Japan has been known for its unique culinary culture that intrigues food lovers all over the world and one of the most famous contributions to this uniqueness is Kaitenzushi or conveyor belt sushi.
Kaitenzushi (回転寿司) – Conveyor Belt Sushi
Kaitenzushi (回転寿司), as its name suggests, is a convenient and affordable type of sushi restaurants where plates of sushi are carried on a conveyor belt that winds through the restaurant. With its convenient fast-food serving style, sushi restaurants can serve more customers quickly with fewer servers.
Along with this, compared to a traditional sushi restaurant, the price per plate in a Kaitenzushi restaurant is considerably cheaper, ranging from 110yen to 550yen (including tax), the price of which is indicated by the differences in colours and patterns of the plates. For each plate, there is often one or two sushi pieces.
A description of the plates and their prices are shown on the menu or on the boards which are hung around the restaurant. The menu features a varied selection of seasonal ingredients such as salmon, maguro, and so forth. Most of the restaurants also have cooked dishes on their menus, such as noodles, fried foods and desserts.
At Kaitenzushi restaurants, there are two types of seating: counter seats along the conveyor belt offered for one person or small groups and tables preferred by family or larger groups of customers.
As this fast-paced serving style of Kaitenzushi restaurants can confuse some first-time customers, here is a guide that may help you enjoy the dining experience to the fullest when eating at a Kaitenzushi restaurant.
How to Eat at a Conveyor Belt Sushi Restaurant
- On entering the restaurant, you may see a podium or a clipboard to indicate your preferred type of seating and the number of people in your group. After that, wait until your number is called and the staff will directly show you to your seats.
- Once seated, you will see that there is a hot water dispenser, a container of matcha powder, a box of chopsticks, a container of pickled ginger and a bottle of soy sauce provided at your table. One typical trait of Kaitenzushi restaurants is the self-serve green tea. In order to make it, put a little green tea powder into the cup and add some hot water from the dispenser. If you want to have other drinks like beer, you can order them from a screen touch placed at the table. This is what you use for ordering food.
- Along with using touch screens for food ordering, you can directly take the dishes from the conveyor belt. Still, remember not to take plates on the conveyor belt unless you want to eat them. Once you have already taken the plates, do not put them back onto the conveyor belt.
- While enjoying your food, stack the empty plates so that it is easier for the staff to calculate the bill later on.
- After finishing your meal, notify the staff so they will count the number of empty plates and give you the bill. Then, collect your belongings and take your bill to the register near the exit to pay.
Some Famous Conveyor Belt Sushi Restaurants You Should Try in Japan
Due to their popularity, Kaitenzushi restaurants can be found almost anywhere across Japan. Still, here are some of the most famous Kaitenzushi restaurants that you should try when coming to Japan.
1. Akindo Sushiro (あきんどスシロー）
Akindo Sushiro (あきんどスシロー) is the largest chain of Kaitenzushi restaurants in Japan, with over 450 stores domestically and an increasing number of stores internationally. It is said that its great popularity comes from providing seasonal collections of low-cost and high-quality sushi, along with excellent customer service. Still, the feature that makes Sushiro stand out is definitely its constantly changing menu.
The menu will be often updated with the introduction of new dishes after one or two weeks, based on the feedback and love of the customers towards the food. Not only the sushi but other foods like desserts at Sushiro are also amazingly delicious so give this restaurant a try when you come to Japan.
2. Uobei Sushi (魚べい寿司)
Uobei Sushi (魚べい寿司), a subsidiary of the Genki Sushi franchise, is a cheap and tasty chain of Kaitenzushi restaurants that also has stores both inside and outside Japan. Uobei Sushi is well-known for its unique and high-tech conveyor belt system. Unlike traditional conveyor belt systems, the sushi delivery trays in Uobei have been stylized to look like different kinds of trains and cars, moving at a super-fast speed.
In addition to this, the delivery trains have a special safety feature which means that they are not able to leave their designated table until the food has been taken from the trays, even if the return button is pushed. If you want to have a unique dining experience at a fairly reasonable price, Uobei is definitely worth checking out!
3. Kura Sushi (くら寿司)
Along with Akindo Sushiro and Uobei Sushi, Kura Sushi (くら寿司) is also one of the biggest players in the conveyor belt sushi game. It has around 451 stores in Japan and nearly 30 stores in Taiwan and America. This Kaitenzushi restaurant is not just about sushi, but also about the intriguing culinary experience.
Have you ever thought of an after-meal game at a restaurant? On coming to Kura Sushi, you will have a chance to try your luck with “Gachapon”, which is a famous Japanese toy capsule vending machine. With every 5 plates, you will be given a chance to win a gacha. Winning a toy to bring home after dining will surely make your day!
Come and Enjoy This Unique Culinary Experience at Conveyor Belt Sushi Restaurants!
Kaitenzushi is a great culinary entertainment form, that involves enjoying sushi in a quick and affordable way, and you do not want to miss out on it when travelling to Japan.
More related readings:
- Ehomaki: The Sushi Roll That Brings You Luck
- 5 Unique Japanese Food Many Foreigners Try to Avoid
- 5 Things To Avoid During a Japanese Meal
- Ramen Etiquete to Keep in Mind
Featured photo credits: Canva.com