

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  • Restaurants
  • Sushi
  • Omotesando

¥5,000

This wildly popular sushi restaurant has five other locations around the city, and the menu varies across each of them. If you’re after an authentic yet affordable omakase sushi experience with seasonal highlights like fresh tataki-style horse mackerel and black throat seaperch, which are both autumnal delicacies, look no further.

Opt to sit at the beautiful hinoki counter at lunch time so you can order the ¥5,000 omakase sushi menu. Aside from the classic nigiri sushi, Ikina Sushidokoro Abe also has a few inventive dishes that you won’t find at other sushi joints, like the riceless maki rolls which are filled with ikura, pickled ginger and kohada (gizzard shad).

  • Restaurants
  • Hiroo

From ¥3,500

Chef Takehiro Arakawa reinstates the idea that making sushi is an art form at his eight-seat counter in Hiroo’s Eat Play Work. The detail with which Arakawa uses to slice his fish is remarkable, and each piece practically glimmers as he places it onto carefully shaped vessels of vinegared rice. 

Despite the restaurant’s limited capacity and the quality of sushi on offer, the privilege of sitting at Arakawa’s counter comes at a surprisingly affordable price. At lunchtime, diners can order the 'Shiro' omakase course, which comes with nine pieces of nigiri sushi and one maki roll for just ¥3,500. This leaves you with a bit of cash to spare for a glass or two of fine sake sourced from different regions of Japan. Alternatively, you can go for the 'Kuro' omakase course with 12 pieces of nigiri and miso soup for 5,800. 

You can make lunch and dinner reservations online or via telephone.

For something more casual

  • Restaurants
  • Sushi
  • Toranomon

From ¥900

This casual standing sushi restaurant is one of the many new eateries in Toranomon Hills Station Tower’s basement eating zone, T-Market. It is the first sushi restaurant run by Uogashi Yamaharu, a long-standing seafood wholesaler that’s been running business in Tsukiji and now Toyosu market for over half a century.

The sushi here offers great value for money, with lunch omakase courses starting at just ¥900 for five pieces. Eight pieces will set you back ¥1,600 while an 11-piece lunch omakase course comes in at a reasonable ¥2,600.

Dinner, of course, is priced higher, but not by much. Also, you’ll enjoy premium seafood including ikura (salmon roe) and abalone. You can get an eight-piece omakase course for just ¥3,500 and 11 pieces for ¥4,500.

https://media.timeout.com/images/105799670/image.jpg
Kaila Imada
Associate Editor, Time Out Tokyo

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