Casual Chic Sushi in Tokyo: Toro, Salmon, and Sea Urchin Hand Rolls Star at Gonpachi NORI-TEMAKI Harajuku

Sushi, a beloved Japanese cuisine that has won hearts worldwide, offers an array of styles from the classic nigiri to the diverse chirashi, catering to all tastes. In the heart of Tokyo’s trendy Harajuku neighborhood, Gonpachi NORI-TEMAKI Harajuku (hereunder referred to as ‘Gonpachi NORI-TEMAKI’) embraces this variety with a relaxed yet delightful twist. Here, sushi enthusiasts can indulge in the simple pleasures of meticulously crafted hand-rolled sushi in a comfortable and inviting setting.

Photo of Salmon Roe

“いくら醤油漬け,” Salmon Roe 495 JPY (tax included)

When in doubt, opt for the recommended five-piece set!

A highlight of this restaurant is the style of rolling your own sushi! Upon ordering, you’ll receive a set consisting of sushi toppings, rice, and lettuce. Simply wrap these in squares of dried nori seaweed and enjoy the crisp texture.

Photo of Bensky hand-rolling sushi

The nori at this restaurant stands out for its crispiness, a notable difference from other sushi establishments. And for good reason! It’s sourced from Maruyama Nori, which boasts a history of about 170 years and is known for its high-quality seaweed. Moreover, the inclusion of aosa—another seaweed also known as sea lettuce—lends a distinguished, elegant aroma of the sea, making it a distinctive feature of their offerings.

Photo of Nori from Maruyama Nori

Nori from Maruyama Nori

To ensure the nori’s crispness lasts a bit longer, butter lettuce—a variety known for loose, round-shaped heads of tender, sweet leaves and mild flavor—is strategically placed between the rice and seaweed. After experimenting with various greens, they found that butter lettuce works best to enhance the overall flavor. Indeed, it’s their strong desire for customers to enjoy delicious hand-rolled sushi that has led to this innovative way of serving it.

Photo of Cajun Chicken

“ケイジャンチキン,” Cajun Chiken

The restaurant regularly offers 30 varieties of hand-rolled sushi, from classic seafood to more unique ingredients. If you’re undecided, however, start with the “5 Temaki Set.”

Photo of 5 Temaki Set

“おすすめ5本セット,” 5 Temaki Set 1,815 JPY (tax included)

This set features five hand rolls popular among international visitors, each perfectly seasoned, so no need for extra soy sauce.

Photo of Shrimp Tempura

“揚げたて海老天,” Shrimp Tempura

A fan favorite, “Shrimp Tempura,” is prepared right before your eyes at the counter. Enjoy the harmonious crunch of the tempura coating with the succulent shrimp—a hand-roll that’s as satisfying as a full shrimp tempura bowl!

Photo of frying shrimp tempura

In typical Japanese sushi restaurants, the ingredient known as tsuna in Japanese usually refers to processed tuna, often cooked in a style similar to what you’d find in canned tuna. However, this restaurant takes a distinct approach with their tsuna, using the uncooked middle cuts of the fish.

Their standout dish, “Spicy Tuna,” is a testament to this unique choice. It’s seasoned with chili oil, mayonnaise, shichimi tōgarashi (Japanese seven spice), and green chili pepper. As it melts in your mouth, it releases a burst of bold, spicy flavor. It’s a dish that’s surprisingly hotter than anticipated, so be sure to have some tea on hand to complement the experience!

Photo of Spicy Tuna

“スパイシーツナ,” Spicy Tuna

Other options include “Salmon & Avocado,” combining rich, fatty salmon with creamy avocado, and unique offerings like “Cajun Chicken” and “Stewed Beef & Kimchi.”

Each hand-rolled sushi can be ordered individually, so when you find your favorite, feel free to order more!

Photo of Salmon & Avocado

“サーモンアボカド,” Salmon & Avocado

Photo of Stewed Beef & Kimchi

“牛キムチ,” Stewed Beef & Kimchi

Indulging in the luxurious delight of silky sea urchin hand rolls

Although Gonpachi NORI-TEMAKI prides itself on offering hand-rolled sushi in a casual setting, it also provides a selection of premium options. For those looking to indulge, these sea urchin hand rolls are highly recommended!

Photo of sea urchin hand rolls

(from left) “うに上トロ,” Sea Urchin & Prime Toro 1,320 JPY, “うにいくら,” Uni Ikura 990 JPY, and “うに牛しぐれ,” Sea Urchin & Stewed Beef” 990 JPY (all prices tax included)

Apart from the simple “Sea Urchin” roll, you can enjoy “Sea Urchin & Prime Toro,” “Sea Urchin & Salmon Roe,” and “Sea Urchin & Stewed Beef.” Each combination brings out a unique charm of sea urchin.

Photo of Sea Urchin & Stewed Beef

“うに牛しぐれ,” Sea Urchin & Stewed Beef

“Sea Urchin & Salmon Roe” is a delightful combination, pairing these prized ingredients sourced from Toyosu Market, the largest seafood market in the Tokyo area. The melt-in-your-mouth texture of the soy-marinated sea urchin paired with the popping sensation of the salmon roe creates a harmonious blend that instantly elevates the mood.

Photo of Sea Urchin & Salmon Roe

“うにいくら,” Sea Urchin & Salmon Roe

Experience the delightful “Sea Urchin & Stewed Beef,” a delectable duo of beef stewed in a sweet and spicy sauce with the luxurious taste of sea urchin. Just one bite of this sumptuous roll is enough to enchant your palate!

The “Sea Urchin & Prime Toro” is a culinary masterpiece, combining the rich flavors of top-quality toro with the delicate texture of sea urchin. This roll offers an exceptional melt-in-your-mouth experience.

Be sure to try both and explore the unique taste profiles of each exquisite sea urchin hand roll.

Gonpachi NORI-TEMAKI Harajuku, your Tokyo destination for delicious sushi, is more than just handrolls

Gonpachi NORI-TEMAKI also offers a low-carb option with cauliflower rice, a rice alternative popular among health-conscious celebrities in places like New York. The restaurant has developed a home-made version that pairs well with sushi toppings, offering a crunchy texture and a refreshing aftertaste.

Photo of Prime Toro (Cauliflower Rice)

“上トロ鉄火(カリフラワーライス),” Prime Toro (Cauliflower Rice) 605 JPY (tax included)

For an additional 55 JPY (tax included), any hand roll can be made with cauliflower rice, making it a great choice for those on a carb-restricted diet.

Photo of preparing cauliflower rice

Preparing cauliflower rice

Not just about hand rolls, the restaurant also boasts a rich selection of sake, including their Original Sake “Komurasaki” Noujun Junmai. This sake, with its rich flavor and sweetness, complements hand-rolled sushi perfectly. The variety of appetizers like edamame and fried chicken which pair perfectly with drinks also make it a haven for sake enthusiasts.

Photo of sake

Original Sake “Komurasaki” Noujun Junmai 90ml 440 JPY (tax included)

The restaurant’s dedication extends beyond food and drink. The interior, decorated in the theme of a “fusion of Japanese culture and modern design,” features a counter made of solid pine and walls decorated with doors and fusuma (sliding doors) from old Japanese houses, reflecting a deep commitment to design.

Photo of the interior

For those short on time, take-out is available, although the menu is slightly limited compared to dine-in options. Many customers enjoy these hand rolls as picnic lunches, especially with Yoyogi Park nearby.

Photo of the interior

Gonpachi NORI-TEMAKI is perfect for any occasion. As a hand-rolled sushi specialty store, a rarity in Japan, it offers the chance to enjoy authentic hand rolls like nowhere else. Indulge in this unique culinary experience to your heart’s content!

Photo of Bensky enjoying a meal


Store name 権八 NORI-TEMAKI 原宿
Gonpachi NORI-TEMAKI Harajuku
Address Co-op Olympia 1F, 6-35-3 Jingūmae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
Access Meiji-jingumae ‘Harajuku’ Station Short walk from Meiji-jingumae ‘Harajuku’ Station Exit 1
  • Tokyo Metro Chiyoda Line(C03)
  • Tokyo Metro Fukutoshin Line(F15)

Harajuku Station 2-minute walk from Harajuku Station East Exit
  • JR Yamanote Line(JY19)
Phone number 050-5443-1033
Reservations Not accepted
  • Cash not accepted
  • Credit cards(American Express・Diners・Discover・JCB・Master・UnionPay・VISA)
  • Transportation-related electronic money(Suica, etc.)
  • Electronic money(Apple Pay・iD・nanaco・QUICPay・Rakuten Edy・WAON)
  • QR code payment(Alipay+・au PAY・d Payment・Google Pay・J-Coin Pay・Merpay・PayPay・Rakuten Pay・WeChat Pay・UnionPay QR・Yucho Pay)
Service charge/Table charge None
Hours 11:30-23:00(last order: food 22:00 drinks 22:30)
Closed No holidays
Seating 30 counter seats
Smoking All seats are non-smoking
Official website
Other information
  • English menus are available
  • Allergy-friendly, vegan and vegeterian menus are available; halal menu is not available
  • Not wheelchair-accessible
  • Take-out and delivery service are available
  • Luggage storage space is available
  • Wi-Fi is available
  • Posting of food photos and videos on SNS is allowed
  • Separate billing is allowed

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