The exclusive Sapporo style sushi restaurant

Sushi Zen (すし善) is one of the most famous exclusive sushi restaurants in Sapporo. This restaurant was founded in 1971 and has developed next generations of sushi chefs. For example, the owner chef of Onodera (鮨おのでら) and Harutaka (青空) started their career as sushi chef in this place and moved to Tokyo to start up their own restaurants – Harutaka’s chef worked in Sukiyabashi Jiro (すきやばし次郎) as well. Now they have earned the repulation as prestigious sushi shops in Ginza, Tokyo.

If you are inspired by the sushi by Onodera or Harutaka, try their root in Sapporo.

I visited the place for lunch and ordered 10 pieces of “omakase(おまかせ)”, chef’s choice. The restaurant also has fixed price lunch course at JPY3,564/5,400/8,640. And of course, you can order by a la carte piece by piece.

A la carte menu
Seaweed marinated flounder (Hirame-Kobujime/平目昆布締め)
Egg cockle (Torigai/とり貝)
Mantis Shrimp (Shako/シャコ)
Salmon roe (Ikura/いくら)
Sweep shrimp (Botan-ebi/ボタンエビ)
Spring salmon (Tokisake/時鮭)

Authentic sushi restaurants in Tokyo don’t use salmon for sushi. However, sushi in Sapporo is the exception. This spring salmon is a seasonal food in this region. Salmon is known for its homing instinct which make them return to the home river in autumn to lay eggs which are called “ikura” and are used for sushi as well. In autumn, salmon body loses fat and ingredients due to the preparation for egg laying. However, the spring salmon caught in the sea is full of fat and the meat has rich taste. Sapporo sushi restaurants use this special seasonal fish for their sushi. It’s  Sapporo style.

Tuna (Maguro/まぐろ)

This restaurant procures tuna from the Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo. It is said that the best tuna are gathered in Tsukiji and distributed to the restaurants all over Japan.

Sea urchin (uni/ウニ)
Kokanee (Himemasu/ヒメマス)

Himemasu is also a typical Sapporo style sushi item. Himemasu is a young fish of red salmon, which usually goes down to the sea as do other salmons. Some of red salmons stay within the river and the species are called “himemasu”. The meat is really tender and sweet.

Sea eal (Anago/穴子)

This fish comes from Tokyo bay where is famous for the good fishery of sea eal.

Egg (Tamago/玉子)

I added the following 3 pieces.

Squid (Yari-ika/ヤリイカ)

Cattle fish is rather more popular than squid in the Tokyo style sushi restaurant, Sapporo style uses squid often. The chef cook the alive squid into a piece of sushi.

Ark shell (Akagai/赤貝)
Fatty tuna roll with takuan pickles (Toro-taku/トロたく巻き)

This fine sapporo style sushi restaurant has its branch in Ginza, Tokyo. So if you have a chance to Sapporo or Ginza, try Sapporo style sushi.

Sushi-zen Original Shop (すし善 本店)
2-10, Kita 1 Nishi 27, Chuo-ku, Sapporo city, Hokkaido, Japan
+81 11-612-0068
11:00 – 15:00, 17:00 – 22:00
Closed on Mondays


Sushi-zen Ginza (すし善 銀座店)
7-8-10, Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo, Japan
11:00-14:30, 17:00-22:30
Closed on Sunday

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