Miko Sushi’s location is a closely guarded secret, but Miko Shokudo is easy to find and amazing to eat at.

Like many sushi fans in Japan, Miko Sushi is someplace we’d love to eat at some day. Unfortunately, also like many sushi fans in Japan, we don’t know where Miko Sushi is.

We sort of have a general idea, since Miko Sushi will at least tell you that the restaurant is located somewhere in Tokyo’s Minato Ward. If you want any more information than that, though, you’re out of luck, since Miko Sushi’s exact address is a closely guarded secret, only revealed to those who manage to snag a reservation at the exclusive establishment.

So imagine our surprise, and joy, when we found out that Miko Group, the company that runs Miko Sushi, has another sushi restaurant in Tokyo. called Miko Shokudo, that’s much easier to find/get into, since no reservations are required and there’s no secrecy about its location: Higashi Shimbashi 2-5-11, also in Minato Ward.

▼ You’ll know you’re there when you spot the Miko Shokudo (みこ食堂) sign.

We showed up a little after noon, and there was a moderately long line of customers waiting to get into the place. We mentally settled in for a 20 to 30-minute wait, but barely 10 minutes passed before we were ushered inside. The mercifully short wait is owed in part to the fact that Miko Shokudo is a tachigui, or “stand and eat,” restaurant with the lack of chairs promoting a brisk turnover of diners.

Tachigui places tend to be on the casual side, and Miko Shokudo is no exception. Near the entrance is a vending machine from which you buy a meal ticket. The monitor has photos of the food you can choose from, which is a nice touch for anyone who can’t read Japanese or who needs some visual help deciding what to eat.

The prices are pleasantly reasonable, especially considering the Miko Group’s reputation for high-quality sushi. Kaisen-don (bowls of rice topped with sashimi) are what Miko Shokudo specializes in, and they start at just 800 yen (US$5.50), and stepping up to 1,000 yen gets you your choice of a mixed sashimi, nakaochi (minced tuna), or salmon bowl. The most popular item on the menu, though, is the Daily Miko Bowl, a fancier mixed sashimi bowl with a different seafood mix each day, at 1,900 yen.

▼ 日替わり みこ丼 = Daily Miko Bowl

We decided to splurge just a little more, though, and went with the large-size (大) Daily Miko Bowl for 2,800 yen. That’s honestly kind of a lot for a tachigui restaurant, but we had zero regrets about the extra expenditure when we saw how beautiful, and big, our bowl was!

Clockwise from the 12 o’clock position, those are ika (squid), maguro (tuna), salmon, uni (sea urchin), ikura (salmon roe), and, at the center, hotate (scallops). The strips of fish were so luxuriously long that they draped over the edge of the bowl like elegant edible curtains, and there were so many toppings that we couldn’t even see the vinegared sushi rice beneath them until we’d taken a bit of what was on top.

There are two schools of thought as to what the best way to eat a kaisen-don is. Some people prefer to eat the seafood by itself, and then alternate to intermittent bites of rice only. Other people prefer to try to get a little bit of rice and seafood in each bite, like they’re forming little pieces of nigiri-style sushi with their chopsticks.

Either way is acceptable, so it’s really a matter of personal taste. We thought about taking a look at how other customers were choosing to at their kaisen-don and following the examples of whoever appeared to regulars at the restaurant, but actually Miko Shokudo has partition screens between spots at its counter, similar to ramen chain Ichiran, so that you have your own private space for just you and your sushi.

Digging in, we found that the kaisen-don’s ingredients were just as fresh and delicious as their appearance had led us to hope for, but they weren’t the only source of pleasure for our taste buds. The nori suimono (seaweed soup) was fantastic too!

The delicately flavorful broth complimented the seafood flavors perfectly, and had the added bonus of warming us up on a chilly January day. Even better, Miko Shokudo offers free refills not only for soup, but also for the vinegared sushi rice used in your kaisen-don (the soup is self-serve, and you ask the staff for more rice). They even recommend pouring the soup onto your rice to put a tasty period on your meal, and having tried that ourselves, it was so tasty that we’d say the restaurant would still be worth visiting even if the rice and soup were all they served. And yes, the soup and rice refills are offered with all of the kaisen-don, even the less expensive ones.

So yes, we’ll be stopping by Miko Shokudo again the next time we’re in the area and craving sushi, since not only is the food amazingly good, we actually know where the restaurant is.

Restaurant information
Miko Shokudo / みこ食堂
Address: Tokyo-to, Minato-ku, Higashi Shinbashi 2-5-11
Open 11 a.m.-3:30 p.m., 6 p.m.-9:30 p.m.

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