The Incredible Price of Sushi in Japan: High and Low

Chad Thiele Updated August 16, 2019
Sushi in Tokyo

You’ve probably heard Tokyo is super expensive.

And you’re right, it sure can be. But guess what.

Sushi in Tokyo can either be incredibly expensive, or remarkably cheap.

I say remarkably because I really mean it — it is worth making a remark about.

Probably the craziest thing is this. Even “cheap” sushi is delicious!

► Wait! Before we dive into this guide I want to introduce you to TS:Weekly — where I use my 23 years in Tokyo and hours of research to bring you a succinct email of cool things to discover in Tokyo and Japanese culture — for FREE.

Affordable, Incredible Sushi

The chain sushi restaurants in Tokyo such as Sushiro, Kurazushi, Hamazushi, etc. are about $1.00 a plate (¥108).

If you’ve read my sushi article “What Is Sushi? More Than The Raw Fish You Think It Is” then you know the neta (ネタ) is the topping — most often some kind of raw fish or seafood.

These ¥108 plates will have one or two pieces of sushi on them. Two if they are the typical, popular neta– one if they are higher-end, quality neta.

Either way, it’s a mere ¥108 per plate. That’s an incredible value — especially when you compare the price to the average sushi shop in the U.S.

Of course, that means there is something else… something so unbelievable it’s hard to imagine until you experience it for yourself.

Map of Sushiro Locations

One of my favorite affordable sushi restaurants is a conveyor-belt sushi chain called Sushiro. They’re all over Tokyo. Here’s a map:

Wildly High-End, Expensive Sushi

At the opposite end of the budget scale are the masterfully crafted sushi restaurants of legend. The Jiro’s (from Jiro Dreams of Sushi) of Tokyo’s exclusive master-class of sushi restaurants.

These are the places you’ll have to wait months for your reservation and you’ll pay $300 for a meal you have no choice in.

The sushi master, who has dedicated his life to always improving his sushi mastery, will craft the perfect course of sushi for you to experience.

Often these shops have only counter seating where you sit front and center with the chef.

These are absolutely incredible experiences worth every penny. If not for the food, but for the sheer atmosphere and the chance to witness and feel the ambiance of a master working their craft.

You know what, why don’t you see for yourself. Here’s Mark Weins enjoying Sushi Arai in Ginza, Tokyo.

Map of High-End Sushi Restaurants

Granted, not all of these are the legendary $300 sushi meccas, but are rated highly among locals. Enjoy!