One of the best things about living in Hokkaido is the availability of fresh seafood–not just in the restaurants, but at the local grocery stores, as well. Most of the seafood is caught that day and then transported to the surrounding areas.
I love this about Hokkaido–so much so that I’ve quite a sushi and seafood snob. I don’t usually eat sushi in other parts of Japan because I am usually disappointed in the portions and the quality. I really think there’s a difference. Once you live in Hokkaido and experience the best seafood, there’s really nothing to compare.
For comparison, local Hokkaido sushi train restaurants usually come in big portions while the one below was in Kyoto, close to the station. See how small that is!
Our local kaiten sushi restaurant is Ginjiro (回転寿し 銀次郎). Link is to the Japanese menu; sorry, no English available.
For those that don’t know, kaiten sushi is revolving/conveyer belt/sushi train. I don’t really know which one to use as I’ve seen many sites use all of the above terms.
In any case, Ginjiro serves really delicious sushi.
So delicious that we go almost every two weeks. I know my husband would love to go every week, but we usually eat so much that I don’t think our waistlines would survive it. Here’s usually what the aftermath looks like:
The staff there are really friendly and they know us so well that we’re always greeted with “Thanks for coming all the time!” each time we walk into the shop. (In Japanese: いつも来てくれてありがと!) It used to be embarrassing in the beginning, but I’ve gotten over it because I love their sushi.
The neta, or the fish/seafood topping, is almost always fresh and bigger than what you would get in other parts of Honshu. Prices are also reasonable, with the cheapest plates starting at ¥125 and the most expensive at ¥480. They serve beer on tap and sake. Kids under 6-years-old can drink for free.
There are also side dishes like fried chicken, zangi, in the local dialect. Their fried squid is really good. They also serve desserts like soft-serve ice cream and some fresh seasonal fruits like pineapple and melon. Their soups are also very good. I recommend the shellfish or the shrimp miso soup.
Their green tea has genmai in it, which is roasted rice, so it tastes a little bit different from other restaurants. I like genmai, though, so I enjoy it as much as the food.
Usually, the staff already know our favorites, so I feel like they don’t even need to ask us what we want to order. But, I always take the menu with the seasonal specials or chef’s recommendations, anyway–just in case I decide to order something different than my usual favorites. Like:
- Aburi o-toro salmon, Grilled Fatty Salmon with Salt and Black Pepper
2. Hamachi, or Yellow tail jack fish
3. Salmon oya-ko (salmon with roe)
4. Kani-sarada, crab salad
5. Uni, not always, but I’ll splurge sometimes
6. Or Unagi, roasted eel
And finally, for dessert, ichigo anin-dofu, or almond “pudding” with strawberry topping
I have to rave about Ginjiro because it’s our local one and it’s not very famous–at least not as famous as the other Hokkaido chains like Hanamaru, Nagoyakatei, or Toriton in Sapporo. These sushi chains are Hokkaido chains–you won’t usually get them in other parts of Japan. They are proudly owned and operated mainly in Sapporo and the other major cities of Hokkaido.
Ginjiro’s main branch is in Sapporo’s Shinoro area in the North Ward, but ours one opened in 2015. Before that, it was Toppi, but that chain closed. We often went to that one as well. The staff remained the same, but the store just re-branded into the new one.
I am just so glad we get to eat at this place all the time.