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Coming out in Ghibli? Japan’s oldest sushi restaurant in Nara “Tsurubesushi Yasuke”

The name appears in the “Sushiya no Dan” of the Maiki performance “Yoshitsune Senbonzakura”, “Tsurubesushi Yasuke”. In fact, it still exists in Yoshino, Nara Prefecture. It is a sushi restaurant that is a hot topic among gourmets as a building that feels like the good old days that are likely to be the setting for Ghibli anime, and a restaurant where you can enjoy ayu no-nare sushi. I would like to introduce you to such a sushi restaurant full of history.

cherry blossam

Mt. Yoshino, which is well known for its thousand cherry blossoms, is a place where tourists from all over the country come to see the beautiful flowers during the cherry blossom season. Located in Shimoichi Town, which is the starting point for access to Mt. Yoshino, is the “Tsurubesushi Yasuke” introduced this time.


What kind of store is “Tsurubesushi Yasuke”?

Japan’s oldest sushi restaurant

The name of the Kabuki performance is “Tsurubesushi Yasuke”. Founded in the Bunji period (1185-1189), it is a long-established store that has already been around for more than 800 years. Few locals may know that there is such a historic sushi restaurant in Nara Prefecture.

A building with an atmosphere that looks like it will appear in a Ghibli anime. It was once caught by fire and rebuilt in Showa 14 (1939). The snowy landscape also looks good.

Quaint entrance entrance. Maybe it’s a super high-class sushi restaurant? It seems to be hesitant, but that’s not the case. First of all, please go inside.

A space that makes you feel as if you have traveled back in time

Although it is made of wood, it is a building with three floors, a style that was common in the past. The atmosphere of the old days remains as if you have traveled back in time.

The corridors and stairs along the way are polished to the point of glowing black.
The feeling that we have carefully spun history
It seemed to be oozing

When I entered the room with the thought of correcting the collar
First of all, you will be fascinated by the beauty of the courtyard
Like the room, it is well-maintained and dignified.
Source: “A Shop that Weaves History” by Happy Clown : Yasuke Tsurubesushi – Shimoichi Exit / Sushi [Tabelog]

Looking out the window from the hall, you can see a pleasant scenery with trees spreading out … The view of the natural scenery from the Japanese-style room seems to make you feel relaxed.

Ayu nore sushi is a specialty

In Nara Prefecture, where there is no sea, fish has long been eaten as pressed sushi (also called nare sushi) that lasts for a long time when fish is available.

“Tsurubesushi” is made from the pressed sushi in a fishing bottle-shaped wooden barrel as shown in the photo. This tub type is no longer used, but when you look at this tool, you can feel the wisdom and gourmet spirit of the people of the past.

What kind of menu is there?

Japan's oldest sushi
Japan’s oldest sushi

“Tsurubesushi Yasuke” is a long-established shop visited by celebrities such as Eiji Yoshikawa, Junichiro Tanizaki, and Hibari Misora. Let’s enjoy the taste that such people have enjoyed.

The set meals for lunch are 2,700 yen and 3,900 yen. In addition, there is a course of “kaiseki cuisine” for 6,000 yen ~. It is recommended for lunch or dinner with friends and loved ones. Let’s taste it with local Yoshino local sake.

Japan's oldest sushi
Japan’s oldest sushi

The restaurant’s best picks are “Ayu Sushi” and “Grilled Ayu Sansho Sushi”. The two types of Nare sushi that take advantage of the delicate flavor unique to ayu go perfectly with the softly cooked vinegar meshi! So much so that you can’t help but say, “It’s delicious!”

Especially popular with visitors here is the “Shoayu Sansho Sushi”. Many people admire the sushi seasoned with sansho!

What surprised me was the sansho sushi. This is so delicious! !! The rich aroma of sansho pepper is not very tangy, and the aroma is a wonderful dish. This can’t be helped by the progress of the drinking.
Source: “[Tsurubesushi Yasuke] 800-year-old Ayu Sushi Restaurant” by Patapa Patago Nia : Tsurubesushi Yasuke – Shimoichiguchi / Sushi [Tabelog]

“Ayu simmered vinegar miso” and “edamame and karasumi” of “Sakitsuke”, etc. A dish where you can feel the ingenuity in the selection of ingredients and seasoning. During the course meal, you can also enjoy looking at the tableware used.

“Grilled ayu” is served only during the ayu fishing season (June ~). The ayu that can be chewed round is just the right amount of salt, and it is delicious enough to eat from head to tail. During the ayu season, “ayu sashimi” also appears.

By the time you eat dessert, your stomach and heart will be satisfied with the delicious course of food.

I want to know more about “Tsurubesushi Yasuke”!

After enjoying a delicious meal, pay attention to the various corners of the restaurant. Goods that make you feel the history of 800 years since its founding are displayed here and there in the store. It looks like a bit of a history museum.

As I introduced earlier, it depicts how to make fishing bottle sushi. If you think that there is a taste that has been handed down for a long time, it is worth eating.

After the visit of Eiji Yoshikawa, a historical novelist known for “Miyamoto Musashi” and others. He came to the restaurant in Showa 30 and enjoyed ayu cuisine. At that time, the phrase I chanted was, “I think he is a man who wears a yukata and looks like Gonta.” This monument is decorated, so please take a look.

A sacred place for Kabuki fans

As I told you from the outline, this is a restaurant that appears in the “Sushiya no Dan” of the popular Kabuki performance “Yoshitsune Senbonzakura”. This protagonist is “Gonta”. The “gonta” that Eiji Yoshikawa puts in his phrase refers to this gonta.

“Tsurubesushi Yasuke” appears in the story at a sushi restaurant called “Tsurubi Sushi”. He was defeated in the Battle of Genpei and went missing. In search of Wei Sheng, his wife and son arrive at this sushi restaurant. There, the owner of the sushi restaurant, Yazaemon, was hiding and working under the name of Yasuke.

The main character, Gonta, has a pretty personality, doing bad things to Weimori’s wives while looking for Weimori and giving money to his sister. However, this Gonta is converted and rescues Weimori, who is being chased by Genji in a surprising way. However, Gonta is a story with a sad end.

The hall is decorated with historical items and calligraphy.
During the Keio years, many signs of worship “Goupari Sushi Sho” and books by famous people were displayed from the Sento Imperial Palace.
In the residence, you can see the Weimori mound, the Osato Kurokami mound, and the monument of Eiji Yoshikawa.
It also appears in Tanizaki Junichiro’s work Yoshino Kuzu.
Source: “Nara Yoshino|Japan Oldest Sushi Place is a Folklore Alternate World, Also Appears in Kabuki Yoshitsune Senbonzakura” by Albos : Tsurubesushi Yasuke – Shimoichiguchi / Sushi [Tabelog]

If you know such a story first, you will enjoy the store even more.

How to get there? Do I need to make a reservation?

15~20 minutes on foot from Kintetsu Shimoichiguchi Station. As you walk slowly, you will see a vermilion building with a unique appearance. That is “Tsurubesushi Yasuke”. Meals are basically reservation-aware.

“I want to go again!”

People who visit once will definitely want to go again. Not only is the food delicious, but the customer service of the owner and staff and the comfort of the store are also the reasons for its popularity. Please stop by for sightseeing in Gojo City and on the way to and from Yoshino.

5 pieces of sushi and wasabi

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