Sushi in Shinjuku: A Guide to the Kagurazaka Sushi Academy

Deep within the historic Kagurazaka district of Shinjuku lies one of the best sushi deals that a Tokyo traveler can find. Don’t let the name fool you—Kagurazaka Sushi Academy may be run by culinary students and alumni, but that doesn’t mean that you’ll be compromising on quality, flavor, and service.

Read on to learn how to make the most of a truly unique all-you-can eat sushi dining experience.

2019-06-06   Bars & Restaurants, Shinjuku, Tokyo,


A Place to learn and a place to eat

The nondescript entrance lacks English signage and is easy to miss. The restaurant is actually in the basement of this building.

Owned and operated by the Tokyo Sushi Academy, an institution that trains aspiring sushi chefs from all over the world, the Kagurazaka Sushi Academy restaurant is a place for students to practice their trade while delighted customers eagerly reward their taste buds. Considering the reasonable pricing, fresh fish from the Toyosu (formerly Tsukiji) fish market, and professional customer service, this is definitely a win-win arrangement.

From left to right: monkfish liver, crab butter (innards), and sea urchin

The price is right

Depending on the time you prefer to dine, the pricing of your meal may vary. Other factors that influence your bill include gender and age. Pricing and dining options were updated in March 2019, and you can find all the details on the official website. The basics are as follows:

  • ・All-you-can-eat sushi and buffet (two hours): This following pricing applies to dinner on weekdays and lunch and dinner on weekends.
    • – Men: 3,780 yen
    • – Women: 3,380 yen
  • ・Weekday all-you-can-eat sushi and buffet lunch (90 minutes)
    • – Men: 3,480 yen
    • – Women: 2,980 yen

Elementary school students can dine anytime for 2,000 yen, and children younger than that get an even better deal at 1,000 yen. Children under three years old can eat for free.

Note that prices do not include tax and you’ll need to make your final orders 30 minutes before the end of your dining period.

Reservation required

Marinated tuna

With the particulars out of the way, let’s cover what it takes to partake in this feast of fish. Making a reservation is a must, and do make sure to arrive on time. The Kagurazaka Sushi Academy runs more smoothly than an eel’s skin and customers are seated in waves, strictly based on the blocks of time they reserved.

You might have heard that reservations are difficult to come by. However, by picking the earliest possible time slot (11:30 a.m.), I was able to get a spot a mere two days in advance. If you don’t read Japanese, perhaps the most difficult part of the reservation process is making your way through the website to book your table.

You can start by clicking here, but at the time of this writing, the vast majority of the page is in Japanese (even when the English option is selected). Don’t let this deter you, though. Once you hit the “book now” button, the rest of the process should be straightforward (and in English). Alternatively, you could try making a reservation via Google Maps.

Rules and tips to make the most of your meal

All of the ordering is done via iPad. Fortunately, the menu is available in multiple languages including English, Korean, Chinese, and Vietnamese.

Now that you’ve made your reservation, you can kick back and daydream about all of the sumptuous seafood that awaits. That being said, it’s a good idea to keep some important rules in mind. Even though the Kagurazaka Sushi Academy usually has bilingual staff available, knowing what to expect, and what is expected of you, is a great way to minimize any chance of miscommunication and maximize your sushi-savoring experience. Keep the following in mind:

  • The sushi you order will be brought to your table, however side dishes, drinks, and desserts are self-serve from the buffet.
  • You can order up to 10 items at a time. You can order more only after those items arrive.
  • Don’t let your eyes get bigger than your stomach. If you order more than you can eat, you’ll have to pay extra.

Additionally, here are a few tips based on my experience:

  • Be on the lookout for exclusive limited-time menu items. Since the sushi is fresh, the menu varies depending on the season.
  • Keep an eye on the buffet which includes miso soup, tamagoyaki (Japanese omelet), salad, and much more. As time goes by, the chefs will put out new side dishes.
  • Make a mad dash for the buffet desserts! Once the restaurant fills up, they disappear quickly.
  • If your schedule allows, I recommend the weekday lunch plan. This will offer the best value for most diners. Ninety minutes of all-you-can eat sushi was more than enough for me!
The calm before the storm: a rare glimpse of the restaurant interior before it fills up with customers. The side-dish buffet is just in front of the sushi chefs. To beat the crowds, I recommend booking the 11:30 a.m. lunch timeslot.

Not your typical sushi shop

Yes, desserts are included in the all-you-can-eat buffet!

So, there you have it—everything you need to know in order to enjoy an amazing sushi meal in the quaint district of Kagurazaka. Dining at the Kagurazaka Sushi Academy might not be as simple as dropping into a local conveyor-belt sushi shop, but a little effort goes a long way in creating a memorable dining experience.

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AUTHOR

Anthony

Anthony

Writer / Translator

Originally from Riverside, California, I've been living, working, and writing in Japan since 2009. Japan has become my second home, and I'm especially fond of Shinjuku, Tokyo. That being said, I also love getting out into the countryside and exploring the entire country. Through Tadaima Japan, I hope to share the wonders of Japan with a wider, international audience. Check out my articles if you enjoy exploring on foot, convenient cafes, and affordable dining.

Information

Address 3 Chome-6−3
Kagurazaka,
Shinjuku,
Tokyo 162-0825
Hours 11:30 a.m. - 10 p.m.
Price 2,980 ~ 3,780 yen (see website for details)
Close None
Access Five-minutes walk from JR Iidabashi Station;
Six-minute walk from Ushigome-Kagurazaka Station
via the Toei Oedo Line.
Phone +81-3-5619-1821
Language Japanese
English
Chinese
Website https://kagurazakasushi.com/