The Basic Info: Two Locations, Same Epic Sushi
There are two locations - Sukiyabashi Jiro (the original, run by famed Jiro, the 90-year old chef himself), and Sukiyabashi Jiro Roppongi Hills (a replica, run by Jiro's son, Takashi). The restaurant run by Jiro, the dad, has 10 seats is very difficult to get reservations to because he does not serve foreigners and non-Japanese speaking guests at all. To get a reservation with him, you need to go with a Japanese-speaking guest or escort, or a Japanese local. Or be someone of importance like Barack Obama. This would come with the price of paying for an additional person. Only Tokyo locals can make reservations with Jiro himself. Jiro and his eldest son do not speak English, and prefer to be able to communicate with guests for a better sushi experience.
Sukiyabashi Jiro Roppongi Hills, on the other hand, is just as fantastic and of the same caliber as the original. It is run by Jiro's son, who willingly serves foreigners and speaks English. He had 7 seats in the restaurant, but could probably fit a couple more. After two failed attempts at making reservations at the original, we were able to get in with the Roppongi Hills location. No regrets here. While we would have loved to meet Jiro, Jiro's son was a delight to be with. Especially because we could communicate with each other in English!
Reservations can only be made 1 month in advance, on the first 1st day of the prior month. Meaning, if you need a reservation in March, they will start accepting reservations February 1st.
How to Make Reservations: Use American Express concierge, if possible
1. If you're trying to get reservations at the dad's restaurant, Sukiyabashi Jiro, you must have a local Japanese person call in. You can try asking your Hotel Concierge (perhaps the Hilton in Tokyo, where one of my grad school friend's had the concierge DRIVE to Jiro's restaurant and ask for a reservation).
2. For Sukiyabashi Jiro Roppongi Hills, the best way is to use the American Express concierge or another concierge service. We called our American Express platinum card concierge service FOUR months before our trip to Tokyo (we called in December). We were too busy doing wedding planning, balancing family reunions, and making sure we had everything in place for the RTW trip. We did NOT want to have to time to make our reservations for Jiro the week of our wedding (February). So, we called American Express concierge, and they did all the work for us. They called around, tried to book the original Sukiyabashi Jiro, but they stopped taking Amex reservations. Then they found out for us that reservations can only be made on the first of the previous month. Amex then timed it, and called the first HOUR of the first day of the previous month, and got us the reservation for our March dinner date. American Express then confirmed the time, address, and asked us about any allergies or requests. They also gave us the prices, what to wear, useful links to sushi etiquette, tips for other things to do in nearby areas, reminders weeks and days before the reservation date, cancellation policies, etc. They must have Japanese-speaking concierge services to coordinate it all too. This was all confirmed the week of our wedding and it was automatically done - and translated in English for us. We didn't have to navigate any websites or make any long-distance calls at odd times. Best thing yet, when we were arrived at the restaurant, the hostess treated us like VIP when she saw that we were American Express customers and also knew we were on our honeymoon. She also notified the chef, although I'm not sure what difference that made. Don't forget the Amex card when you go, too! ;)
3. For Sukiyabashi Jiro Roppongi Hills, you might also be able to ask your Hotel Concierge so they can call local times. They might also have a connection with one of Jiro's restaurants, you never know.
4. If you speak fluent Japanese and can make all the confirmations, go for the original! ;)
At Sukiyabashi Jiro Roppongi Hills, the menu was 25,900 Japanese Yen (~$212) per person for the regular sushi meal, while includes the 8% tax and 10% service charge. For the sashimi meal, which is only offered at the Roppongi HIlls locations, the price was approximately 31,000 Japanese Yen per person in 2015. Cancellations made 24 hours or less in advance would result in a 10,000 Japanese Yen per person charge. We opted for the Sushi + Sashimi meal, and our actual amount spent after the meal was 66,900 yen in March 2015. It was the most expensive meal we've ever had, but was worth saving our pennies!
Good luck and enjoy! We would love to hear about your experience too! :)