- 3 min read

Ikko Restaurant in Saijo

Fresh fish, amazing atmosphere: a classic Japanese experience

UPDATE: This restaurant has unfortunately closed since this article was published.

If you're looking for reasonably priced sashimi, and you would rather opt out of a low-quality conveyor belt chain, then there is no further place to go than Ikko. Not to say that they don't have cooked fish options as well, in fact, this place has more variety of fish and preparations than most seafood restaurants. For just 1,200 yen, you can obtain a delicious Sashimi Set, served with the finest of vegetable sides, the obligatory miso, and a variety of smaller offerings. You can also order dozens of single plates with your choice of fish. Get ready to be completely satisfied.

As you enter, you are greeted with a warm atmosphere and smiling staff. The seating, booth or bar, is arranged around a pool in the middle of the restaurant. Nearly all of what you see on the menu is alive on arrival, so you know that it's not a pre-frozen dish. Light shamisen music is often playing, and the walls are covered with local paintings. There is an elegant feeling to the place, and that is what makes the price so surprising. For all of the presentation, freshness, decor, and quality of seafood you receive, the price is a bargain. This is the kind of restaurant to bring friends to show your good taste and to show them a good time. Anniversaries, going away parties, congratulatory dinners, and business gatherings are all well suited for this exquisite dining experience. This is the first choice of mine for hosting out of town guests. Or, of course, if you just want a night out to treat yourself. They have mugs of beer that come in all sizes, local sake, and standard popular drink items.

One of the good, and bad, aspects of Ikko is its authentic Japanese feel. Being in the countryside, the building itself has a warmth and character all its own. On the other hand, don't expect any of the staff to understand English. Also, if you don't like seafood, other meat options are extremely limited. The only gripe to be had at Ikko is timing. We often receive our meals at wildly different times, so much so that waiting (due to the nature of fresh sashimi) isn't a very good option. I had finished my meal before the other guests had even received theirs, and I waited 10 minutes to get started. Further, after all the meals came, the starter salad finally arrived. Despite this, for all of the reasons above, this is my top recommendation for a nice dinner out in Saijo.

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