It’s called Uogashi Nihon-Ichi, but my friends and I just call it “that stand-up sushi bar” as there isn’t another in the area. I found this place about 3 years ago and I try to get here every time (sometimes every night) I am in Tokyo. I typically stay and eat in Shinjuku when I’m on business, and I have yet to find a better place for sushi.
As it is a stand-up sushi bar, I have no problem popping in and out for even just a couples pieces of nigiri. What I do (or at least did) have a problem with is finding the darn place. Right outside the west gate of Shinjuku Station is a delicious hash tag of side streets filled with restaurants, bars, and maybe a few pachinko parlors. It all looks the same and I always struggle to find it. Last year I managed to miss it as I walked around in circles for a very long time trying to remember even what it looks like. It’s small. It was raining and I told myself I was getting wet, it wouldn’t take long, I just needed to walk faster. I could feel the little streams gathering and rolling down my scalp as I stomped around through puddles with determination. In the end I just gave up and sat at a conveyor-belt sushi bar also in that neighborhood. Totally inferior.
To add insult to injury (and the beginning of a head cold) I found the place just half a block from the hotel I was staying at just that one time, right off the edge of the food area. It took that frustrating experience to finally imprint the location in my brain’s mapping app.
My favorite pieces are the “mayo” items, specifically the Ebi-Mayo: a piece of shrimp with a dollop of mayo on it set under the blowtorch for a few seconds to singe it and give it a slight smokiness. Delicious and a free show to boot.
They have a menu in English though it is pretty easy to just point along the glass. There is more under the glass than the menu shows, by the way. They also serve some hot green tea when you step inside to order and they also have beer available.
There are daily specials in Japanese on the board behind the itamae (sushi chef) who enters into the space through a small half door in the back wall (it’s fun to watch them back out of it). When I was there they were kind enough to point out the specials and make sure I understood which items they were.
Cash only, so bring some yen. 3/25/2014 Good news! They now take credit cards!
Here’s a map with a good street view of it.
From Shinjuku station take the Central West Gate out from the subterranean level and follow the underground walkway that heads west and go up the steps at Exit S2. (There are two of these underground walkways parallel to each other like a divided highway: one with the moving sidewalk heading west, the other with it coming at you (toward Shinjuku Station). I am referring to the one on your left if you are facing west (moving sidewalk heading west). Go up to street level at S2 and continue straight out the steps to the next street. Take a left there, walk just shy of two blocks, and it is on your right. Shinjuku Post Office and Aoki Men’s Plaza are right across the street from the sushi bar.