Okinawa’s Waryu Sushi Shuna offers a high-quality sushi experience at affordable prices

Okinawa’s Waryu Sushi Shuna offers a high-quality sushi experience at affordable prices

by Aya Ichihashi
Stripes Okinawa

In Japan, sitting at a sushi counter and ordering directly from the chef is considered a luxurious treat reserved for special occasions. Dinners at high-end sushi restaurants throughout the country can easily set diners back 10,000 yen (about $95) or more.

Finding quality sushi is especially challenging for anyone living on Okinawa. The island is far from Tokyo’s famous fish markets, and the warmer ocean waters around Okinawa mean that certain types of fish commonly used for sushi aren’t readily available. As a result, “budget-conscious” and “good sushi” don’t really go hand-in-hand on Okinawa — but that all changed when I found Waryu Sushi Shuna, where I now go to calm my sushi cravings.

Located inside Okinawa’s Grand Mer Resort, Waryu Sushi Shuna offers ample counter seating — which means diners can experience an authentic sushi experience by ordering directly from the chef. The restaurant’s head chef, Kazuhiro Takahashi, is friendly and relies on his experience working in Tokyo to create deliciously impressive sushi. Takahashi specializes in Edomae, or “Edo style” sushi, which focuses on presenting high-quality ingredients in a simple, no-frills style that heightens the flavors of the fish. You’ve probably had Edomae sushi without even knowing it, as the style is most commonly referred to as “nigiri” abroad.

During lunch, the restaurant only offers an all-you-can-eat buffet plan, starting at 1,980 yen (or about $17.50) for adults. For the truly authentic sushi dining experience, be sure to visit at dinner, as this is when the restaurant offers counter seating for sushi diners.

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