Kaiten Sushi (Kaitenzushi)

Kaiten sushi, or kaitenzushi, as it is pronounced in Japanese, is sushi that may be considered fast-food sushi, as opposed to sushi served at a traditional sushi restaurant. The sushi at kaitenzushi restaurants are on plates that sit on a rotating conveyor belt that runs through the restaurant and by every table and counter seat. Customers select the sushi that they want to eat as it passes by. If they don’t see what they like on the belt, they may order it from one of the chefs. Desserts, soups, some beverages and sometimes other food are also available on the conveyor belt. Condiments, such as pickled ginger, wasabi and soy sauce are self-served, as is green tea or water. Restaurants keep track of how long the sushi has been on the conveyor belt so they remove the plates that have been in rotation too long.

Most of the plates run from about 100 – 500 yen per piece, and the tab is calculated by the number and types of plates, either by an attendant or a counting machine, available at some restaurants. Some restaurants have a flat rate for all plates.

While kaitenzushi restaurants are welcome destinations for the budget-minded who want to enjoy sushi without it costing them an arm and a leg, they are also exceedingly popular with families with young children, who are not generally welcome at traditional sushi restaurants. Non-Japanese speaking customers also like the fact that no language skills are needed to enjoy their sushi dinner-they can just grab their choice off the conveyor belt!

Kaitenzushi has been popular in Japan for decades, and recently has been gaining an audience overseas. In the states, chains such as Kula Sushi and Sushi Land have opened several restaurants that have been very well received.

photo credit: 1yen via photopin cc

28 comments
Kainien Morel
Kainien Morel

We also have these in Taichung, Taiwan, but they're probably not as nice!

Kaoru Kuwata
Kaoru Kuwata

Love it! ...and they are fresh and inexpensive!

Lena Gedaria
Lena Gedaria

we have this here in California..."Sushi Boat"

golfpunk0r
golfpunk0r

I went to a really nice little kaiten sushi place in Ueno in April. A lovely older woman who was there with her husband poured me a green tea and made sure I got the right soy sauce, I spoke hardly any Japanese and she spoke hardly any English but it was such a nice moment in my trip. The sushi was really great and cost about $15NZD in the end for quite a few plates!

Chiaki Person
Chiaki Person

I am going to visit Sushi Station in Chicago in two weeks. It sounds like it is just like the one in Japan.

Jc Brown
Jc Brown

This is news????? It's been around almost four decades ('Genroku Sushi') and is HARDLY only in Japan now. Clutching at straws here people.

Kevin Mirus
Kevin Mirus

we have these in the Chicago Burbs..... "Sushi Station" is the best!

Amy VandenBoogert
Amy VandenBoogert

They recently opened a conveyor belt sushi restaurant not too far from me (the only one in the region). I hope to check it out soon!

Amy Allen
Amy Allen

Kaiten sushi was one of my 6 year old's favorite things about our trip to Japan!

Maja Ristovska
Maja Ristovska

on Kyoto train station was my first "contact" with kaiten sushi.... love to go there again....

Stella Au
Stella Au

this is not only in Japan. i have been to one in London many years ago. and they are also in asian countries like Hong Kong etc.

Wayne Whitehead
Wayne Whitehead

There is a restaurant in Little Tokyo, Los Angeles, that also features a conveyor belt. Great sushi, too!

DawnAraki
DawnAraki

I'm a big fan of Kula Sushi in California.