In Japan, people are familiar with the quality of Jiro Sushi and many travel to Tsukiji for Sushi Dai, but if there is one restaurant that is renown all over Japan, it would be Kiyomura Sushizanmai.
Kiyomura is the shortened name for Sushi entrepreneuer Kiyoshi Kimura and throughout Japan is his legacy of Sushizanmai chains.
And he is known as the “Tuna King” for paying big money for Tsukiji’s first auction every year and for six straight years, he has paid record amounts for bluefin.
And this year, he paid a whopping Y74.2 million ($636,000) for a single fish. In 2013, Kimura received international recognition for paying a record Y155.4 million. And while many people may feel its way too excessive, Kimura was able to capitalize on the press and gain recognition for his Sushizanmai chains, as he has said the tuna will be cut and distributed among his restaurants.
And also, his restaurants are popular because they are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. But most importantly, freshness of the fish is important and that they purchase their fish from trusted wholesalers in Tsukiji.
While I have eaten at the Tsukiji restaurant, I happened to venture into a Nakano Sushizanmai, one of their 52 restaurants throughout Japan.
And it was quite festive with a joyful sushi chef wanting to entertain and try to joke around in English (especially if you are a foreigner) and bust out singing American songs.
When ordering, I actually picked the priciest bowl in the menu. But somehow after the order, they came back recommending me something much cheaper. I suppose they thought that since I was a foreigner, I wasn’t sure what to order.
But it was all good, they gave me an English menu and asked me to order from that and I ordered the tasty bowl set of sushi and miso soup goodness.
The bowl set I got with the miso soup was inexpensive.
But I’ll probably head to the Tsukiji store which seems to have more to offer. But nevertheless, Kiyomura has no doubt managed to take these major risks of taking part in the first auction of the New Year and gave his Sushizanmai restaurants a boost and with his constant media presence, people can expect fresh sushi, delicious meals for an affordable price.