The best sushi we’ve ever eaten

Zen Sushi.
The best sushi we’ve ever had.

Hidden down a road, a little ways from the main port of Nishinoshima, is a tiny sushi restaurant.

From the outside, it doesn’t look like much. Approaching the front of the establishment, you can even see the owner’s laundry hanging to dry in the upstairs window. But inside, Zen Sushi will amaze you.

A little mom and pop establishment, the owners prepare fresh sushi made with fish caught in the waters of the Oki Islands. Peering through the front windows, you can enjoy views of the turquoise waters that these fish call home.

The sushi we ate here is hands down the best sushi we’ve ever eaten. Here are a few photos of the wonderful food we enjoyed:

Zen Chirashi-zushi (ちらし寿司)
The house special chirashi-zushi.
Think of this as deconstructed sushi. It’s a bowl of seasoned rice topped with sashimi and other garnishes.
Beautiful!
The brightly colored spheres are ikura, salmon roe.
Onigiri with the perfect amount of wasabi. Just enough to give you a bit of a kick, but not so much that it overwhelms your palette. Delicious!
What I love most about sushi is the freshness of the dish. (Traditionally) it isn’t smothered in sweet sauces or doused in spices like many western dishes. When eating sushi, you are able to taste each ingredient. The vinegar of the rice, the saltiness of the fish, and the kick of the wasabi. So simple. So pure. So deceivingly difficult to get right.
Mozuku, a type of stringy, slimy Japanese seaweed. It’s flavored with vinegar to give it some extra slimy goodness. One of our friends told us that last year, the mozoku didn’t grow well, but this year there are tons of it. We’ve already encountered it twice while eating at restaurants on the islands.
An interesting design on the barrier separating the two tatami dining areas.
Beautiful Nishinoshima.
Waiting to take the boat.
The perfect end to a great day: tiramisu ice cream on the boat back to Chibu.
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