A look back at the 2008 Tokyo Michelin Guide

For fun, I thought I'd take a look back at Michelin's very first restaurant guide in Tokyo. Now, I don't particularly care for the Michelin guide in general, and I think that attempting to rank or rate restaurants in a huge megapolis like Tokyo is mission impossible. Still, it's sort of fun to revisit the 2008 guide. What shops were awarded stars back then? And how do they fare now? Does any of it make any sense? Let's have a look:


2008 *** sushi shops:

Sukiyabashi Jiro (still 3 stars in 2016)

Sushi Mizutani (down to 2 stars in 2016)


2008 ** sushi shops:

Sawada (still 2 stars in 2016)

Sushi Kanesaka (down to 1 star in 2016)

Taku (still 2 stars in 2016)


2008 * sushi shops:

Ginza Sushiko Honten (down to no stars in 2016)

Harutaka (down to no stars in 2016)

Kyubey (down to no stars in 2016)

Nakamura (still 1 star in 2016)

Shin (still 1 star in 2016)

Sushi Ohno (down to no stars in 2016)

Sushi Saito (up to 3 stars in 2016)

Sushisho Saito (down to no stars in 2016)

Umi (up to 2 stars in 2016)

Yuta (no longer in business? A suhiya called Takabe Zushi now occupies Yuta's listed address).


So there you have it. Plenty of restaurants got demoted, some got promoted, some disappeared completely from the guide. Is Kanesaka a better restaurant than Harutaka? Many would say no. Is Kyubey worst now than it was in 2008? Not in my opinion. Is Sukiyabashi Jiro really much better than some of the amazing Tokyo sushi shops that have never been listed in Michelin? Probably not. None of these Michelin rankings make much sense to me. But hey, it does give us something to talk about!

A complete list of Tokyo's 2016 Michelin starred sushiya can be found here, and a New York Times article from 2008 regarding the Tokyo Michelin guide can be accessed here