Sukiyabashi Jiro, the sushi-only restaurant in the Ginza shopping district of Tokyo that is also the focus of David Gelb’s 2011 hagiographic debut feature Jiro Dreams of Sushi, has been stripped of all its Michelin stars.
Run by sushi maestro Jiro Ono, who’s now in his 90s, and his eldest son Yoshikazu, the 10-seater restaurant has been dropped from the 2020 guide – not because of the quality of the food, but because it no longer accepts public reservations. The Michelin Guide’s policy is to introduce restaurants where everybody can go to eat.
To get a table at the coveted restaurant now, you’ll need to be a regular, have special connections or book through the concierge of a luxury hotel.
Sukiyabashi Jiro, which had received three Michelin stars every year since the culinary guide’s first Tokyo edition in 2007, had a guest list that includes French chef Joël Robuchon, actor Hugh Jackman and singer Katy Perry.
The restaurant made further headlines in 2014 when former US president Barack Obama and Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe dined there. The former, who was particularly fond of the fatty, chutoro tuna, even claimed that it was the best sushi he had ever tasted after Ono senior served them his own selection of 20 pieces.
Jiro’s website said it was “currently experiencing difficulties in accepting reservations” and apologised for “any inconvenience to our valued customers”.
It added: “Unfortunately, as our restaurant can only seat up to 10 guests at a time, this situation is likely to continue.”
Another branch at Roppongi Hills complex, run by Ono’s younger son, maintained its two stars as it’s open to public reservations.
The dropping of Sukiyabashi Jiro happened right after The Araki, a sushi restaurant in London’s Mayfair that was also stripped of all three stars this year when its chef went back to Tokyo. However, Michelin’s 2020 guide still reinforces Tokyo’s status as arguably the world’s culinary capital, with 226 starred restaurants, more than any other city.