The founder of Sushi Aoki, Yoshi Aoki (the father of the current chef), trained at the famous traditional sushi restaurant Nakata in Tokyo’s fashionable Ginza district, and in 1972 opened his own restaurant in the Kiyamachi neighborhood of Kyoto, naming it “Nakata” after his master’s restaurant.
That was the start of the Sushi Aoki story. In 1986 Yoshi Aoki returned to Tokyo and opened a restaurant in the Kojimachi area, this time renaming it “Sushi Aoki.”
At that time, his son Toshikatsu Aoki had graduated from Nippon Sport Science University and was studying abroad in America. Upon returning to Japan he began his apprenticeship at the highly-regarded Yoshino sushi restaurant in Kyobashi, not far from Ginza in Tokyo.
In 1992, Sushi Aoki moved to its present location in Ginza on Nishi-gobangai Street (sometimes called “West Fifth Avenue”).
Just one year after fulfilling his dream of having his own sushi counter in Ginza, Yoshi Aoki passed away suddenly, and Toshikatsu at age 29 took over operation of the restaurant.
In 2007 he founded the nishi-azabu/roppongi location, expanding his staff, and at around the same time many of the young sushi chefs Toshikatsu had trained began to open their own restaurants.
In 2016 the Ginza location was renovated, and Toshikatsu took advantage of the opportunity to fulfill one of his father’s dreams of building a sushi counter into a private room for guests to enjoy. Later that same year, he joined forces with chefs of various cuisines to start Project Blue Tree, exploring the next generation of sushi.
At a time when the number of young people in Japan to inherit our traditional cuisine, including sushi, seem to be dwindling, chefs like Toshikatsu Aoki are working to raise its level on the world stage.