Getting listed in the Michelin Guide instantly confers a certain cachet on restaurants, so the news that one highly-acclaimed Japanese sushi restaurant has lost its three stars has raised some eyebrows. After all, Sukiyabashi Jiro in Tokyo is considered by many to be the world’s most famous sushi restaurant, and when he was president of the US in 2014, Barack Obama dined there with Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe, and reportedly said he had enjoyed the best sushi he had ever tasted.

Barack Obama and Japanese prime minister Japanese outside a Japanese sushi restaurant
Barack Obama with Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe outside Sukiyabashi Jiro © Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

The restaurant is run by by acclaimed 93-year-old sushi chef, Jiro Ono, and his eldest son, Yoshikazu, and it is located in a subway station in the city’s Ginza district. The reason the famous sushi restaurant has been dropped from the 2020 guide is because it no longer accepts public reservations. It can only take 10 guests at a time, and in order to get a table, diners must be regulars, have special connections or book through a top hotel.

Jiro Ono of Sukiyabashi Jiro with Michelin director Jean-Luc Naret
Jiro Ono of Sukiyabashi Jiro being introduced during a presentation of the 2009 Michelin Guide Tokyo © Yoshikazu Tsuno/AFP via Getty Images

Another sushi restaurant that received three stars in the 2019 guide, Sushi Saito, was also dropped because it is not open to the public. According to Michelin, its policy is to include restaurants where everybody can go to eat, and the fact that people can't make a reservation places both restaurants outside the scope of its guide. 

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