Essential Sushi Making Tools

Fortunately making sushi is simple and beginners can start out mostly with utensils found in most kitchens. As you develop your sushi making skills you will want to collect some of the unique but very helpful tools and utensils sushi makers use throughout the world.

Your Hands

Alas, the most essential tool is not available on our website and is absolutely free... your hands. You will use your hands for forming rice, assembling your sushi rolls, aligning, shaping and holding while cutting.

Sushi Mat (Makisu)

The inexpensive sushi mat aids in rolling, forming and compacting sushi rolls. It is available in traditional bamboo or plastic. Most sushi chefs prefer the wide slat variety over the round matchstick style. Though bamboo is classic and is believed to possess mysterious powers that ward off harmful spirits, plastic is super easy to clean and care for.

Electric Rice Cooker

Okay, we own an electric rice cooker, but we still prefer to cook rice on the stove top. That said, every book about sushi recommends the convenience of using an electric rice cooker, so we include it in our list of essentials. If you are going to get one, get a good high-quality nonstick digital model that can hold 5-10 cups.

Wooden Sushi Rice Tub (Hangiri)

A wooden sushi rice tub is used to cool and remove moisture from your cooked rice to give it just right amount of stickiness. 12 to 16 inch sizes are most popular. Before using and during their life they are seasoned with vinegar. A large wooden salad bowl will also work great.

Rice Paddle

Another inexpensive must have, the rice paddle is perfect for scooping and tossing the rice. Available in bamboo and plastic styles.


A fan is used to cool your rice as you use the rice paddle to turn the rice in the wooden tub. This is essential for cooling the rice as quickly as possible in making the perfect rice. Any fan will do. The traditional fan in the Japanese kitchen is the Uchiwa, a flat teardrop-shaped fan.

Sashimi Knife (Yanagiba-hocho)

The sashimi knife is the first and primary sushi making knife. If you have a super-sharp Western slicing knife that will do for starters, but soon you will want a good Japanese sashimi knife. They are one sided however and are unfortunately made for right-handed people, with left handed knives being a special order item. Choose one that is eight inches or longer, made of carbon steel for a sharper edge. Do not use these knives for general cutting or you can chip the blade.

And finally…
Japanese Sushi Rice

Use only high-quality, short or medium-grain white rice sold as Japanese Rice or Sushi Rice available at Asian and Japanese markets to get perfect, moist, whole, springy, fluffy, sticky rice. Do not use brown, instant, long or converted rice.

Other Helpful Items

Bamboo skewers - for keeping shrimp straight while cooking.
Bowl of water - for dipping your knife to prevent sticking while slicing.
Chopsticks - long cooking chopsticks for cooking, regular size for eating.
Cutting board - naturally for slicing and assembling your sushi roll.
Vegetable peeler - for... peeling vegetables.
Tweezers - for plucking small bones from small fish.
Non-stick pan - for cooking eggs or searing fish.
Cooks torch - for lightly cooking eel or fish.