Japan 113 – Kyoto Saba Sushi (鯖寿司) @ Izuu ( いづう)

Kyoto’s Saba sushi (鯖寿司) is a must try as it is unique in Kyoto. Saba sushi is a lightly pickled mackerel sushi. Back in the old days before the invention of refrigeration and modern day transportation, Kyoto didn’t have much access to fresh fish, therefore the people of Kyoto including the emperor had to eat salted or dried fish that could make the journey from the Japan Sea to the old capital. I found this quaint little sushi joint hidden in the alley of Gion, Izuu (京都 いづう) which was apparently has more than two hundred years of history since founding in 1781.
This restaurant was very small with only a handful of tables. We were the only foreigners there and the local Japanese were curious, asking us how this Saba sushi fared compared to the mainstream popular fresh sushi. The menu was limited so we went for the signature Saba sushi (¥2,205) , Hamo sushi (¥7,245) and the Kyoto sushi platter (¥3,360). To be honest, the 1st bite of the Saba sushi was very different (funny?) from the normal sushi that we had grown accustomed to as all the meat were pickled and heavily flavoured, hence there were no soy sauce nor wasabi needed (not available in restaurant anyway) unlike the fresh meat sushi. The Hamo sushi and the Kyoto sushi platter were also very tasty on their own and mind you, the portions were big and generous. It was definitely a different taste to the usual commercialised Japanese cuisine outside of Japan, and I quite liked it because it’s uniquely Kyoto… 

Some sample sushi
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English Menu
Signature Saba Sushi
Hamo Sushi
Kyoto Sushi Platter
Inside the small restaurant
The small sushi joint in Gion

Address:〒605-0084 京都府京都市東山区八坂新地清本町367
Business Hour: Monday, Wednesday – Saturday 1100 – 2300;
Sunday and Public Holiday 1100 – 2200
Closed on Tuesday
Tel: +81-75-561-0751 
For my other posts on Japan, please click here.

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