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[Video]Useful Tips For Conveyor Belt Sushi (Sushi Train) Restaurants

Conveyor belt sushi restaurants (Kaiten-Sushi / sushi train) offer delicious sushi for an affordable price. Here are some tips so you can have a good time if you are visiting a Conveyor belt sushi restaurant.

1. What is conveyor belt sushi?

Conveyor belt sushi is a system in which small plates carrying sushi move around the restaurant on a conveyor belt that is set up on the counter in front of customers. With this, customers are free to take the sushi they like by the plate. It is semi-self-service system, so customers can eat right away and enjoy their favorite sushi items at prices that are lower than the prices in regular sushi shops. This very convenience has fueled the popularity of this system. Many conveyor belt sushi joints are big, so there shouldn’t be any problem if you come with a big group. There’s no doubt that you will enjoy eating at this kind of restaurant as you are also bound to see original dishes that you won’t see in ordinary sushi joints!

2. What to do when you get to the shop

When you arrive at the shop, a staff of the restaurant will be there to guide you to your seat. During lunch and other times of the day when the restaurant is usually crowded, there will be sheets of paper or machines provided where you can write down or input your name and the number of people in your group, and this will be the basis of the order in which the customers are let inside the shop. In this case, write or input the information needed and wait until a seat opens up.
Once you are seated (you may be able to choose between a counter or table seat, depending on the restaurant), a restaurant staff will bring you Japanese tea or there will a teacup/tea bowl and powdered tea or teabags provided at your seat/table. There will be a tap for hot water so you can make your own tea. So, take a sip and settle down. Then, pour soy sauce into a small plate and start eating sushi.

3. How to order

There are three ways to order sushi at a conveyor belt sushi shop.

1. Take and eat the sushi you want from the plates of sushi that are moving on a conveyor belt.
2. Order from the sushi chef inside the counter or from the staff on the floor.
3. Order through the touch panel.

There will be times when the sushi you want is not on the conveyor belt, and when that happens, you can order your sushi directly from the chef or the floor staff. If you want sushi that is freshly made, you can have that, too, by ordering through the second method.
There may be menus with pictures and touch panel systems with multiple languages available, depending on the shop, so use these when ordering sushi.

4. How to take the plates

Now, on to an explanation on how to get the plates in a conveyor belt sushi shop, where you pay based on the number and type of plates you took from the conveyor belt. What is basically done in this kind of shop is that you get the plate from the conveyor belt and when you’re done eating, you have to pile up the empty plates on your table. If you are in a shop that does not apply flat pricing (all plates have one price), then you should know that the price of the sushi varies depending on the color and design of the plate they are served on, so it would be best to verify first how much every plate costs.
In shops that have introduced the latest touch panel system, the sushi you have ordered will move at high speed via a conveyor belt that is different from those found in ordinary sushi shops and then stop right in front of you. There are also shops that have covered plates, and to those who do not know how to open them, please ask the staff!

5. How to eat

Fish and seafood sushi is basically eaten by dipping the topping, and not the rice, in soy sauce. Sushi with flavored toppings, such as those that already have sauce on them or salt, are eaten as is.
“Gunkanmaki" (battleship roll sushi) and other types of sushi are eaten without dipping them in soy sauce. But when dipping the sushi in soy sauce, if you are in a shop where they have soy sauce containers that release soy sauce in single drops, then use that. If they don’t have that, then dip a palate-freshening pickled ginger in soy sauce that has been poured into a small plate and then use it as a brush to apply soy sauce on the topping of a gunkanmaki. Sushi will be much more delicious if the rice is not soaked in soy sauce.

6. Sequence of eating

In any ordinary sushi shop, it is said that the proper way to eat sushi in order to fully savor the flavors of the ingredients is to start from light-flavored sushi and then move to full-flavored sushi. When you are in a conveyor belt sushi restaurant, though, it’s perfectly all right not to be too fussy about the sequence! Aside from the typical hand-formed seafood sushi, there is a host of other sushi items such as shrimp with mayonnaise gunkanmaki, hamburger sushi, and various other creative sushi, as well as French fries, ramen, desserts, and other food items. The real thrill in eating at a conveyor belt sushi place is that you get to enjoy the food you want in the order you prefer. A growing number of people have been choosing to go to conveyor belt sushi restaurants instead of an izakaya (Japanese gastropub) of late.

7. How to pay

When you’ve had your fill of sushi to your heart’s content, then it’s time to pay. To do that, you can call a staff over or press the button on your table. The type of plate holding the sushi basically differs per price, so once the staff has checked the number and types of plates, you will know your total bill right away. If you are in a shop with a touch panel system, just press the “Kaikei (Bill)” button on the panel and then pay.

Watch this video of "Introducing Conveyor Belt Sushi"


Even with conveyor belt sushi shops, there are various kinds of shops, from low-priced places up to upscale restaurants. So, if you get a chance to visit Japan, please use this information as a reference and try conveyor belt sushi!

*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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