Star-stricken: Tokyo's famed Jiro sushi restaurant excluded from Michelin guide

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Wed, 27 Nov 2019 - 01:10 GMT

FILE PHOTO : Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe pours sake for U.S. President Barack Obama as they have dinner at the Sukiyabashi Jiro sushi restaurant in Tokyo, in this picture taken April 23, 2014, and released by Japan's Cabinet Public Relations Office

FILE PHOTO : Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe pours sake for U.S. President Barack Obama as they have dinner at the Sukiyabashi Jiro sushi restaurant in Tokyo, in this picture taken April 23, 2014, and released by Japan's Cabinet Public Relations Office

TOKYO (Reuters) - The tiny basement restaurant that hosted U.S. President Barack Obama and featured in the documentary “Jiro Dreams of Sushi” is not included in this year’s Michelin guide to Tokyo because it no longer accepts reservations from the general public.

Sukiyabashi Jiro Honten, the 10-seat counter restaurant run by the 94-year-old Jiro Ono, widely regarded as one of the world’s greatest sushi chefs, had held a three-star rating since Michelin published its first guide to Tokyo dining in 2007.

Along with another tiny three-star restaurant, Sushi Saito, Ono’s restaurant was not included in the 2020 guide because they no longer accept bookings from the general public, the Michelin Guide said in a statement.

Sukiyabashi Jiro Honten appears to have become the victim of its own renown, particularly among tourists. In the 2011 documentary about Ono and his establishment, the bespectacled chef describes how he massages octopus to make it tender before cooking.

The restaurant, in Tokyo’s upscale Ginza neighborhood, was established in 1965 by Ono who still works as a chef, along with his son. The 20-piece “omakase” tasting menu starts at 40,000 yen ($368) plus tax, not including drinks.

“It’s a shame. It is one of Ginza’s best-known restaurants and people from all over the world have visited,” said 59-year-old Yuko Ikeda, who was having lunch with her mother at another spot in Ginza.

“I think people visited because it had the three stars.”

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