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Locals Recommend 3 Best Sapporo Sushi and Sashimi Restaurants in Japan's North!

Locals Recommend 3 Best Sapporo Sushi and Sashimi Restaurants in Japan's North!

Date published: 25 August 2019
Last updated: 26 November 2020

When you're looking for the best Sapporo sushi shops, head to Susukino! Here you'll find many places ranging from sushi trains to luxurious shops that serve beautiful sushi at a price you can afford.

Here are three shops recommended by the locals where you can enjoy fresh Sapporo sushi at a sushi train, one where you can sample fare popular with the regular folk at a reasonable price, and one where the sashimi and sushi is prepared before your very eyes, catering to a more mature clientele.

Table of Contents
  1. 1. Sakana Isshin Lafiler: Savor delicious Sapporo sushi in a casual atmosphere
  2. 2. Washoku to Sushi Nijo: Delicious Sapporo sushi dishes popular with locals, at reasonable prices
  3. 3. Sushi Fuji: Skillfully prepared Sapporo sushi will please the eye as well as the palate
  4. Try an unforgettable course prepared by a master itamae using the finest ingredients!
Some of the best Sapporo sushi: Delicious Uni (sea urchin), kani (crab), ikura (salmon roe)

Hokkaido has an abundance of delicious seafood, Sapporo sushi is some of the best around. Regardless of their size, shops can easily obtain the freshest and most delicious seafood products. The following are the sushi restaurants we recommend.

The Susukino intersection just above the exit of Susukino Station on the Namboku subway line

1. Sakana Isshin Lafiler: Savor delicious Sapporo sushi in a casual atmosphere

First on our list of recommendations is Sakana Isshin Lafiler, a shop which is directly connected to the station.

No need to worry about rain or snow as the shop is close to the ticket gate of the subway located in the second basement of the Susukino Lafiler Building. Due to its prime access, it is popular with business travelers seeking a reasonable lunch, commuters having a light bite to eat before heading home, as well as those hungry after a night of barhopping.

In addition to the counter, there are booths in the rear, too. All sorts of delicious types move before your eyes, but you can also request the itamae (sushi chef) to prepare any of your favorites.

Sakana Isshin is the outlet shop of a fisheries company. It is for that reason it is able to sell the freshest and finest neta (seafood toppings on balls of rice) in Hokkaido at hard-to-beat prices!

On this day we asked the store manager, Hideki Takahashi, for his recommendations and enjoyed several different types of sushi. The first plate we tried was the madachi (cod milt) which is a winter dish representative of Hokkaido.

Madachi (cod milt), the sushi topping popular with Dosanko (Hokkaido residents) [530 yen for a plate containing 2 kan (portions)]

Madachi, or tachi as it is commonly called, refers to shirako (the milt of cod). It is odorless and has a smooth, creamy texture. The next is one of the most popular of the more expensive neta selections.

From the front tarabagani (king crab), awabi (abalone), and botan ebi (button shrimp), the price for one kan (serving) of each being 760 yen

Sink your teeth into the thick crab meat, the succulent abalone, and tender shrimp to experience some of the wonderful seafood delicacies offered in this northern country.

The following set of three servings is recommended for those who like shellfish!

From the front, hokki (Sakhalin surf clam), hotate (scallops), and tsubu (whelk); experience three different types of shellfish for only 330 yen per plate

The flavor of each increases with each bite you take!

At Sakana Isshin part of the menu is devoted to limited discount servings, and each day new services are offered so there is always something special every time you come. This was the special on the day we visited.

An extra-large spot prawn that normally goes for 530 yen cost only 430 yen on this day!

You can feel the weight of it when you lift it with your chopsticks and the size of the shrimp practically overwhelms the shari (rice) on which it sits. The flavor is so rich that it almost feels like the shrimp is dancing in your mouth!

Last of all we tried the shako (a species of mantis shrimp) that is caught around Hokkaido in spring and autumn.

Aki shako (autumn mantis shrimp) [female], 660 yen for a plate of 2 portions. Light at first, the flavor develops steadily with each bite

Due to the relaxed and easy atmosphere of Sakana Isshin, the shop has many visitors throughout the day, and on Saturdays you often have to wait to be seated. A good time to visit when it is least crowded is between the hours of 3:00 and 5:00 PM on weekdays.

  • Sakanaisshin Susukino Lafiler
    魚一心 ススキノラフィラ店
    • Address 〒064-0804北海道札幌市中央区南四条西4 ススキノラフィラB2階/Susukino Lafiler B2F, 4, Minami4-jonishi, Chuo-ku Sapporo-shi, Hokkaido, 064-0804, Japan
    • Phone Number 011-518-7177
    • Hours: 10:00 AM ~ 9:00 PM (last order: 8:40 PM)
      Holidays: unscheduled (same as for the Susukino Lafiler)

2. Washoku to Sushi Nijo: Delicious Sapporo sushi dishes popular with locals, at reasonable prices

The next shop we want to introduce is Washoku to Sushi Nijo which is popular with local residents for its inexpensive and delicious food. It is located next to the Nijo Market which is a five to six-minute walk from the Susukino intersection that is popular with sightseers.

Nijo Market has a number of shops selling seafood products

While the Nijo Market is lively with sightseers, inside the Washoku to Sushi Nijo you see mostly locals. It is popular with nearby office workers at lunchtime on weekdays and at night popular with families and guests staying at nearby hotels.

There are also tables and tatami mat seating in addition to the counter. Manager Masaki Yamamoto is pictured standing in the kitchen area.

Mr. Yamamoto says that he strives to make his shop a comfortable one serving inexpensive delicious food and recommends the following three menus.

The first is naturally the nigiri (slices of seafood on balls of rice) and the most popular is this:

13 servings of especially selected items (3,240 yen). From the upper left to the lower right they are otoro (fatty tuna), soi (fox jacopever), benezake (red salmon), hotate (scallops), hokki (surf clam), tsubu (whelk), botan ebi (button shrimp), uni (sea urchin), ikura (salmon roe), shimesaba (pickled mackerel), maika (squid), and zuwaigani (snow crab)

Only the finest Hokkaido sushi and seafood of the season is carefully selected and obtained from city markets. For that reason, the types of seafood offered will vary slightly according to the season, however most are offered year round.

Each of the neta present a unique taste experience be it soft sea urchin piled high, the firmer textures of the succulent shellfish, or the slight vinegar taste of the mackerel!

The 13 servings may be filling, but there is one more dish you really should try and that is the ikesu neta (slices made from live seafood).

It is almost impossible to see live hanasakigani (blue king crab) outside of Hokkaido! Other seafood kept alive are oysters, scallops, namako (sea cucumbers), abalone, and clams. Roughly every four days tanks are replenished new seafood.

For this article we selected oysters harvested from the coasts of Hokkaido.

Fresh recently caught live oyster (from 600 yen; price varies according to size)
The weight of these oysters when lifted is enough to make you wonder if the chopsticks won’t break!

It will take more than a single delicious bite to devour these giants!

Bakudan (bomb), is the second most popular item on the menu after nigiri, and is the final one we will introduce.

The name of this dish, bakudan, is inspired by the sight of exploding fireworks (1,580 yen)

This dish includes a variety of ingredients such as sea urchin, salmon roe, red tuna, octopus, and natto (fermented beans) mixed together and topped with wasabi soy sauce. You eat it by wrapping up a spoonful in the accompanying dried seaweed.
This style is called temaki sushi which literally means hand-wrapped sushi. Instead of placing the neta on balls of rice, they are all mixed together allowing the flavors to burst forth like delicious fireworks in your mouth. After having the nigiri we recommend sharing an order of this among two or three people.

A bounty of seafood delights! All reasonably priced considering the large portions.

In addition to sushi and raw seafood dishes, grilled fish, tempura, fried and stewed dishes are also offered as well as meat and vegetables, so there is a broad selection to choose from on the menu.

  • Washokutosushi Nijo
    和食と鮨 に条
    • Address 〒060-0053 北海道札幌市中央区南3条東2-6-1 プレサント1階/Puresanto1kai, 2-6-1, Minami3-johigashi, Chuo-ku Sapporo-shi, Hokkaido, 060-0053, Japan
    • Phone Number 011-219-1346
    • Hours: 11:00 AM ~ 3:00 PM (last order: 2:30 PM); 5:00 PM ~ 10:00 PM (last order: 9:30 PM)
      Closed: Wednesdays

3. Sushi Fuji: Skillfully prepared Sapporo sushi will please the eye as well as the palate

Last we introduce Sushi Fuji, a shop well-known among discriminating diners. It is located a short two to three-minute walk from the Susukino intersection.

Quietly tucked away in a commercial building, a hideaway spot secretly frequented by a number of celebrities
The counter, made from a single board of ash wood, seats 8; there is also one other table seating only

This cozy establishment is owned and operated by Mr. Shinya Kudo, the chef, and his wife, Kumiko.

Patrons are attracted to the lively conversation of Mr. Kudo and his cheerful wife

After beginning his career and working 21 years at Sushi Zen, one of Sapporo’s most famous sushi restaurants, he next spent six years polishing his skills at the famous Sushi Dokoro Jun in the Ginza district of Tokyo before returning to Sapporo, his birthplace, and opening Sushi Fuji in 2008.

Here it is possible to enjoy Edomae sushi, the style originated in Edo, the old name of Tokyo. He prepares each serving using the freshest and finest seafood ingredients to be found in Hokkaido.

Try an unforgettable course prepared by a master itamae using the finest ingredients!

You may be anxious sitting in this exclusive restaurant that serves the finest of ingredients about what to order and what it will cost as you sit facing the master from across the counter.
But you need not worry! While you of course can order a la carte, for first-time visitors we recommend ordering a course from the menu, something many patrons prefer to do.

The Sushi Fuji Select Course is the most popular and consists of eight dishes at a cost of 10,800 yen

This menu includes otoshi (appetizer), odzukuri (sliced raw fish), two kobachi (small dishes), 8 kan of sushi, owan (bowl of soup), and konomono (pickles), served in that order (sometimes the contents and presentation may differ depending on availability of seafood on hand).

The otoshi comes first. Today it was an asparagus and tomato salad

After the otoshi came a dish especially recommended in addition to the set menu!

A bite-sized portion of chawanmushi (savory egg custard with crab meat). The skipjack tuna soup broth gives it added flavor!

Next comes the odukuri. This usually is made with something seasonal. This time everything but the akagai (ark shell clam) was from Hokkaido.

Good dipped either in soy sauce or ponzu (a sour orange-based sauce) with lemon

The master explains that the dishes are served in an order by which the lighter dishes are followed by those a bit heavier.

First we had Otaru flounder wrapped in green onion sprouts. After that came soi (fox jacopever) from Shakotan; akagai (ark shell clam) from Yuriage, Miyagi Prefecture; hotate (scallops) from Sarufutsu; maguro (tuna) from Toi in the Tsugaru Straits; burinose (the back slice of amberjack) from Yoichi; and after that a stomach cut of amberjack. I alternated dipping the slices in the wasabijoyu (wasabi-flavored soy sauce) and ponzu sauce made with freshly harvested Hokkaido seaweed.

Wasabi (Japanese horseradish) is authentic wasabi produced in Shuzenji, Shizuoka Prefecture. Its distinct sharp, sweet flavor greatly enhances the flavor or sushi!

If the dishes are eaten in the order prescribed above, the flavor of each dish enhances that which follows; the odzukuri almost being an entire course in itself!

This was followed by two “small bowl” grilled dishes.

A small bowl dish of whale bacon and jellyfish garnished with herring roe in homemade matsumaezuke (a pickled dish of sliced surume (dried squid) and konbu (dried seaweed)). Goes especially well with Japanese sake!
A stewed serving of snow crab claws, matsutake mushroom, oyster, and tachi (soft cod roe). The matsutake gives it a rich flavor
Amberjack grilled teriyaki-style and homemade meat dumplings, grilled hokki-gai (surf clam) and manganji togarashi (Manganji peppers) from Kyoto accented by the delicious flavor of bonito stewed in soy sauce.

This tantalizing dish is followed by the main nigiri course, each kan to be enjoyed in the order presented.

In clockwise order starting with the ikura (salmon roe), comes otoro (fatty tuna), sake (salmon), kohada (medium-sized gizzard shad), surume ika (squid), maguro no tsuke (pickled tuna), uni (sea urchin), and shako (mantis shrimp). In the upper right of the photo is a pickle garnish of fresh ginger, and yam pickled in shiso (beefsteak plant)

The master and his wife work in perfect harmony as though as one. As the master begins preparing the nigiri, at the perfect moment she sets out an oshibori (damp hand towel) for fingers and a soup bowl containing seaweed.
The soup is comprised of seven parts Shinshu miso and three parts red miso from Aichi Prefecture – the perfect blend to complement the flavor of the sushi. Pickles are also served for refreshing the palate.

The oshibori is for wiping your fingers if you prefer to eat the sushi without chopsticks. Of course, you may use chopsticks, too.

Now let’s try the nigiri!

First: surume ika (squid)
Served with mountain wasabi, not regular wasabi, and bonito, slathered with nikiri shoyu (soy sauce containing water, sake, mirin (sweet sake), and soup broth).

Second: kohada (medium-sized gizzard shad)
A smaller portion of shari (rice) topped with a large slice of fish! It has already been slathered with nikiri shoyu so eat it as it is!

First dish containing two half-sized kan; the third dish is of pickled tuna

Third: maguro no tsuke (pickled tuna)
Wasabi is put on top of the neta in the first one, so the next one has seaweed between the shari and neta, then slathered with nikiri shoyu after which a dab of wagarashi (Japanese mustard) is applied. Wagarashi is spicy yet mellow!
The shari for the pickled tuna is different from regular shari; it uses red vinegar instead of normal vinegar which tightens the flavor.

Two types of shari: the white being made with regular vinegar while the darker one is made with red vinegar and used for pickled tuna

Fourth: Hidaka-san sake no ginsei (wild chum salmon caught near Hidaka)
Ginsei is the name given to wild chum salmon caught only in the Hidaka region of Hokkaido. Also known as ginkezake, it is said to be the “king” due to its beautiful silver shape, rich texture, and taste. For this the slightly sharper mountain wasabi grown in Hokkaido is used instead of regular wasabi. The leaf of the beefsteak plant gives added accent.

Fifth: Toi-san maguro no otoro (fatty tuna from Toi)
Toi is part of Hakodate City and is on the other side of the Tsugaru Straits that separates it from Oma Town, Aomori Prefecture which is famous for its tuna. The fatty tuna is made from the head of tuna caught in that part of the sea. Abundant in fat content, the meat melts in your mouth it is so soft.

Enjoying sushi! Watching a master itamae prepare each serving before your very eyes makes the experience all the more memorable

Sixth: Hamanaka-san bafun uni (horse-dung sea urchin harvested at Hamanaka)
“Would you prefer rock salt or nikiri shoyu?”
After inquiring as to your preference, the master then makes the nigiri putting the condiment you requested on top of it. I ordered the rock salt as I think it gives it a uniquely different taste.
Each serving is about a single mouthful, but the flavor is so rich that it gives the sensation of having eaten dozens of them. Truly a sumptuous dish!

Sea urchin served on a bed of shari not wrapped in seaweed is Sushi Fuji style. This way the exquisitely tender flavor of the sea urchin can better be appreciated

Seventh: Jikasei ikura (homemade salmon roe)
As with the sea urchin, each serving is bite-sized on a round gunkan (shari wrapped with seaweed). Many of the patrons enjoy sake with their sushi, and it is for that reason the size of the servings are kept modest. The sensation of the roe bursting in your mouth and then melting away is exquisite!

Eighth: Otaru-san shako (mantis shrimp from Otaru)
Mantis shrimp is caught in spring and autumn and then boiled. After servings of rich and fatty neta, the mantis shrimp is the perfect follow-up for concluding the feast.

Mantis shrimp on top of red vinegar flavored rice. In some seasons spot prawn is used in place of the mantis shrimp

And that is the complete course!

Watching the skilled technique of a master sushi chef and enjoying the ambience of warm conversation with the master and his wife, this is truly an unforgettably luxurious experience, one that can be enjoyed with eyes and ears, as well as the mouth. The chef is a master at striking the perfect balance with the finest ingredients available.

  • Sushi Fuji
    鮨 富士
    • Address 〒060-0063北海道札幌市中央区南3条西5-14 三条美松ビル3階/Sanzyouutsukusimatsu Bld.3F, 5-14, Minami3-jonishi, Chuo-ku Sapporo-shi, Hokkaido, 060-0063, Japan
    • Phone Number 011-219-7880
    • Hours: 5:30 PM ~ 11:00 PM (no entry after 10:30PM) ※Guests with reservations are given priority
      Holidays: unscheduled

Written by : Nobuhiro Kawashima

*This information is from the time of this article's publication.
*Prices and options mentioned are subject to change.
*Unless stated otherwise, all prices include tax.

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