Sushi bar near Camp Zama a great catch
For those of you working on or visiting Camp Zama and are on the lookout for a sushi restaurant that serves delicious food at a reasonable price, Totoyamichi is a good place to check out.
Only a seven-minute walk from Camp Zama’s main gate, the eatery is very popular among U.S. service members on the base.
“We always get our seafood from local fish markets in Japan, so our sushi is safe and fresh,” said the restaurant’s manager, Yoshihisa Kawashima. “So, I would like to encourage even more U.S. service members to visit us to enjoy tasty Japanese sushi dishes.”
The shop’s spacious, clean and bright interior made me feel like I was in cozy western-style restaurant, not a traditional Japanese sushi bar. Long counter bars along with seven large booths can accommodate about 80 customers. So even if you have a large family and small children there’s plenty of room and everyone is welcome, Kawashima said.
During my visit, there were three chefs making sushi behind the bar counter. It’s fun to watch them quickly make the sushi and place it on saucers. You can either pick up a saucer from the revolving conveyer belt, or you speak up and ask one of the chefs to make you something.
If you don’t speak Japanese, don’t worry. Totoyamichi has English menus and some of the staff speaks English. And remember, you can always point.
The menu is filled with virtually any kind of hand-shaped and rolled sushi, sashimi (raw fish) and various a-la-carte fish dishes. But, in case you are not a fan of raw fish, the restaurant also serves boiled seafood, tempura, noodles and sweets. I’m sure you can find something to enjoy.
Kawashima was quick to point out that the restaurant updates its seasonal menu 8 times a year. “Because of this,” he said, “I believe that you can enjoy the tastiest fish and food in season anytime you visit us.”
You can enjoy some of the restaurant’s most popular sushi during lunchtime (11 a.m. – 3 p.m.). And the price is right.
I visited the restaurant around 11:30 a.m. and ordered the Manzoku (which means to satisfy) Lunch Set. For 890 yen, I was served 10 hand-shaped sushi including tuna, squid, salmon, shrimp, scallop, horse mackerel, egg and minced tuna roll. I was also given a salad and miso soup. And for all you miso soup fans, part of the lunch special includes free refills on miso soup. You can have much as you want.
I really enjoyed my sushi because it was fresh and tasty, just as Kawashima promised.
Although I was very full, I could not resist Kawashima’s recommendation to yellowtail for 260 yen. “Yellowtail in this cold season tastes best because it’s loaded with fat. You would miss something important if you would leave without tasting that,” he told me with a serious smile.
I ordered the yellowtail.
You may think soy sauce is the only thing to dip sushi into. But you’re wrong. Squid or white-meat fish, such as yellowtail, red sea bream and flatfish, are quite tasty with rock salt and green citrus fruit. At Kawashima’s urging, I gave the rock salt and citrus a try. He was right again. It was delicious.
I actually tried both soy sauce and salt for my yellowtail and noticed that soy sauce made the fatty yellowtail even richer and sweeter, while rock salt just added rather decent and profound flavor. You can enjoy sushi anyway you want at Totoyamichi.
“Ask us anything,” Kawashima said. “We’ll be more than happy to give you advice on sushi, seasonal seafood and how to appreciate them.”
Drop by this casual and cozy sushi restaurant by yourself or with family and friends. If you do, I am sure that you will find yourself going back for more.
Open: 11 a.m.-11 p.m.
Location: 1-32-22 Sobudai, Zama City, Kanagawa Prefecture
URL (in Japanese): www.skylark.co.jp/totoyamichi/
• Parking lot will accommodate 20 cars