The 10 Things I’ll Miss About Japan–No.06: Kaitenzushi 4

various sushi at Kappazushi

my lunch at Kappazushi

My favorite food in the whole world is sushi. I could be full to the bursting and still perk up at the mention of a sushi snack. I’m frequenting my favorite sushi joints in anticipation of leaving Japan in August (last week I went four times), and I’m bracing myself for the withdrawals I know are waiting for me the moment I land Stateside.

Things I’ll Miss #6: Kaitenzushi

#7: The Ghibli Effect

#8: Onsen

#9: Conbini

#10: Matsuri

Kaitenzushi are conveyer belt sushi restaurants where you can pick up plates of sushi as they ride by in front of you. The prices are determined by the color and design of the plate, though at some cheap kaitenzushi (like the popular Kappazushi chain) all the plates are the same price regardless. You can also order fresh from the chefs stationed in the middle of the counter, or, in the case of Kappazushi, there’s no need for human interaction at all once you’ve been seated thanks to the touch panel order screen.

the Kappazushi touch screen menu

the Kappazushi touch screen menu

Then your order comes out to you on a toy bullet train above the regular conveyer belt track.

sushi on a bullet train at Kappazushi

my order arrived on a toy bullet train

When I first moved to Japan, I’d go to Kappazushi every week for dinner at least once. I loved the bullet train gimmick, the creative menu offerings, and the hard-to-beat price of ¥100 per plate (plus tax). Now, though, I’ve cultivated a more mature palette when it comes to sushi, and only visit Kappa when I need a sushi craving satisfied STAT.

When I started to date Jeff, he introduced me to what is now our kaitenzushi of choice: Kantarou, a northern Japan chain based in Hakodate, Hokkaido. We love it so much that when we went to Hokkaido last year for Golden Week, we went out of or way to visit the original restaurant. Totally. Worth. It.

the Kantarou sushi counter

Kantarou Sushi

You can tell from the inside that Kantarou is swankier than Kappa. The cuts of the fish are thicker, the rice is tastier, and the plates range in price from ¥120 to nearly ¥500 each.

the Kantarou sushi menu

the Kantarou menu, decidely not touch screen

Despite the slightly higher price tag, we come here every weekend. Friday night has been “Kantarou night” for the past two-plus years.

empty sushi plates

our tower of sushi plates at Kantarou (his left, mine right; notice how much less I eat than at Kappa?)

Giving up our weekly visits to our favorite sushi joint is going to be hard. I’ve already got the shakes just thinking about how many (how few) times we have left to go.


How many plates of sushi can you eat?
Want more? Check out “#5: Health Care” here!

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