Teruzushi: A Fukuoka Sushi Sensation
With a pinch of wit and culinary mastery, sushi chef Takayoshi Watanabe is attracting visitors from across Japan and the world to his now famous sushi restaurant
Located in the small-town ward of Tobata in Kitakyushu, Kyushu island's northernmost city, Teruzushi is a local sushi restaurant with fifty years of history across three generations of sushi chefs. Until its current chef, Takayoshi Watanabe, took over the business, however, Teruzushi was a humble local restaurant. In Watanabe's hands, his restaurant and its sushi have found global fame, which has taken this beloved sushi chef all around the world. Gourmands and foodies from across Japan, and far beyond, make the trip to the quiet town of Tobata to sample what is quickly becoming one of Japan's most significant sushi sensations.
A restaurant of such international acclaim doesn't get that way by providing food that is anything less than completely unique and outstanding. From its ingredients to its preparation and presentation, the sushi on offer at Teruzushi is like nothing else.
Watanabe's most celebrated original dish is what he calls "the unagi burger": charcoal-grilled eel, wrapped around rice, sealed with fresh and crisp nori. This signature delicacy has become a favorite of diners who visit Teruzushi. Watanabe has also created a dish that has been dubbed "Little Bird." This is a mackerel sushi that has been carefully split and rested atop vinegared rice to create a warbler's image.
As for his ingredients, Watanabe sources almost all of them locally from the seas surrounding Kyushu, such as his fresh blue crab, which is fished from the nearby ocean. He also uses his masterful skills to slice up squid into incredibly thin, fine strips of meat. Other local ingredients for Teruzushi's sushi menu include surf clams and tiger prawns. To get the finest ingredients, Watanabe makes a daily early-morning trip to the local fish market to ensure his daily meals are consistently fresh.
What sets Teruzushi and Watanabe himself apart from the rest is, in part, his unique approach to creating signature dishes. But it is also Watanabe himself: a man who has created an entertaining public image through his behavior as a chef, his website, and his social media presence. People love Watanabe the man as much as they love Watanabe the chef and his unparalleled cuisine.
What makes Watanabe such a rising celebrity in the world of sushi is his own personality and how he pairs it with the outstanding food he prepares every day. A lifelong and accomplished student of the judo martial art, Watanabe has an impressive frame that pairs with his enthusiastic tone to create a uniquely lively environment. On top of that, it is Watanabe's custom to present each freshly-made piece of signature sushi to diners by balancing the sushi on the middle two fingers of his left hand and stretching it out for them to take it.
One look at Watanabe's social media pages, especially his Instagram, and you can see how he has cleverly incorporated that signature presentation into his look and style. This stretching out of his left hand has become a recognizable pose which he often strikes for photos. It has even been immortalized on a t-shirt which you can purchase from his shop.
This is something else that Watanabe has done to raise the profile of Teruzushi's brand: the restaurant has its own online store that sells an original t-shirt (modeled by Watanabe himself) and cooking tools such as a wasabi grater and an octopus knife. Watanabe's blend of personality, aesthetics, and branding has mixed perfectly with his signature dishes, passion, and dedication to make Teruzushi something of a sushi sensation in Japan and beyond.
As for Watanabe himself, he inherited Teruzushi from his father and represents the third generation of Teruzushi chefs. He didn't simply inherit the restaurant, however. Watanabe spent most of his childhood studying judo, before working in the kitchen of a local restaurant and finding his own love for cooking and food preparation. Once back home in Kyushu, he built relationships with local fishmongers, relationships which have helped Teruzushi, under Watanabe's hand, reach new heights.
Watanabe is also a voracious traveler. His renown as a sushi chef has taken him across Europe, East Asia, and the United States. The world is open to him and he is bringing Teruzushi to the world.
Thanks to his father's and grandparents' legacy, a thirst for adventure, a martial arts approach to focus and dedication, and a creative flair for preparing sushi and building a personal brand, Takayoshi Watanabe has built a small empire that the whole world will soon know as Teruzushi.
Address: 3-1-7 Sugawara, Tobata, Kitakyushu, Fukuoka Prefecture
Open: To prevent the spread of Covid-19, Teruzushi is currently operating on two sessions a night-style in addition to lunch time. Daytime — From 12 pm, Nighttime — first seating from 17:30, the second from 20:15. Irregular holidays.
※Please check the reservation site for details
Tel: +81-90-9567-2202 （Booking confirmation only.）