Just 15 minutes on foot from JR Hakata Station in the direction of Gofukumachi, on Reisen Street, is the sushi shop "Sushi Taro". The owner-chef, Taro Fujii's decision to open his restaurant some distance away from Fukuoka's most bustling district, Nakasu, came from his desire to select a place accessible to the many guests who visit from outside of Fukuoka Prefecture without taking a taxi through a crowded area.
An unusual sushi chef who originally "couldn't taste fish as something delicious," Taro started the training in Spain in 2000. He apprenticed for three years at the sushi counter at Yashima, a restaurant at a Barcelona hotel. "The first time I had fish and thought it was delicious was when I tried the sushi prepared by the head sushi chef there," he remembers. "That was a turning point in my life." Deeply impressed by how the head chef dealt with difficulty in procuring the desired ingredients by continuously researching and coming up with new and ingenious solutions, he decided to set out on the path of the sushi chef himself. After returning to Japan, he built a foundation of experience at restaurants in Fukuoka before opening his shop, "Sushi Taro," named after himself, in 2013. A mere 10 months after opening, the restaurant was awarded a star in a worldwide gourmet guide. Since then, it has continued to gain in popularity, with regulars praising its nonstop evolution, and has become a lasting favorite of many guests.
Taro carries on the selectiveness of his former master while choosing ingredients sourced from all over Japan flexibly and without prejudice, creatively innovating to bring out their flavors as sushi components. His vinegar is made from a base of red vinegar and is a blend of five components including rice vinegar. Each sushi dish features one of two kinds of vinegared rice, selected to match the fattiness and maturity of the fish. Sannoesshu Junmai Ginjo sake from Niigata is available in the spring and summer, while Gunma Izumi Junmai sake, also excellent when served warm, is available in the autumn and winter. Over 20 selections are also available year-round, including Hoken from Hiroshima, Suminoe from Miyagi and Sawaya Matsumoto from Kyoto. Even the water used for chasers is high in quality, coming from a natural spring 1,000 meters under Fukuoka's Mt. Tachibana.
The interior of the venue features a calm, low-lit atmosphere and a modern, warm wood-based design, made with wood from the same artisans who build the floats used in the Hakata Gion Yamakasa, a traditional festival. The eye-catching ginkgo-wood counter seats eight. According to Taro, "It is important that guests are able to sit back, relax and enjoy" his carefully-crafted sushi in a high-quality atmosphere. The venue is perfect for everything from business outings to family and couple dining, and with English-speaking staff on duty, even guests from overseas can dine worry-free.
*The availability of this webpage does not guarantee that the restaurant presented provides services in English unless otherwise stated. Please be aware that English services may also depend on staff availability at the restaurant.
A 5-minute walk from Gion Station, Exit 1(Fukuoka Municipal Subway Airport Line)