Sushi Restaurant with only 9 Seats at Counter
Probably, this cozy little Sushi restaurant is one of the most renowned local favorites in Kyoto. Although it is located in the area closer to the edge of the town, this Sushi restaurant is always packed with regular clientele and out-of-town visitors. Besides the top-notch quality of Sushi’s, many of the customers love the variety of creative appetizers which pair very well with premium Sake selections. Also, the owner (master chef) and his son (sous chef) are super friendly and talkative (Japanese only, though), and that makes regular customers come back again and again. The restaurant is somewhat on the pricey side, but I think it is worth given the quality of the ingredients and how exquisite the preparations of Sushi’s and appetizers are.
A bit Pricey but Never Disappointing
This Sushi restaurant is open at noon and keeps open until it is closed at around 10:00pm (last call is 9:30pm). For dinner, they do not have a menu with prices (they do have beverage menu with prices, though). Food items of the day are scribbled with white marker on the black boards on the wall – just descriptions + no prices.
So, the majority of customers usually order Sushi’s and appetizers without even asking the prices – that is because they trust the chefs (owner and his son). Unless we order very expensive foods, the bill per person is somewhere around Yen 5,000. I usually drink a bottle of Beer to begin with, followed by 3 – 4 glasses of premium Sake’s, so the total bill in my case is between Yen 7,000 – Yen 9,000. Not too bad.
Tell your Budget if you are on a Budget
Azumazushi does not accept Credit Cards, so you may be a bit nervous dining there without knowing the prices before ordering, especially if you are on a budget. If that is the case, frankly tell your budget to the chefs and ask them to go Omakase (chef’s choice). As far as the budget is decent (Yen 4,000, for example), the foods (appetizers and Sushi’s) served by the chefs will not disappoint you. Their choices are usually generous. In case you are staying at a hotel in town, ask the concierge to call Azumazushi for you for reserving your seat(s) – reservation is always recommended – and ask the concierge to tell your budget to the chefs ahead of time.
Azumazushi has at least 5 premium Sake’s. “Densho” (Junmai Ginjo) brewed by Gekkeikan (Kyoto) is my favorite. It is a raw stored premium Sake (no heat processed). Delicate and yet full bodied with long aftertaste. Also, they usually has “Bon” (Junmai Ginjo) brewed by a local Sake brewery in Fukui Prefecture, known for Rice and pure spring water. From time to time, they have “Zaku” brewed in Mie Prefecture. Zaku was an official Sake served for world VIP’s who came to Japan for G7 Ise-Shima Summit in 2016.
Other than premium Sake’s, they have Veuve Clicquot (Champagne), Chablis, Beer on tap and bottled Beers, etc.
Great Lunch Deals
For lunch, they have special deals. 10 pcs of Sushi with Miso soup is Yen 2,500 and Yen 3,500 for 15 pcs. Also, there is a super deal of Yen 800 (with Miso soup) for Chirashi Sushi (a bowl of Sushi rice with a variety of chopped ingredients sprinkled on top). Each of these lunch deals is limited to 15 servings a day. If you want to drink a small glass of Beer with your lunch, they offer lunch Beer for only Yen 200.
Azumazushi is very close to Toyokuni Jinja Shrine (about 5 min. walk), Kyoto National Museum (about 10 min. walk) and Sanju Sangen-do Hall (about 12 min. walk). So, my suggestion is that you visit this Sushi restaurant on the way to / from these historical properties and cultural facility.