Sushi wasn’t such a new concept for me in Japan after working in a sushi take out place some time ago in New Zealand.
However, as close as I was to sushi making, I was a world away from the true sushi that can be found only in Japan.
When we think of Japan, sushi tends to be one of the first things that comes to mind.
But when thinking of good sushi, it might not be so easy to think of where to go.
Well, I’m here to offer a suggestion.
Japan may be a country well known for sushi, but Hokkaido is better known amongst many Japanese as the place to go for really good sushi, do this is a good place to start.
People born and raised in Hokkaido will, of course, be very quick to agree, but I think they have good reason to promote their special island.
Up here, on the northern tier of Japan, the fish is as fresh as can be, with access to waters that provide some of the most delicious fish in the world.
The fish that are successfully brought in to port by the strong and hard working fisherman of Hokkaido, find their way as fast as possible to a wide variety of wonderful dining experiences.
MATSURIYA, one of the best Sushi bars in Sapporo.
Matsuria is the name of a kaiten (conveyor belt style) sushi bar in Sapporo.
It’s not the only one of its kind, but it was the first one I went to and fell in sushi-love with.
Matsuria is easily accessible by bus, taxi, bicycle or on foot.
It faces the main Ishiyama dori road(石山通) in the center of Sapporo.
When it’s seen from the outside, especially in the evenings, what will jump out at you will be the sheer number of people patiently waiting to get their ticket number called.
The first time I went was a surprisingly long wait and if this is the case for you, I recommend bringing something to help pass the time, like a good book.
It could be argued that anyone waiting for such a long time with a rumbling stomach could enjoy pretty much anything put in front of them. However, I can assure you, that after repeated visits during quieter periods, the experience remains the same, beautiful sushi.
You will be shown to your seating area that will have you at the counter, either facing it or at a table with the conveyor belt running along side.
After the standard hand towels are offered, you are free to sit back and take a moment to marvel at the wide range of colourful and meticulously presented food that travels past you.
This will also be a good time to set up your area with your plates, chopsticks, ginger and green tea.
But hey, we’re here for sushi right, so let’s get past the formalities and grab those moving plates!
It’s a worthwhile tip to not take the plates from the conveyor belt.
'Why!? It’s right there!!’ I hear you scream.
While this is perfectly fine, think about it, those plates have been working their way around the whole restaurant for people to admire for a while.
Therefore, they’re not the freshest.
But consider it a worthy sample to look at.
What you’d be best off to do is grab a sheet of paper available, the green one, look through the menu and copy down the sushi you want along with how many plates of each you wish to devour.
Then simply raise your hand or catch an eye which should be enough to summon one of the many very busy and talented chefs to immediately take your paper.
But if in doubt, a ‘sumimasen’ will bring their attention.
You won’t wait long before the plates ordered will be handed to you.
Speaking of plates, they are conveniently colored to let you know how much each plate will cost and speaking of cost, it is incredibly reasonable!
I can try a vast array of delicious sushi for an average of around ¥200 a plate.
Each plate equals two sushi and the serving size is generous, just check out those pictures!
Pop some soy sauce onto your plate, crack apart those chopsticks and enjoy!
Sushi is not all that Matsuria offers.
You can enjoy don bowls, desserts and drinks to compliment more fish than you could dream of.
The taste?… Well you will just have to experience it for yourself, but I am a little distracted as I write this, planing my next visit.
As an average guideline, I can get a very full stomach for about 2,000 yen, which I think is very good, especially with such high quality servings.
So, if you want to try excellent sushi from the fresh shores of Hokkaido, get your money’s worth and fall in sushi love by going to Matsuria.