Sushi etiquette ; how to order sushi


Omakase means to leave your sushi choices up to the chef…

It usually includes 12 to 15 sushi.

Sushi are delicate food so that the flavor of sushi will vary depending on the order to eat them.

If you order an Omakase, the chef will serve sushi at the right time while observing you. Therefore, you can enjoy an authentic flavor of sushi.


Okonomi means to order your favorite foods as you like.

Okonomi is as the same as à la carte for western cuisine.

You can use Okonomi at sushi shops when you want to have your favorite sushi as you like.

If you order an Okonomi, the chef will serve sushi that you like, even the same sushi repeatedly.


Kimarimono means to serve classic sushi, including tuna, octopus, and squid, on a round, flat-bottomed wooden barrel or a plate.

It is often divided into ranks, such as pine tree, bamboo, and plum tree, depending on the value of sushi toppings.

The price doesn’t usually change through the year, because reasonably-priced seasonal toppings are included.

Omakase is much more reasonable price than Okonomi, which attracts customers.

Which one should you choose: Omakase, Okonomi, or Kimarimono?

What you order at a sushi shop varies depending on your budget or how hungry you are. However, if you cannot decide one, I recommend you to order an Omakase.

Not only Omakase includes a variety of sushi toppings, but also the chef will serve sushi in the ideal order. If you don’t know the right order of sushi and eat them in the wrong order, you won’t get an authentic flavor of sushi.

Therefore, it’s wise to order an Omakase.

If a sushi shop where you visit for the first time offers different types of Omakase, I recommend you to order the cheapest one.

If the cheapest one was delicious for you, you should order the most expensive one on your second visit so that you can enjoy the best sushi at the shop.

It is wise to avoid ordering neither the cheapest nor the most expensive one, because all the factors of sushi, including quality, taste, and price, becomes a gray area.

Proper sushi shops will even serve customized Omakase based on the customer’s preference.

The chefs at Sukiyabashi Jiro, a Michelin 3-star sushi restaurant for consecutive 6 years, are attentive to customer’s preference in a subtle way.

For example, they serve different sushi instead of sushi wrapped with nori (dried seaweed) to overseas customers, because many overseas customers don’t like nori.

They serve different-sized shrimps between male and female customers.

It is also good to order an Omakase if you want to receive such hospitality at a sushi shop.

If you know the right order to eat sushi, it’s fine to order an Okonomi to enjoy your favorite sushi.

However, Okonomi, which you order sushi as you like, is usually very pricy.

Even you order the same sushi toppings that are included in Omakase, Okonomi becomes more expensive, because the chef uses a higher-quality part or cuts it thicker compared to the same topping of Omakase.

Please keep this in mind.

If you want to minimize the price, I recommend you to order Kimarimono, which is relatively reasonable.

Some sushi shops don’t specify the price of each sushi topping on the menu.

Therefore, you cannot guess how much you spend until the end.

On the other hand, the biggest advantage of Kimarimono is that you can enjoy sushi without being worried about your wallet, because the price of Kimarimono is clearly written on the menu.

Snacks that you can order at sushi shops

Sashimi (raw fish) and grilled food are classic snacks at sushi shops.

You can also enjoy snakes that have different flavor from sushi, such as steamed monkfish liver
and grilled sea urchin that brings sweet sea aroma through your mouth.