Sushi Kaiba

Connecting with taste - Chef Kiyoyama of Sushi Kaiba

Sushi to enjoy with all five senses

Three minutes from Yotsubashi station rests a popular sushi restaurant with a vivid, modern Japanese decore. The entrance, covered with glass allows a deep view of the chef's world.

"I don't speak with words, I let my food speak for me." Chef Kiyoyama says. He believes words can never match or fully describe delicious food.

Chef Kiyoyama didn't go to a vocational school to learn his craft. Around 22 years ago at the age of 18, a friend invited him to work at an inn in Wakayama Prefecture. He didn't feel a cooking career was the path for him at the time, but his friend asked him to help because he couldn't find enough staff.

Excelling in the kitchen, he developed a keen passion for food and after finishing at the Wakayama-based inn, Chef Kiyoyama began working at a famous restaurant in Namba. Originally intending to work on the floor with the wait staff, he was quickly moved into the kitchen and developed his skills with the guidance of the senior chefs.

"I wanted to overtake my seniors as soon as possible," Chef Kiyoyama recalls. He learnt as much as he could, but found one, re-occurring barrier to reaching his potential.

Chef Kiyoyama was left-handed. You may ask, why was that a barrier?

In Japan, food preperation techniques are designed for right-handed people. From placement of fish, to the placement of fingers and even body position, everything has been designed with a right-handed person in mind.

Unlike Western knives which have a double edge and can be used by either left or right handed people, Japanese kitchen knives use a perfect single edged blade, designed for right-handers. So, Chef Kiyoyama had to mentally convert the processes and techniques he would learn from his seniors, books and any other source to a left-handed perspective. He did everything with his left hand, even though his parents had made him learn to use chopsticks with his right. "I wanted to learn everything possible, so I bought a right-handed kitchen knife again and began re-learning from scratch all the necassary kitchen knife techniques.

"The first thing I bought was the Sakai Ichimonji Mitsuhide Montanren Yanagiba. I like the weight of the blade and the overall sharpness."

"I think customers enjoy seeing me work with it, customers can see me work clearly from their seats."

"The quality of the knife and the sharpening on it contribute to the quality of the final product" says Chef Kiyoyama.

"Every store has access to fresh fish because transportation technology has improved so much. But really delicious seasonal fish requires experience.

For example, many chefs believe conger eel is in season throughout early summer, but in fact, conger eel from autumn is more delicious as it has built up a better layer of fat. Our shop only serves truly delicious ingredients. We also have sommeliers available to match the liquour to the food. Everything is about balance and harmony with each ingredient.”

Restaurant Information

Sushi Kaiba


1-15-22 Kitahorie, Nishi-ku, Osaka

(Open only on the 1st floor, lunch menu only)

Business hours Lunch 11: 30-14: 00

  Dinner 17: 00-23: 30 (LO 23:00)
 Contact 06-6532-2918

View Chef Kiyoyama's favorite Sakai Ichimonji Knives