Sushi Kyotatsu inside Tokyo’s Narita International Airport

Sushi Kyotatsu between gate 32 and 34 inside Terminal 1 of Narita International Airport
Sushi Kyotatsu between gate 32 and 34 inside Terminal 1 of Narita International Airport

Sushi Kyotatsu is my go-to spot for sushi every time I find myself on a layover at Terminal 1 of Tokyo’s Narita International Airport. Delicious and fresh sushi in the most unlikely of places: the airport.

When I think of airport food, the last thing that comes to mind is sushi. But Sushi Kyotatsu is different. It’s good. I take that back, it’s great. It’s better than most of the sushi I have ever had.

Though pricey (you’re in an airport), it was worth every yen for the quality of the food received, which was comparable, or better, than anything you would find across Japan.

I’ve been stopping by Sushi Kyotatsu on layovers in Tokyo for a few years now. I accidentally stumbled upon the location on a trip to Seoul once and have been coming back ever since. I love that I can eat fresh sushi in Japan without stepping foot outside of the airport.

If in a rush, Sushi Kyotatsu offers takeaway sushi and bento at the front entrance.

If you are looking for more information about Tokyo and Japan, I highly recommend you pick up a guidebook such as Lonely Planet Best of Tokyo 2020

Best. Goddamn. Airport. Meal. Ever. #Narita #Gate34 outrageous!

A photo posted by anthonybourdain (@anthonybourdain) on

Relatively unknown in the past, Sushi Kyotatsu has recently become popular with travelers passing through Narita International Airport after Anthony Bourdain posted a photo on Instagram claiming that the sushi was the “Best. Goddamn. Airport. Meal. Ever.”

Interior of Sushi Kyotatsu

Sushi bar
Sushi bar
Small dining room with counter seating
Small dining room with counter seating
Views of planes on the tarmac from the restaurant
Views of planes on the tarmac from the restaurant

The restaurant’s interior was simple, casual, and comfortable, with warm wooden paneling and natural light. The decor was comparable to any sushi restaurant you might find in Tokyo.

On the right was a small sushi bar tended by a small team of busy sushi chefs. These chefs worked quickly and meticulously, slicing and plating fresh seafood.

Around the corner to the left was a small dining area with a few tables and a row of seats lined up against a large window that faced out towards the airport tarmac.

I try to sit in the seats near the window each time I visit. I just love watching planes move around the airport, especially while having a cold beer and eating delicious sushi.

Nigiri Miyako

Nigiri Miyako
Nigiri Miyako

To get a good taste of a wide variety of sushi, I recommend going with the Nigiri Miyako (¥3500 or about $22.70).

The exact sushi lineup used in the Nigiri Miyako varies daily depending on which fish is available and what is in season. All seafood arrives fresh directly from Tsukiji Fish Market, the world’s biggest fish and seafood market. If you have some time to visit Tokyo, be sure to stop by this must-see sight.

On my visit, my set included tuna belly (toro), sweet shrimp (amaebi), salmon roe (ikura gunkan), eel (unagi), omlette (tamagoyaki), and more.

You might not know the term nigiri, but you probably already know what it is if you eat sushi. Nigiri is hand-formed sushi with a cut of raw fish placed over vinegared rice. Most people are more familiar with makizushi, or rolled sushi, which is extremely popular outside of Japan, including America.

A well-trained sushi chef meticulously hand-crafted each piece of nigiri. First, the chef molded the rice into a perfect oblong shape. Then, he added a touch of wasabi to the top of the rice. Finally, he placed a piece of fresh raw fish on top.

Each piece was indescribably fresh and delicious, unsurprising since the seafood came fresh from the fish market earlier in the day.

I ate each piece ever so slowly, being sure to savor each flavor and texture of every single heavenly bite.

Sushi Rice

It might sound surprising, but rice is just as important as the fish. Cooking rice is an art form that takes many years to perfect.

The slightly warm rice was perfect. Thanks to adding rice vinegar, the rice took on a different shade of white while giving it an extra dimension of flavor.

Each piece had the right amount of wasabi. The wasabi, much higher quality than expected, added a perfect kick of heat to each bite.

Nothing else was needed except possibly a little touch of soy sauce. The flavors, the textures, the rice, the fresh seafood. All were masterfully prepared and presented. Did you forget that you are sitting in an airport?

Various Nigiri

Instead of trying to review every piece of nigiri I tried, I will describe which pieces stood out:

Sweet shrimp (Amaebi): absolutely divine. Perfection in one bite. I ended up ordering more (check out the review below)

Salmon roe (Ikura Gukan): The roe was extremely fresh. The flavor of each bite of the roe exploded with fresh, slightly salty flavors of the sea.

Eel (Unagi): Eel nigiri has always been a favorite of mine. One bite hits all the right spots: sweet, salty, spicy, and savory.

Omelette (Tamagoyaki): For something so simple, I was impressed. The omelette was crispy and fried on the outside while fluffy on the inside.

Sweet Shrimp (Amaebi)

Sweet shrimp nigiri
Sweet shrimp nigiri

After sampling the Nigiri Miyako, I knew I needed another fix of the Sweet Shrimp (‎¥450 per piece or about $4.13 each).


The shrimp was sweet, salty, flavorful, and oh so tender. With each bite, the shrimp literally melted in my mouth in an almost divine way. It’s something you need to experience for yourself.

The sweet shrimp is worth traveling to Japan for.


The service was quick, friendly, and highly efficient. Fast service was a must at an airport where I needed to make a connection. I received my items within a few minutes each time I placed an order.

When you want to place an order, grab the attention of any server walking around. They usually will not interrupt you if you don’t get their attention. While this might seem strange in America, this is common in Japan.


Could Sushi Kyotatsu be the best airport sushi restaurant in the world? Could it be the best airport restaurant in the world?

I want to think so. Anthony Bourdain was right. Sushi Kyotatsu is the best, damn, airport meal ever.

If you have a layover at Narita Airport and love great sushi or food in general, you must stop by Sushi Kyotatsu.


  • Amazingly fresh seafood that comes direct from the Tsukiji Fish Market
  • Quite possibly the best airport meal in the world
  • Quick and friendly service
  • Sushi to go


  • Pricey, but hey, you are in an airport
  • You would have to fly to Japan to try it out (worth it)


Daily: 8:30AM-8:30PM (last order at 8:30PM)


Terminal 1, No.3 Satellite, 3rd Floor
Between Gate 33 and Gate 34
GPS Coordinates: 35.761649,140.384861


Last Updated on April 17, 2024