1* Michelin Sushi Iwa (Tokyo, Japan)

Chef's prep spaceA high end sushi experience in Japan can be intense and uncomfortable sometimes with the formality and etiquette, the inevitable language barrier and the hefty price tag. Sushi Iwa 鮨 いわ, located in Ginza, is a high end, 1* Michelin restaurant that serves excellent sushi without the snobbery. Sushi Iwa’s entrance is at street level. It is recognizable from its classic wabi-sabi (tea-ceremony style) look, hempen curtain, bamboo trellis window and small iron lantern at foot level. Inside, it feels relaxed and, with a counter only big enough for six, surprisingly intimate. Owner-chef Hisayoshi Iwa learned his skills at Tokyo’s highly respected (and Michelin-starred) Sushi Kanesaka. When he finally went independent in September 2012. It is this combination of setting and great sushi that makes Iwa special. Lunch here (starting from ¥4,725 for 13-courses) is affordable for a Michelin starred sushi-ya and it’s close to where we are sightseeing. The rice here is very mild and balanced in flavor, which is my preference. The nikiri is also quite neutral, no heavy sweet or salty tones, just adding a mild umami. We settled with sencha and hojicha teas throughout our meal. The chef served us the following: Kinmedai (Golden eye snapper)

  • Kinmedai
  • Baby shrimp
  • Sea bream
  • Akami (lean tuna)
  • Hotate (scallop)

Bonito with spring onion

    • Bonito with spring onion (seen above) – one of my favorite bites of the meal; lovely oiliness but still quite mild and good, meaty texture. The spring onion gave it a tweak of interesting flavor


  • Mussels


Squid (sliced into ribbons and formed into nigiri)


  • Squid – loved watching the chef’s knife work when he was preparing it; cutting this into tissue thin sheets and slicing it into ribbons; it’s incredibly tender and melted in my mouth
  • Anago (saltwater eel)


– Sweeter, tender, and a bit lighter in flavor than the common unagi (freshwater eel)


  • Miso shiru soup
  • Maki rolls of gourd, cucumber, toro (fatty tuna), and marinated akami (lean tuna)

Chef-Owner Hisayoshi Iwa and waitress of the restaurant bidding us farewell from their restaurant

All these bites were very good and delicious. Maybe one or two had a tiny bit too much wasabi for my preference but this was a great experience. Service was very friendly, even when we speak very limited Japanese.

To view more photos of this visit, please view the photo set or the gallery below:

[alpine-phototile-for-flickr src=”set” uid=”26389565@N00″ sid=”72157659902786856″ imgl=”flickr” shuffle=”1″ style=”gallery” row=”4″ grwidth=”1200″ grheight=”800″ size=”640″ num=”30″ shadow=”1″ border=”1″ align=”center” max=”100″]

Sushi Iwa

8-5-25 Ginza
Chuo-ku, Tokyo
Tel. 03-3572-0955
1* Michelin

CategoriesJapan Tokyo

I shoot, eat, and drink. My full time job is a hospital administrator. Moonlighting as a freelance photographer and food and travel writer.