Food-Themed Amusement Parks ☆ 7 Cheap and Fun kaitenzushi Restaurants
"Kaitenzushi," known in English as "conveyor belt sushi," refers to a certain type of sushi restaurant in which the sushi plates are placed on a conveyor belt that revolves around the restaurant, and customers pick up their preferred dishes directly from it. The final price is calculated based on the number of plates taken, and these are marked with different colors to represent different prices. You won't be able to help wanting to have a little bit of everything when you see all the sushi dishes passing right in front of your eyes!
1. Kappa-sushi (around 330 branches nationwide)
Kappa-sushi is a major kaitenzushi chain, and it ranks 4th in the industry in terms of number of branches. If you want a specific type of sushi and you do not see it come on the conveyor belt, you can place an order using the available touch panel. When you do, your ordered sushi (or other dishes) will promptly show up on the shinkansen lane, which runs just above the regular conveyor belt. Both children and grownups enjoy watching the shinkansen bring their order since it runs faster than the dishes on the regular conveyor belt and it stops right at your table so you can eat your freshly prepared dish. Do not forget to push the button after you take your plate to make the shinkansen go back. The menu includes other side dishes such as udon and French fries, so even those who are not especially fond of raw fish can enjoy this restaurant. Most of the dishes are priced at 108 JPY (incl. tax) a plate.
2. Muten Kura-Zushi (around 370 branches nationwide)
Given that the word "muten" means "additive-free", it is not hard to guess that Muten Kura-Zushi takes pride in its additive-free sushi. Table seats are equipped with a box to place your empty plates. For every 5 plates that you put in this box, a "Bikkura Pon!" lottery will take place on your touch panel for you to win prizes that come in capsules! This is so much fun that you may find yourself making it a point to pick 5 plates at a time. In addition, this restaurant places special attention to the sushi not coming in contact with air and dust, so all plates on the conveyor belt come covered with a capsule. This will not pose a problem once you become used to it, but in the beginning you may need the staff to teach you how to take your plates. Besides sushi, the restaurant offers a plentiful menu of side dishes such as tendon (rice topped with vegetable and fish tempura), ramen, and even curry. Most of the dishes are reasonably priced between 100 JPY and 200 JPY (excl. tax). Make sure to give it a try!
3. Sushiro (around 420 branches nationwide)
Sushiro is the first restaurant in the world to install IC chips in the plates used on the conveyor belt in order to implement a system to manage the freshness of their products. For example, in the case of tuna, plates are disposed of after they have run for 350 meters on the conveyor belt. You will never find old sushi that has been going around on the conveyor belt for a long time in one of these restaurants. Sushiro takes pride in the fact that its customers can always eat fresh sushi. In addition, they are especially particular about cooking all of their ingredients in house in order to provide their guests with an amazing cost-performance ratio. And the deliciousness of their dishes has already been proved, as the restaurant has ranked 1st in the past for having the best customer satisfaction rate among all other kaitenzushi chains. The restaurant features a "Sushiro no Taikoban" selection of recommended sushi starting from as low as 100 JPY (excl. tax) every month for a limited period of time. A definitive must try!
4. Hamazushi (around 380 branches nationwide)
Most of the dishes at Hamazushi are inexpensively priced at 100 JPY (excl. tax) per plate, and it gets even nicer - the price for these dishes becomes 90 JPY (excl. tax) on weekdays! (Depending on the ingredients used, there are dishes that are not 100 JPY and are not eligible for the 90 JPY offer). The restaurant is of course very careful in selecting the ingredients used, but it doesn't stop there: they also have a variety of carefully selected different types of soy sauce from all over Japan. These are all different in both taste and aroma, so it is a good idea to try and compare them. For example, you can try and find the soy sauce that brings out the flavor of squid in the best way. The daily recommendations are on display inside the restaurant, so you can take them as a reference to choose what to have. Usually, eating sushi involves a lack of vegetables in the meal, but here you will find a plentiful menu that includes salads and seasonal desserts.
5. Genki Sushi (around 40 branches in the Kanto area)
Genki Sushi offers a plentiful variety of sushi using seasonal ingredients and fish at inexpensive prices starting at 100 JPY (excl. tax) per plate. If this is your first time going to a conveyor belt sushi restaurant, we recommend that you try their Maguro Zanmai (320 JPY (excl. tax)), a popular plate that comes with three pieces of tuna sushi, respectively otoro (fatty tuna), chuutoro (medium-fatty tuna), and maguro (regular tuna). In addition, you may find that they have other elaborate dishes depending on the season, such as their Spring Selection (450 JPY (excl. tax)), which features 5 pieces of sushi using seasonal fish. We recommend that you try this. Genki Sushi also offers a concierge service that will inform you of the daily recommendations, provide explanations regarding the ingredients, and other information regarding placing an order, so make sure to use this service.
6. Gatten Sushi (About 70 branches in the Kanto area)
This is a cheerful restaurant, lively with the voices of the sushi chefs as they shout out "Gatten shouchi!" (meaning "leave it to us!"). The restaurant takes special care of their supply chain, and is very particular about having their ingredients shipped directly from the market, so you may find that the menu varies slightly from one branch to another. Their prices, set at about 200 JPY per plate, are a little higher than those at other chains, but you will find that not just their sushi, but also their sashimi and grilled turban shell are of a much higher quality than what you might expect for a conveyor belt sushi restaurant. The chefs engage in fun conversation as they place their vaunted sushi on the conveyor, which keeps the atmosphere lively, and which may lead you to overeat without even noticing. It is also nice to note that they pay attention to every detail, such as putting up flags on the plates where wasabi is not used. Their maguro show, in which the chefs filet a tuna in front of the customers, is also very popular. This is a fun kaitenzushi restaurant that will stimulate all your senses!
*The maguro show is only held at specific times.
7. Sushi Choushimaru (around 70 branches in Tokyo, Saitama, Chiba, and Kanagawa)
Sushi Choushimaru is a conveyor belt sushi chain with restaurants in the Kanto area. The ingredients used are shipped directly from the Chiba Choshi Port, and the chefs at the center of the conveyor belt dissect the fish and make fresh sushi right in front of the customers' eyes. The restaurant has made a proclamation to offer the most delicious sushi and customers can choose between 7 different ways to have their sushi for no additional fees, including "aburi" (which involves lightly grilling the surface of the fish using a burner), "kombu shio" (kelp salt), and "sesame sauce," among others. Recommendations are different depending on which kind of sushi you are having, so ask the chef for help to make your choice. You will find the daily special ingredients directly shipped from the Choshi Port written on the whiteboard, so make sure to check it out. Prices range between 130 JPY (excl. tax) to 580 JPY (excl. tax), which means some of the ingredients get a little pricey, but this is definitely a high quality kaitenzushi restaurant.
Conveyor belt sushi is very popular in Japan for being inexpensive and delicious. Most restaurants get really crowded especially on weekend nights, so we recommend either making a reservation in advance or trying to go at a different time for a more relaxed and enjoyable experience.
*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.
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