Entrance to a sushi restaurant


It doesn't take many specialized utensils to prepare sushi and most of them are inexpensive. A wooden bowl and paddle to cool the rice, a mat to make rolls, a grater, and a knife are sufficient.



Maki su: A bamboo mat for rolling makizushi. Cover with plastic wrap when using to prevent the rice from sticking which would make it difficult to clean.

Fukin: Dish cloth

Hangiri: A shallow cypress bowl for preparing sushi rice.

Japanese chopsticks and the longer cooking chopsticks ryoribashi.
36cm ryoribashi and Japanese chopsticks

Hashi, otemoto, waribashi, hashioki: Hashi and otemoto are words for chopsticks and waribashi are disposable chopsticks. When not being used the chopsticks should be pointed to the left and rested upon the haski oki.

An assortment of brightly colored hashi oki
Hashi oki

Ryoribashi: Cooking chopsticks are longer than ordinary chopsticks. Ordinary chop sticks are about 10 inches (25cm) long and ryoribashi several inches longer.

Similar to ryoribashi are saibashi chopsticks used to serve food. These are more decorative than ryoribashi and available in different lengths.

Miyajima: Wooden spatula

Shamoji: Bamboo rice paddle.

Makiyakinabe: Rectangular omelet pan

Oshizushihako: Wooden box for oshizushi

Yanagiba or shortened version yanagi: Japanese knives are made differently than Western knives. The difference is both in usage and shape. Japanese knives are meant to be pulled while cutting while Western knives are meant to be pushed. The cross section is also different. Western knives are sharpened on both sides at an angle. Japanese knives have a flat side and an angled side. With this design there is no doubt about what angle to sharpen. Yanagi is also the Japanese word for willow, and this knife gets this name because the blade shape is similar to a willow leaf.

Japanese yangi knife
A Japanese Yanagi Knife

Close up showing two layers of steel in knife.High quality Japanese knives are layered with two different steels. The cutting edge has a fine-grained but brittle layer that can attain a sharp edge. The tougher side that doesn't quite reach the cutting edge is stamped with the maker's mark and extends about 80% toward the cutting edge. This tough steel prevents the brittle steel from breaking. The two steels can be seen in the picture at the right.

Most Japanese knives are made from carbon steel rather than stainless so they must be kept dry. Don't leave them sitting in water or they will rust.


Oroshigane or oroshiki: Graters come in a variety of materials. Traditionally, graters for wasabi were made from sharkskin. For home use plastic, ceramic, and metal graters are available. In a sushi-ya for grating wasabi or ginger you will need fine-tooth grater. Daikon requires a coarse one.

Metal graters are available in the more traditional copper with tin plating or stainless steel. I recommend the stainless for home use because it can be cleaned in the dish washer.