Savor Some of Tokyo’s Most Creative Sushi at Sakanaumai in Shinjuku

Since around 2021, there has been a growing trend among young people in Japan for “Katakana Sushi.”

This term refers to sushi restaurants that use katakana characters (one of the Japanese language’s phonetic alphabets, often used for flashy appeal on signs) to write their names. These restaurants are known for their creative menus that deviate from traditional sushi, as well as their affordable prices.

In Shinjuku, Shiawase Shinjuku Sakanaumai (hereinafter referred to as “Sakanaumai”) is one such place where you can enjoy unique and creative sushi creations.


“本マグロのレッドカーペット,” The Red Carpet of Bluefin Tuna 1,649 JPY (tax included)

Here are some must-try dishes at the popular Sakanaumai

Sakanaumai follows the concept of a “sushi izakaya” where many of the menu items are designed to pair well with alcoholic beverages.

They have a variety of dishes where ingredients are piled on top of thin sushi rolls, and they intentionally provide generous portions of ingredients to ensure they pair perfectly with drinks.

The towering “Red Cliff of Bluefin Tuna”

The Red Cliff of Bluefin Tuna is another dish on the menu designed to pair well with alcohol.

It features negitoro (green onion and minced tuna) and pickled radish piled on top of thin rolls, with a generous amount of tuna sashimi and tobiko (flying fish roe) as the final topping.

Just as the word “cliff” implies height, this dish has an impressive and voluminous appearance.


“本マグロのレッドクリフ,” Red Cliff of Bluefin Tuna 1,649 (tax included)

Stacking negitoro and tuna sashimi on top of thin rolls creates a luxurious gunkan-maki-like presentation.

The poppy texture of the tobiko and the crunchiness of the pickled radish provide a delightful accent to the dish.

On top of that, when you order The Red Cliff of Bluefin Tuna, the staff at Sakanaumai also perform a magic trick during the presentation.

Such playful elements like this might be one of the reasons why Katakana Sushi has become popular among young people.

To find out what kind of magic trick it is, you’ll have to visit the restaurant and enjoy the experience in person!


The staff play magic tricks when serving some dishes

The Red Carpet of Bluefin Tuna

Sakanaumai takes pride in offering fresh, not frozen, bluefin tuna.

Among the various Katakana Sushi restaurants, Sakanaumai was the first to introduce the handling of fresh, unfrozen bluefin tuna.

With The Red Carpet of Bluefin Tuna you can truly savor the deliciousness of this meticulously sourced fresh bluefin tuna.

Crush the egg yolk topping and eat it together

The slices of tuna sashimi laid out on the plate are best enjoyed by rolling them up with pickled radish, white sesame seeds, green onions, and a raw egg yolk as toppings.

The tuna sashimi is glazed with a sweet sauce that pairs perfectly with the richness of the egg yolk.

The addition of pickled radish and white sesame seeds adds a delightful texture, making it an irresistibly delicious combination that’ll have you reaching for more.

The “Mount Sushi” is a surefire hit on social media

The restaurant’s popular “Mount Sushi” is a unique and creative sushi dish where customers themselves finish the preparation.

Inside the thin rolls, you’ll find a generous mix of grated yam, chopped marinated tuna, salmon roe, tobiko, and more.

When you lift and remove the film on top, the contents spread out in a radial pattern, resulting in a visually captivating presentation.


The film still intact on the sushi

To neatly spread out the ingredients inside the film, it may take a bit of skill, and the key is to lift it slowly.

Gently lift the film just a little and check if the grated yam is spreading evenly.


If you remove the film cleanly, the insides spread out evenly

To keep the dish neat, make sure the salmon roe and tobiko are level with the table. This prevents the grated yam from spreading unevenly due to their weight.

When you successfully achieve that radial pattern, you’re sure to feel a sense of accomplishment!


“マウント寿司,” Mount Sushi 1,099 (tax included)

The “Shidareru Ana Kyu Tamago Sushi” has an impressive appperance

The “Shidareru Ana Kyu Tamago Sushi,” which can be loosely translated to “Drooping Saltwater Eel and Egg Sushi,” uses an extra large eel and is a visual stunner.

When it’s served, the staff performs a live show by using a burner to sear the eel right in front of you, adding to the excitement of the dish.


“しだれる穴きゅう玉寿司,” Drooping Saltwater Eel and Egg Sushi 1,099 JPY (tax included)

When you pick up the eel with your chopsticks, its size and weight are sure to catch you by surprise.

Underneath the eel, there’s a generous portion of thick, grilled eggs, making it quite the filling dish.

Not only is it a marvel to look at, but you’ll also feel quite satisfied after enjoying it, making it a great option for sharing with friends or family.

A full selection of nigiri, representing the fundamentals of Edomae sushi, is available

In addition to their creative sushi dishes, Sakanaumai also offers classic nigiri sushi options.

You can choose from over 20 varieties, including favorites like fatty tuna and sea urchin nigiri, ensuring a well-rounded sushi experience.


Nigiri selection “本マグロ大トロ (pictured up front),” Fatty Bluefin Tuna 384 JPY per piece (tax included)

Sakanaumai maintains the fundamentals of Edomae sushi (sushi made using freshly caught seafood from near Tokyo Bay), such as using vinegared rice with a slight sweetness and a strong emphasis on the freshness of the ingredients.

While staying true to these traditional principles, the restaurant continues to create innovative and creative sushi dishes. It’s the fusion of tradition and innovation that makes the place so popular.

Barrel-aged Japanese sake will wet the whistle of those looking for a drink

Because the concept of Sakanaumai is a “sushi izakaya where you can snack and drink,” the variety of alcoholic beverages is just as extensive as the food menu.


Upon ordering barrel-aged sake, staff will pour it from the in-house servers

You can enjoy the refreshing taste of unpasteurized sake, which is characterized by its light mouthfeel.

Sake is poured using a carbon dioxide-powered drink server, giving it a subtle effervescence and a clean finish, making it a great option even for those who aren’t accustomed to sake.


The poured unpasteurized sake has a slight fizz to it

The brand of unpasteurized sake offered changes regularly, with one of the seven brands available on any given day.

You can ask the staff about the specific brand available on the day, and they will also provide you with information about its flavor characteristics. This is a really welcoming touch, particularly for those new to Japanese sake.

Encounter a new sushi culture at Sakanaumai

The majority of customers visiting the restaurant are in their twenties to early thirties. As the menu is developed with a focus on younger generations, it features what some may consider edgy items.

The restaurant caters to a wide range of clientele, including groups of friends, couples on dates, and families. The interior is clean and features primarily counter and table seating.


Sakanaumai’s interior

There are also boat-shaped table seats suitable for groups of four or more located right at the restaurant’s entrance.


Tables inspired by a boat motif

Sakanaumai, known for its innovative sushi dishes, attracts many foreign tourists. Each menu item is conveniently accompanied by English descriptions and photos.

Particularly popular among foreign tourists are the classic sushi dishes featuring high-quality ingredients such as boiled saltwater eel nigiri and sea urchin sushi.

On top of those, their uniquely creative sushi, like seared shrimp nigiri topped with their special sea urchin sauce, is also a hit among visitors, showcasing the distinctiveness of Sakanaumai.

Their “Deep-fried Natto Roll” is a sushi roll with natto, a fermented soybean dish, deep-fried like tempura. They also feature dishes that capture the essence of Japanese cuisine, allowing visitors to experience more traditional Japanese flavors in creative ways.

Many patrons are drawn to Sakanaumai, with some ordering the same dishes repeatedly, speaking to the restaurant’s consistent and enticing flavors that appeal to both domestic and international guests.

Located in Shinjuku, a place that attracts people from all over Japan and the world, Sakanaumai just may become a hub for the development of new sushi culture in the near future.


Sakanaumai’s exterior


Store name 幸せ新宿 サカナウマイ
Shiawase Shinjuku Sakanaumai
Address Shimada Building 1F, 3-20-1 Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo
Access Shinjuku-Sanchōme Station 2-minute walk from Shinjuku-Sanchōme Station Exit B8
  • Tokyo Metro Fukutoshin Line(F13)
  • Tokyo Metro Marunouchi Line(M09)

Shinjuku Station(SJK) 4-minute walk from Shinjuku Station East Exit
  • JR Yamanote Line(JY17)
  • JR Saikyō Line(JA11)
  • JR Shōnan Shinjuku Line(JS20)
  • JR Chūō Line Rapid(JC05)
  • JR Chūō Sōbu Line(JB10)
  • Keiō Line(KO01)
  • Keiō New Line(KO01)
  • Odakyū Line(OH01)
  • Tokyo Metro Marunouchi Line(M08)
  • Toei Shinjuku Line(S01)
  • Toei Ōedo Line(E27)
Phone number 03-6380-0883
Reservations Accepted
Tabelog, ebica, Reserve with Google, Appointments on Facebook, DM (Instagram)
  • Cash
  • Credit cards(American Express・Diners・JCB・Master・VISA)
  • Transportation-related electronic money (Suica, etc.)
  • Electronic money
  • QR code payment not accepted
Service charge/Table charge Service charge (including otōshi)329 JPY(tax included)
Hours Mon-Fri. & days before nat’l holidays 16:00-23:30(last order 23:00)
Sat-Sun. & nat’l holidays 13:00-23:30(last order 23:00)
Closed No holidays
Seating 45 seats
10 counter seats, 35 tables seats
Smoking All seats are non-smoking
Official website
Other information
  • A mobile app for ordering with English language is available
  • Please ask staff about allergy-friendly menus; vegan, vegetarian, and halal menus are not available
  • Wheelchair-accessible(there are steps in the restaurant)
  • Take-out and delivery service are not available
  • Luggage storage space is available
  • Wi-Fi is available
  • Posting of food photos and videos on SNS is allowed
  • Separate billing is not allowed

※Menu contents, prices, store information, etc. are current as of October 2023.