Yoshihashi – Luxury Sukiyaki in Tokyo (Without Emptying Your Bank)

By Mark Wiens 17 Comments
すき焼き
Japanese sukiyaki

As a food lover, yet budget conscious traveler, visiting Tokyo was a challenge.

Yes, I did come with a mindset to spend more money than I would in Bangkok of course, but at the same time, I didn’t want to make a mistake eating somewhere that wasn’t very good, and wasting money.

In Bangkok that would mean I spent $1 – 5 on bad food, in Tokyo, it could easily be 5 – 10 times that.

The time came when I really had the urge to sample an authentic Japanese sukiyaki, and after some research, and having a few places in mind, I decided to check out a recommendation from Robbie Swinnerton in the Japan Times: Yoshihashi (よしはし).

(I didn’t know at the time of eating there, but Yoshihashi (よしはし) actually has a Michelin star)

Out of my league?

Dinner could easily cost 20,000 JPY ($194) per person, if you could even manage to get in, but at lunch, at only the bar seating, the sukiyaki set went for just 2,100 JPY ($20).

2,100 JPY is a pretty average, if not bargain price for sukiyaki in Tokyo, and for the chance to dine at a Tokyo restaurant way out of my league, I was extremely excited.

よしはし
Yoshihashi (よしはし) sukiyaki restaurant from the outside – no signs

With only two weeks of Tokyo dining experience under my belt, one thing I already knew was that we should arrive early, in an attempt to not only beat the crazy Tokyo lunch rush, but also be first in line – lines outside restaurants are the norm in Tokyo.

Tucked between high-rise buildings, but off the beaten sidewalk path, Yoshihashi (よしはし) sukiyaki restaurant stays pretty well hidden and away from mainstream dining.

From Asakasa Metro station, Yoshihashi sukiyaki restaurant was just a 5 minute walk, and we arrived a good thirty minutes before 11:30 am, the opening time for lunch.

We were first in line.

And in fact, Yoshihashi (よしはし) is such an exclusive restaurant, there wasn’t even ever a line the day we went.

As soon as the clock struck 11:30 am, Ying and I were the first two to enter the restaurant for the day.

Yoshihashi
Seating at Yoshihashi

Entering Yoshihashi (よしはし)

After entering the reception area, which shared a door with a lounge club on the opposite side, you then veer to the right, and slip off your shoes before entering the dining room.

Yoshihashi (よしはし) had a very high class feel to it, luxury and exclusiveness.

The counter was bright light colored wood, similar to the experience at Tenmatsu tempura, and in front of each seat (there was space for about 10 or 12 in the room) was a mahogany colored tray.

The waitress, wearing a kimono, entered the room, poured us each a cup of tea, and without a hint of a smile (not in an unfriendly way, but more in a respectful high society way), she handed us the fully Japanese lunch menu.

I didn’t need any thought about the menu though, I knew we wanted sukiyaki, just the classic normal version.

Soon a few other lunch diners trickled in, shown to their seats, and were immediately served a cup of tea from the waitress.

The atmosphere was quiet and respectful.

No one raised their voices too loud.

Sukiyaki
Sukiyaki lunch special is served

By the time we got our food, the 12 seats were full.

And since we were the first to order, we were the first to eat.

The sukiyaki came in scorching hot copper pots, with a side of pickled vegetables, a raw egg for dipping the meat in, and a bowl of rice.

best sukiyaki in Tokyo
Marvelous sukiyaki at Yoshihashi (よしはし) in Tokyo

I tried to take photos quickly and not make a big deal of it, because I knew that taking too many photos in an high class Tokyo restaurant like Yoshihashi (よしはし), it was only a matter of time before they told me not to.

The sukiyaki included a good amount of thin cut beef, a couple blocks of tofu, some slices of leek, onions, mushrooms, noodles, and a few stocks of chrysanthemum greens (my first time to try them).

Japanese sukiyaki
Egg is used as a dipping sauce for sukiyaki

Eating Japanese sukiyaki, you first whirl up the egg with your chopsticks, and proceed to grab bites of sukiyaki, dipping them into the raw egg as a sauce or glaze.

My first bite was of the beef; I grabbed a good sized chopstick bite, and dunked it into the raw egg.

The beef was almost too good to be true.

It was tremendously tender, and just so delicately flavored with accents of sweet soy sauce, sake and mirin, and the other light balanced seasonings included in the sukiyaki sauce.

best restaurants in Tokyo
I savored every bite of this sukiyaki, it was outstanding

I ate slowly, savoring each bite of my high-society Japanese sukiyaki.

Each bite included an incredible and delicate balance of flavors and combination of ingredients.

For the price of the lunch special at Yoshihashi (よしはし), it could definitely be one of the best sukiyaki dining experiences in Tokyo.

I can only imagine how incredible the dinner for $200 per person would be. But nevertheless, I was extremely satisfied with the lunch special, and it was a highly memorable dining experience.

Here’s the video of our meal…

(If you can’t see the video, watch it here: http://youtu.be/rg_HGGuCY2I)

Yoshihashi (よしはし) Sukiyaki, Tokyo, Japan

Address: 1-5-25 Moto-Akasaka, Minato-ku, Tokyo
How to get there: Take the Tokyo Metro (Ginza Line) to Asakasa-mitsuke station, take exit B, and walk straight out of the exit until you come to your first street. Make a right and walk down the road until you come to a Honda store. Turn left and walk almost to the end of the road, but just before that, on your left hand side you’ll see a little side street (it almost looks like an alley). Turn left and you’ll see Yoshihashi on your right hand side at the end of the alley.
Open hours: 11:30 am – 2 pm for lunch, Monday – Saturday
Price: 2,100 JPY ($20), a well spent $20 for a marvelous sukiyaki lunch and an elegant Japanese dining experience



17 comments. I'd love to hear from you!

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  • Tracy

    3 months ago

    What’s amazing, in reading through these posts, is the sheer assortment of different fantastical, wild, creative recipes… I’m dying to go to Japan now!

  • Elise

    1 year ago

    Hi Mark, I went to Yoshihashi today, hoping to have lunch there. Unfortunately, there was a note on the door saying “Sukiyai Yoshihashi and BAR L’oasis we closed 30 June 2016. Thank you kindly for your understanding. We wish the future more and more of your good health of everyone. Sincerely would like to thank with your patronage over the years of everyone.” Really sad if they indeed are permanently closed, but I hope this helps someone else.

  • Kathleen Toomey

    2 years ago

    Love your blog and youtube. I have not been a world traveler but seeing your videos has made me interested in Japan . Keep up the great work !

  • Genn

    2 years ago

    Hi, we plan to try out the restaurant but was wondering if we can bring our 3-year old with us. Would you know? Thanks!

  • Sebastian Mora

    2 years ago

    Hello Mark.

    I have two question for you. I’ve read all over the internet reviews that suggest one to stop by Yoshihashi (よしはし) with someone who speaks Japanese because they don’t speak English, is this true ? Also, what would be the best time to grab lunch for $20 – 25 at Yoshihashi (よしはし)?

    Thank you. I enjoy your videos and because of them, I am willing to travel to Japan sometime soon.

  • Tad

    2 years ago

    This is an incredible recommendation and thanks to your article me and my girlfriend enjoyed an extremely satisfying and delicious lunch here. I would like to point out that the location is actually Akasaka-mitsuke, not Asakasa-mitsuke but I’m sure that most people already figured that out. Thanks again!

    • Mark Wiens

      2 years ago

      Hey Tad, great to hear that, thank you for the correction!

  • Eliade

    2 years ago

    Will it be too late if I arrive after 1 pm? on a weekday? 🙁

  • Tim

    3 years ago

    Hi Mark! I’ve been following your blogs and videos from youtube since last year, big fan! We just came back from Tokyo and visited many of the wonderful places that you’ve recommended. My wife and I went to this sukiyaki restaurant following your recommendation, and saw next to another couple that were from Australia, and after chatting with them, we found out that they also went to the restaurant after reading your blog haha!

    • Mark Wiens

      3 years ago

      Hey Tim, thank you very much for following, and thank you for sharing that story! Glad that you had a great time visiting Tokyo.

  • Michelle

    3 years ago

    Hi Mark, Im just back from Tokyo and would like to say a BIG thank you to you for all the information regarding Japan, especially Yoshihashi. It has been one of the highlights of our trip. The beef is melting in your mouth, the ambience is elegant. I couldnt ask for more, especially at that price for lunch.
    We didnt have time to go to Tenmatsu Tempura. But it is on our must try list next trip
    Thank you so much again from Australia!

    • Mark Wiens

      3 years ago

      Hi Michelle, great to hear from you, glad you had an amazing time visiting Tokyo. My mouth is watering just thinking about that beef at Yoshihashi!

  • Nicola Hilditch-Short

    4 years ago

    This is a great article. Food in Tokyo I found to be an exiting lottery at times!! Many places don’t have signs or are a little hard to make out from the front, or find in the first place as the address system takes a little while to get used to. Tsunachi Rin Tempura was one of the best places we went to, great service and friendly people and a good price too.

    • Mark Wiens

      4 years ago

      Thank you very much Nicola. It can be a challenge – I definitely spent a lot of time contemplating which restaurants to eat at. Thanks for the recommendation for Tsunachi Rin Tempura, will remember that for next time.

  • TIm

    4 years ago

    Looks great Mark! another great post. Will you also post a youtube video for this restaurant?

    • Mark Wiens

      4 years ago

      Hey Tim, you just beat me to it, video just came out, added it to the article now. Thanks.