Tokyo 101: How to Order at a Kaiten Sushi Restaurant

Aji and iwashi sushi served with pickled ginger and soy sauce
Aji and iwashi sushi served with pickled ginger and soy sauce | © Skye Hohmann / Alamy Stock Photo
Alicia Joy

Tokyo Writer

Elegant sushi meets fast food convenience in kaiten sushi. And when you’re in Japan, ordering at a kaiten sushi restaurant is even easier than ordering at McDonald’s. Read on to find out how.

The great thing about a kaiten sushi restaurant is that you don’t have to order at all. A selection of small plates swings by your table via conveyor belt and you simply choose which ones you want to eat. For this reason, kaiten sushi is also known as sushi-go-round or sushi train. Supply is constantly being monitored for freshness and replaced when necessary, so there’s no need to worry about hardened rice or slimy fish.

Kaiten Sushi is also known as sushi train

For special requests, many kaiten sushi restaurants these days also have a tablet ordering system installed. The tablets have multiple language options. You simply punch in what you want from the touchscreen and the sushi is delivered straight to your table. This makes kaiten sushi a popular option with visitors who worry about the language barrier. If there isn’t a touchscreen at your restaurant and you do want to order something special, you can either use the paper slip provided or submit your request to one of the chefs.

Most kaiten restaurants have touchscreen tablets, making ordering easy for those who don’t speak Japanese

Plates are colour-coded and the prices are clearly marked on restaurant signages or menus. And, as if dining on kaiten sushi wasn’t easy enough, some places take it one step further by offering all plates for a flat rate – sometimes nearly as low as a dollar or just over 100 yen. When you’ve eaten your fill, flag down a waiter, who will calculate your bill by tallying your dishes or punching it out on the tablet.

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