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place2 minute walk from Exit 4 of Toyocho Station

Classic Sushi For All Occasions at Tenguzushi

Published: August 3, 2020


It’s likely that most residents of central Koto-ku know Tenguzushi, the sushi restaurant tucked away on a back street near Toyocho station. For close to fifty years now it has been satisfying the appetites of local residents and visitors, during which time it has become a great success, with branches in Ginza, Hatchobori, and Nakano-sakaue. On a recent afternoon, we dropped in for a chat with the ebullient and loquacious Mr. Hisamaru Tajima, son of the founder and current chairman. 



Located on the first floor of an apartment building just two minutes walk from Toyocho station, the restaurant is easily identifiable by its logo of a dancing, red-faced, long-nosed tengu, a supernatural being of ancient Japanese legend. Inside there is a counter with seats for eight, tables with seats for 14 and a large banquet room that can seat up to 40 people. 



My father opened the restaurant here in 1974 but he’s been making sushi for over fifty years now,” said Mr. Tajima. “He’s a well-known person in the sushi world, you could say, and still goes to Toyosu Market every day to order fish for the restaurants. We’re the number one delivery sushi company in Koto-ku, covering most of the central area, and employ a staff of around 20 people, with an extra 40 or so part-timers who make sushi for sales in department stores.” Interestingly, Mr. Tajima enjoyed a ten-year career as a professional wrestler and even spent a year with a stable in Mexico, before hanging up his boots and returning to the family business. 



Tenguzushi serves Edo-mae sushi, created in Edo (modern Tokyo) during the early part of the 19th. century. The rice is mixed with red vinegar made from sake lees (akasu) not the white rice vinegar typically used. This “omakase” set (chef’s selection) features a fine variety of tuna, sea urchin, shrimp, herring egg on kelp and the like, and costs 1,800 yen per person. 



Tuna is our life,” says Tajima Senior on the restaurant’s home page. “We pay most attention to sourcing tuna.” Fatty tuna (toro) is the number one, the most expensive and the best quality part of the fish. The prices reflect that: toro sushi is 4,300 yen while sashimi is 3,000 yen. Why not treat yourself? 



Lunch is very casual,” says Mr. Tajima. “We get a lot of business people, local residents, and visitors to Koto Ward City Hall. Early evenings it’s business people and local residents, with many local families our main customers at weekends.” These very popular Tengumaki rolls are based on nakaochi, the medium fatty tuna from the fish’s rib area, and nine other ingredients. Both colourful and delicious, a serving like this is 2,600 yen. 



Mr. Tajima gave us some interesting tips on sushi and Tenguzushi. One was this special lunch, of which only 15 are made every day. It features the fatty tail area of an Indian Ocean tuna, a tuna and vegetable rice bowl, small salad and soup. It’s yours for the princely sum of 1,050 yen, including tax. As you can imagine they’re very popular, so it’s first come, first served. 



Perhaps the best way to enjoy Tenguzushi is by reserving a room and ordering a course. Two-hour, all you can drink courses start at 5,000 yen, while the 6,000 yen course features toro sushi. 



The rear dining room is airy and spacious, with comfortable chairs and a relaxing decor. There is ample social distancing too. 



The private room can accommodate up to ten people in comfort. Great for families with kids! 



The piscine delights are seemingly endless at Tenguzushi. This seafood rice bowl (kaisen don) is widely-ordered, especially by female customers. As tasty as it is visually appealing, it’s a very reasonable 1,050 yen. 



This so-called “bomb” bowl (bakudan don) is another winner at just 1,050 yen. 



While this extra-special (tokujo) sushi set is a rare treat at 1,450 yen. 



It’s not all sushi and sashimi at Tenguzushi, though. Several seasonal varieties of cooked fish are available, such as blackthroat seaperch (nodoguro 1,800 yen) or conger eel (anago 1,000 yen). Pictured here is a channel rockfish (kinki) caught in Hokkaido. The flesh of the channel rockfish is fatty, juicy, and quite sweet, especially in winter. This little beauty, simmered in a soy-based sauce will cost you 3,300 yen. 



How about enjoying the finest Tenguzushi has to offer at home? Just check out the delivery area on the link below and within minutes one of these fabulous sets could be on its way to you.  



For example, the “asagao” set consists of six toro tuna, three salmon roe, two toro and negi onion, three squid, three salmon, three shrimp, three whitefish, two horse mackerel, two conger, two herring egg on kelp, three egg, raw tuna roll (tekkamaki) and cucumber roll (kappamaki). That should be enough for three or four people and costs 5,670 yen. The “tsubaki” set contains sea urchin and shrimp as well as most of the above for 6,800 yen. 



Whether it’s a light lunch, a luxury dinner or a sushi home party, there’s something for everyone at Tenguzushi. Why not drop in and let the experts serve you.



Story and photographs by Stephen Spencer