The very best Tokyo sushi restaurants are incredibly expensive - typically charging between ￥20,000 and ￥35,000 (about $200 to $350 US) per person for a full omakase experience. But that doesn't mean that you can't find very tasty sushi in Tokyo at more reasonable prices. Below you will find my ten picks for great sushi for around $50 or less. I've updated the list for 2018, removing a shop that no longer offers a great lunch deal, and replacing a couple of decent shops with even better choices.
Even if you are on a tight budget, you don't have to settle for kaiten-zushi (conveyor belt sushi) shops or large chains like Zanmai, nor do you have to wait in line for hours at decent, but incredibly overhyped Tsukiji shops. Below is a list (in no particular order) of ten Tokyo sushi restaurants where you can grab a great lunch for around ￥5,000 (±$50) or less. Sure, these cheaper offerings typically comprise of "nigiri-only sets" (no expensive otsumami, or appetizers, are offered) and won't feature the priciest ingredients like o-toro or uni, but you'll be able to indulge in great sushi without breaking the bank.
Of course, there are hundreds of restaurants in Tokyo that offer good sushi at reasonable prices, but the list below is a good start. I have included the Tabelog link for each restaurant, where you'll find addresses, phone numbers, hours of operation, et cetera.
1. Sushi Ryusuke
My recent lunch experience at Sushi Ryusuke surpassed my expectations in every way. To sum it up briefly: incredibly delicious, somewhat unorthodox sushi served by a funny chef, and priced very reasonably. Can't ask for any more than that! Ryusuke-san alternates between akasu shari (sushi rice seasoned with red sake lees vinegar) and komesu shari (sushi rice seasoned with rice vinegar) depending on the neta (sushi topping) being served. He is also known for occasionally using some non-traditional ingredients and for offering some unexpected dishes. A 10 piece nigiri set is offered at lunch for only ￥5,000. You can read my full review of this great shop here. Reservations are required. (Tabelog)
2. Bentenyama Miyako Sushi
I absolutely adore this shop. Located in the no-frills, blue-collar neighborhood of Asakusa, Bentenyama Miyako serves up delicious, uber traditional Edomae-zushi. Seventy five year old chef Tadashi Uchida-san is friendly and has an encyclopedic knowledge of sushi. Did I already mention the sushi is delicious? A must-visit for anyone interested in trying classic Edomae sushi. Nigiri sets start at a ridiculously low￥2,200. Reservations are not required but they are recommended to avoid disappointment. (Tabelog)
Kyubey holds a special place in my heart as the first high-end Tokyo sushi shop I ever visited. The shop’s atmosphere is pretty unique. It is much larger than the typical Ginza sushiya, so its a bit louder and more boisterous. And the sushi, while not the very best in Tokyo, is still damn good. The chefs are highly skilled (many top sushi chefs apprenticed at Kyubey at some point), the food is delicious, and the service impeccable. It's still one of my top recommendations for those looking for a first Tokyo sushi experience, or for anyone looking for a great, affordable lunch in Ginza. Nigiri lunch sets start at￥4,000. My full review is here. Walk-ins are allowed, but I would recommend calling a few days ahead to reserve, if possible. (Tabelog)
4. Sushi Iwa
Ginza Iwa is one of my favorite lunch spots. I have visited five times now, and it is always delicious. I recommend it as a great "first time visitor to Tokyo" experience, along with Kyubey. If I had to describe chef Hisayoshi Iwa's sushi in one word, it would be "balanced" - seasonal ingredients prepared skillfully, paired with delicious sushi rice to form a whole that is tasty, refreshing, addictive. I'm getting hungry thinking about it. Iwa's cheapest lunch set will set you back a mere ¥5,000 for ten mouthwatering pieces. My full review of Iwa can be found here. Reservations are required, I would recommend booking 2 or 3 weeks ahead. (Tabelog)
5. Sushi Keita
Sushi Keita opened in September of 2017 and is located in Tuskiji, not far from the famed market. Keita-san apprenticed at Sushi Taichi, and so his sushi is reminiscent of Taichi-san's style: medium sized pieces with an emphasis on seasonal items and shari (sushi rice) seasoned with akazu and salt. Keita's shari has a good sourness to it and a lot of presence. It is frankly one of the best tasting shari I have had anywhere. This fantastic rice is paired with excellent quality neta prepared expertly. Some pieces, like the fantastic kohada and the sawara are right up there with the best I've ever had. The base lunch course is priced at only ¥5,000 and reservations should be secured a few weeks in advance. Full review here. (Tabelog)
6. Yoshino Sushi Honten
Yoshino Sushi Honten is an old-school shop located in Nihonbashi. The vibe inside the restaurant is distinctively working class – this is not a fancy Ginza sushiya but rather a neighborhood sort of joint. The cheapest nigiri set consists of 8 pieces of nigiri (pictured above) and one hosomaki for a very affordable ¥2,200. I am amazed by the high level of quality Yoshino is able to deliver at such low prices. The food is so much better than most other sushi options at that price point, including chains like Sushi Zanmai, Umegaoka Sushi No Midori, and the like. Anyone looking for affordable, great tasting sushi should put lunch at Yoshino Sushi Honten high on their list. Walk-ins are fine at lunch. My full review is available here. (Tabelog)
7. Sushi Taichi
Chef Taichi Ishikawa-san has been operating this L-shaped, nine seat counter in Ginza since 2008, and has gained a very loyal local following. His sushi is fairly classic in style: pieces are on the medium to large side, shari (sushi rice) is seasoned with akazu (sake lees vinegar) and sea salt, and neta is of very good quality, with an emphasis on seasonality. I've visited this shop 6 or 7 times now; it is without a doubt one of my very favorites in Tokyo. Do note that reservations are required and that the chef asks that those who do not speak Japanese be accompanied by a Japanese speaker, if possible. More about this great restaurant can be found here. (Tabelog)
Another old-school shop in a working class neighborhood, this time we have Kizushi in Ningyocho. With 3rd generation sushi chef Ryuichi Yui-san at the helm, the chefs at this restaurant firmly adhere to traditional Edomae style preparation techniques. The shari (sushi rice) is really good: strongly seasoned with komezu, a little salty, and quite sour. A ten piece nigiri set is available at lunch for a mere ¥3,000 - a fantastic value. My full review can be found here. Walk-ins are probably OK at lunch, but I personally wouldn't risk it, I'd recommend calling to reserve a few days ahead. (Tabelog)
9. Sushi Tokami
If you love tuna, Sushi Tokami is the place for you. Owned by a famous Tsukiji tuna wholesaler, the shop is known for offering some of the very best hon-maguro available. Head chef Sato-san recently left, but I'm confident that the highly qualified new chef, Oda-san (pictured above, at center) will maintain the high level of quality that Tokami is known for. Those on a budget should order the ten piece lunch set for￥5,000 - it features some of that amazing tuna. My full review of Tokami is here. Reservations are absolutely required and should be made a month or more in advance. (Tabelog)
10. Sushi Ichijo
This fairly new shop is not yet well-known to foreign sushi enthusiasts or tourists in general. I have a feeling this might change, as the sushi served here is truly excellent, and an amazing value. I enjoyed absolutely everything that was put in front of me, but particularly loved Ichijo's shellfish preparations, especially the akagai and kobashira. The kurumaebi was sublime, and Ichijo's tuna was excellent as well. A nigiri lunch set can be found at this wonderful old-school shop for under ￥5,000. My full review (of their nighttime omakase) can be found here. (Tabelog)