Tokyo restaurant Sukiyabashi Jiro, hailed as the world’s best for sushi, has been stripped of all three of its Michelin stars.
The decision was announced in Tokyo on Tuesday at the unveiling of the latest Michelin guide for the Japanese capital. However, the reason for the restaurant losing all three of its stars is not because the quality of its food or service has declined, but for an entirely different reason altogether.
In fact, Michelin’s decision arose from Sukiyabashi Jiro’s announcement that they are no longer open to the general public for bookings. Instead, sushi lovers will only be able to bag a table if they are regular visitors, have special connections in the city or book through the concierge of a luxury hotel.
Speaking about the decision to remove the restaurant from its guide, a spokesperson for Michelin said: “We recognise Sukiyabashi Jiro does not accept reservations from the general public, which makes it out of our scope. It was not true to say the restaurant lost stars but it is not subject to coverage in our guide. Michelin’s policy is to introduce restaurants where everybody can go to eat.”
Although the restaurant is no longer officially open to the public, securing a table at Sukiyabashi Jiro (affectionately known as Sushi Jiro) has never been an easy feat. The restaurant only has space for up to 10 guests at one time, and demand is extremely high. Once you’re in the door, you’ll pay a minimum of 40,000 yen (£285) to enjoy the ‘chef’s selection’.
Sukiyabashi Jiro is well known for its ability to attract famous faces, with perhaps the most famous visitor being former US President Barack Obama, who visited the restaurant with the then Japanese Prime Minister while he was still in office. Other famous faces to try the much-feted sushi here include the actor Hugh Jackman and pop songstress Katy Perry.
Sukiyabashi Jiro originally opened its doors in 1965 and had received three Michelin stars every year since the guide launched in Tokyo in 2007.
Fancy trying sushi closer to home? Check out our pick of the best sushi London restaurants have to offer.