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Essential Japan Sushi Guide

(寿司)

japan sushi top Essential Japan Sushi Guide

Japan Sushi…the opportunity to experience this delicacy prepared authentically in its country of origin is reason enough to venture to Japan. If it’s fresh, masterfully prepared sushi you seek in Japan, you won’t be disappointed.

 

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Origin of Sushi in Japan

Sushi in its earliest form can be traced all the way back to Japan’s Muromachi Period (1336 – 1573), and became popularized as an early type of Japanese fast food in the form much like we know it today toward the end of the Edo Period (1603 – 1868).

Popular Types of Japan Sushi

Sushi is actually prepared in a wide variety of ways in Japan. Some of these forms you have probably enjoyed at your neighborhood sushi joint. Others may be new to you.

bullet4 Essential Japan Sushi Guide Nigirizushi (hand-formed sushi)

Nigiri sushi, or nigirizushi, the most basic and popular form of Japan sushi, is made by hand-forming a ball of vinegared rice, called shari, into an oblong shape and topping it with a thin slice of (usually raw) fish, called neta. The shari sometimes contains a thin spread of wasabi. Nigirizushi is the most popular type of sushi in Japan.

japan sushi nigirizushi Essential Japan Sushi Guide

bullet4 Essential Japan Sushi Guide Makizushi (rolled sushi)

Makizushi is rolls of sushi made by spreading vinegared rice, nori seaweed, and neta across a bamboo mat, rolling it all up into a long cylinder, and then slicing the roll into six or eight pieces.

japan sushi makizushi Essential Japan Sushi Guide

While makizushi has evolved into the most popular type of sushi in the U.S., serving as a pallet for creative combinations of ingredients that go far beyond basic Japanese flavors, makizushi in Japan tends to be much simpler, often consisting of just a single ingredient or two.

bullet4 Essential Japan Sushi Guide Futomaki (plump sushi rolls)

Futomaki is a plumper version of makizushi that contains three or four color- coordinated ingredients, such as cucumber, egg, and pickled daikon radish.

japan sushi futomaki Essential Japan Sushi Guide

bullet4 Essential Japan Sushi Guide Temakizushi (hand-rolled sushi)

Temakizushi is made by hand-rolling a piece of nori into the shape of a cone with the rice and neta on the inside.

japan sushi temakizushi Essential Japan Sushi Guide

Learn How to Make Delicious Temaki Sushi!

 

bullet4 Essential Japan Sushi Guide Oshizushi (pressed sushi)

Oshizushi is made by pressing the ingredients inside of a wooden mold. This type of sushi is popular in Japan’s Kansai region.

japan sushi oshizushi Essential Japan Sushi Guide

bullet4 Essential Japan Sushi Guide Inarizushi (fried-tofu filled sushi)

Inarizushi is a pouch of fried tofu, called abura-age, usually filled just with vinegared rice.

japan sushi inarizushi Essential Japan Sushi Guide

bullet4 Essential Japan Sushi Guide Chirashizushi (“scattered” sushi)

Literally meaning “scattered sushi,” chirashizushi is a bowl of vinegared rice topped with an assortment of chopped up neta, commonly including egg, fish roe, and shrimp.

japan sushi chirashizushi Essential Japan Sushi Guide

bullet4 Essential Japan Sushi Guide Sashimi (slices of raw fish)

Sashimi is slices of raw fish without the bed of rice. At restaurants, sashimi is often presented as a colorful assortment of raw fish artfully arranged on a platter.

japan sushi sashimi Essential Japan Sushi Guide

bullet4 Essential Japan Sushi Guide Onigiri (rice balls)

Onigiri are (usually) triangle-shaped balls of rice that contain fillings like salmon and tuna, and even natto, and are wrapped up in a piece of nori. Onigiri are favorite snacks to enjoy on the run in Japan, and are a staple at any convenience store.

japan sushi onigiri Essential Japan Sushi Guide

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Where to Eat Japan Sushi

bullet4 Essential Japan Sushi Guide Upscale sushi bars

Japan’s freshest and priciest sushi, prepared by renown chefs, can be found in exclusive, upscale sushi bars, such as those found in the posh Tokyo district of Ginza. A sushi dinner at these sushi bars can run upward of 20,000 yen per person or even more.

bullet4 Essential Japan Sushi Guide Tsukiji Fish Market

Another great place to enjoy ultra-fresh Japan sushi at a slightly more reasonable cost is the famed Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo. First check out the wholesale buying and selling that takes place at the market at crack of dawn. Then head to one of the well-known nearby sushi bars for unbelievable breakfast featuring the catch of the day. Expect to pay about 5,000 yen or more for the chef’s Omakase course.

japan sushi tsukiji Essential Japan Sushi Guide

Check out our review of Sushi-Dai, an incredible restaurant in the Tsukiji Market area.

bullet4 Essential Japan Sushi Guide Kaiten-zushi (revolving sushi restaurants)

Kaiten-zushi (often mispronounced in English as kaiten sushi) is a fun, casual, and affordable sushi dining option. At these restaurants, plates of sushi revolve around the seated customers on a conveyor belt. Learn more about Japanese kaiten-zushi restaurants!

japan sushi kaitenzushi Essential Japan Sushi Guide

As mentioned above, prices vary by plate color, and also by restaurant. The cheapest kaiten-zushi restaurants advertise 100-yen per plate sushi. Most offer sushi with prices ranging between around 200 yen to 700 yen per plate. Quality also varies accordingly.

bullet4 Essential Japan Sushi Guide Standing Sushi Bars

These sushi bars have become more prominent in recent years. As the name suggests, at these bars customers order up and eat while standing. With prices starting from as low as around 75 yen per piece, this is about the most inexpensive sushi-eating option you can find in Japan.

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If you’re a sushi lover, with the incredible variety and quality of offerings, bring your chopsticks and your appetite, because you’ll feel like you’ve arrived in heaven during your time in Japan.

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