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A plate of food at the kaitenzushi restaurant.
A plate of food at the kaitenzushi restaurant.

Conveyor Belt Sushi Etiquette: The Ultimate Guide

James LauJames Lau
Published Time
Posted on March 01, 2024

Unlock the secrets of conveyor belt sushi etiquette! Use our expert tips and tricks to ensure a seamless and enjoyable dining experience. Discover top-rated conveyor belt sushi restaurants, from budget-friendly shops to gourmet delights! Elevate your sushi adventure today!

What is conveyor belt sushi?

Conveyor belt sushi or kaitenzushi is a popular fast-food style of sushi. Customers sit around a conveyor belt where plates of sushi travel around the restaurant, allowing them to pick up as the plates pass by. This was designed to serve more customers with fewer servers, making it popular with many people. Despite its fast pace, kaitenzushi offers high-quality seafood, providing delicious fresh sushi at affordable prices, making it popular throughout Japan.

A plate of shrimp sushi.
There are many kaitenzushi restaurants around the world! Image via Shutterstock

Kaitenzushi is famous for its casual atmosphere and menu options. Customers can enjoy a variety of sushi options without feeling like they’ve spent too much money, making it a go-to choice for many seeking a quick and delicious meal. Whether you’re a sushi enthusiast or eating it for the first time, experiencing kaitenzushi in Japan is a unique food adventure! However, there are a few rules and manners you should know about!

Getting Your Table

When you arrive at the restaurant, there may be a long lineup, especially if you’re eating in a popular area. At most conveyor belt sushi restaurants, a machine will give you a ticket and a screen showing ticket numbers. The first thing you should do is to get a ticket. The machine will ask if you prefer a counter or a table seat. Choose the seat you want and the number of people you’re with. Once you’re done, wait for the staff to call your number!

A plate of conveyor belt sushi.
You can have them at a counter or a table. Image via Shutterstock

Some restaurants don’t have a machine or a staff member who lets customers at a controlled pace. Even if you see empty tables behind them, don’t get angry! These staff members are doing their best to ensure the restaurant doesn’t get too busy and the quality stays high! If you don’t want to wait, some chain restaurants will have an app to check how busy a restaurant is. You can also use the app to book a table in advance!

Only take the plates you like!

One of the most incredible things about eating at a kaitenzushi restaurant is that there are many choices for you to enjoy. The plates travel around the restaurant on a conveyor belt, moving slowly for everyone to see and pick. You may want to take as many plates as possible, but remember there are other customers, too! Don’t take everything; just take what you like and enjoy the good things!

A conveyor belt of food at a sushi restaurant.
Make sure to only pick up your own plate! Image via Shutterstock

Once you’re done eating, don’t place the food back on the conveyor belt! Drinks, noodles, desserts, and other food items are also counted using plates! The plates are usually used at the end of your meal to help count your bill. Just stack your plates neatly and call the staff when you finish your meal. You’ll be amazed by how quickly they count them! Once the staff has counted everything, they’ll give you a card to take to the cashier to pay with!

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Order if you need to!

You can always make a particular order if you can’t find the sushi you’re looking for! Most kaitenzushi places will have a tablet to order food directly from the kitchens. These special orders will come to you on a special plate that lets other customers know they’re only for you. Other restaurants may have a separate conveyor belt to deliver these orders faster than the standard conveyor belt.

A plate of sushi.
Sushi is one of Japan’s most famous dishes! Image via Shutterstock

For smaller restaurants that don’t have tablets, you can order directly from the chef and watch as they prepare your order in front of you. The chefs might even joke with you or recommend something to try! Sitting in front of the chef is one of the most significant ways to enjoy sushi because you can enjoy their skill first-hand!

Stay clean!

Please. Don’t be that person who does silly things in hopes of going viral. Many wannabe influencers have been licking soy sauce bottle caps and matcha teaspoons and touching the sushi without taking them off the conveyor belt. Many sushi chains have stopped putting plates on the belts and switched to an order-only system, taking the fun out of conveyor belt sushi entirely.

Which restaurants should I visit?

So now that you know what to do at a conveyor belt sushi restaurant, where should you go? We have a few suggestions for you, starting with a lower-priced option and moving into more expensive choices!

Sushiro

Sushiro is one of Japan’s most famous conveyor belt sushi chains known for its low prices and extensive menu! There are over 100 items on their menu, some starting from as low as 150 yen and specialty items between 160 and 480 yen!

Plates of sushi from Sushiro.
Sushiro has all kinds of amazing tuna sushi! Image via Shutterstock

It’s also famous for its collaboration and seasonal menus and has even created a manga series called Sushi Road with the help of famous food mangaka Daisuke Terasawa! You can even enjoy Sushiro in other countries like Singapore and China!

Toriton

Toriton is a kaitenzushi chain that started in Hokkaido. Despite its name being somewhat confusing to Japanese speakers (‘tori’ means chicken and ‘ton’ means pig), Toriton uses fresh ingredients caught in Hokkaido and shipped to each store for maximum tastiness.

A plate of nigirizushi from the restaurant Toriton.
Toriton is in Hokkaido. Image via Shutterstock

They use a variety of secret sauces made by the chefs who stand in front of you and provide you with the best service. It’s not as cheap as some other places, but we think that the prices match the quality you get!

Choshimaru

Choshimaru is a gourmet kaitenzushi restaurant. Known for its quality and large portions, it has created a reputation for delicious Edomae-style sushi. The name comes from Choshi Port, where the chain catches the fish it serves in its restaurants. The chain features several specials during the year, like its famous Bakumori sushi, where various sushi toppings, including tuna, salmon, ikura, and scallops, are served in a chunky ball.

Kaitenzushi on a conveyor belt.
Have you ever been to a kaitenzushi restaurant before? Image via Shutterstock

The world of conveyor belt sushi is waiting for you! From cheap eats to gourmet, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. Don’t forget to mind your manners and be polite to the other customers and staff! Use our tricks and tips to have the best experience! What are you waiting for? It’s time to sit down and pick your plate of sushi! Have you ever eaten conveyor belt sushi? Which place did you go to? Let us know in the comments below!

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