Arriving at Sushi Gyoten for the first time feels a bit like slipping back in time. The weathered bamboo fence, carefully positioned ornamental rocks and narrow, stone-paved path curving out of sight: this could be the portal to some well-entrenched decades-old ryōtei (high-end traditional restaurant). In fact, you are about to dine at the counter of one of Fukuoka’s best and most in-demand young sushi masters.

In the dining room, the look is much the same: the lighting is muted; the packed mud walls and handcrafted accents would not be out of place in a tea ceremony cottage; and a beautiful strip of mottled bamboo runs the length of the counter in front of the open kitchen. You are a world away from the bright, crisply unadorned style of sushi restaurants so prevalent in Tokyo.

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