With a whole documentary devoted to him and a coveted place in the Michelin Guide, the (reportedly) rather ornery owner of renowned sushi shop Sushi Jiro has ruled the sushi world with a nori-wrapped fist for some time now. Jiro’s tiny shop, located in an underground mall in Ginza, commands about US$300 per 30-minute “omakase” meal and reservations need to be made months in advance – which is a pretty huge investment for a meal.

That daunting investment seems downright silly, though, when you realize that you can get incredible, world-class sushi in your maw for around a third of the cost just down the road!


Say goodbye to Jiro and say hello to Hajime, a small, Sugamo-area sushi shop run by an enthusiastic and friendly chef and serving the very highest quality sushi around.

When our editors heard that the relatively little-known Hajime has the chops to give even Sushi Jiro a run for its money, two of our Japanese reporters (the lucky bastards) were dispatched to test the authenticity of that claim by stuffing mouth-watering nigiri into their mouths while the rest of us sat around the office and ate stupid sea-water pasta or whatever.



Our reporters came back all smiles; they had seen the promised land and they had pictures to prove it. One described Hajime’s sushi as the best he’d had in his life, praising the uni sea urchin and the shrimp nigiri especially. The other guy gushed over the anago boiled eel and the boiled clam.

They even assured us that after one visit to Hajime, anyone whose standard sushi routine boils down to an occasional visit to the nearest kaiten conveyor belt sushi joint will wonder if that garbage was even sushi at all.



Best of all, a visit to Hajime will only set you back around $100-$120, about a third of the cost of a meal at Jiro. These small, traditional sushi parlors tend to run from $50 to well into the hundreds of dollars no matter where you go, but true aficionados will tell you that even the expensive places can be hit-or-miss. Heck, even Jiro isn’t immune to the occasional middling review, so it’s nice to know there are places like Hajime, where you know you’re in for some spectacular sushi that won’t (totally) break the bank.




Want to give Hajime a try during your next Japan visit? Here are the shop details:

Open 5 pm to 11 pm. Closed on Mondays.

Photos © RocketNews24
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