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Home > Guides > Affordable Sushi In Tokio.

Affordable Sushi In Tokio.

Friday, 03 December 2010 09:49

Eating sushi in Tokyo should be on everyone's list of things to do before they die. Like espresso in Rome or croissants in Paris, fresh sushi in Tokyo, the seafood capital of the world, is a gourmet's dream.
Chasing the dream can get expensive though! Wealthy Tokyoites regularly pay over $100 per person for a sushi meal. This might be a bit much for the first-time sushi culinary tourist, but luckily, there's a cheaper option: conveyer belt sushi!

For a low-cost taste of sushi in Tokyo, set aside $10 or so and head to one of the city's many conveyer belt sushi restaurants. These are small restaurants, often with less than 20 seats, one or two sushi chefs and a cashier. They're easy to spot: conveyer belt sushi restaurants often have colourful posters of sushi outside, and inside you'll see customers sitting in front of a conveyer belt.

This style of sushi restaurant was invented in the 1950s by a sushi chef in Osaka who got tired of paying his wait staff to carry sushi to customers. The rest of Japan has always enjoyed poking fun at Osaka people for notorious penny-pinchers, and this invention didn't help their cause! The technology may have been bad for Osaka's reputation, but sushi lovers on a budget are its biggest fans.

At a conveyer belt sushi restaurant, the chefs stand in a raised island in the center of the restaurant, preparing sushi which they then place on a slow-moving conveyer belt. The great advantage of revolving sushi restaurants is that you can look at what's on offer before grabbing it off the conveyer belt. No sushi surprises! And it's cheap: prices usually range from $1 to $5 a plate.

Revolving sushi restaurants are everywhere in Tokyo, though you'll find the highest concentration in Ueno and Asakusa, in the northeast of the city. In Japanese, these restaurants are called "kaiten-zushi." next time you're in Tokyo, take advantage of the city's best-kept secrets and grab fresh sushi for the price of a fast-food lunch.