One of the coolest eating experiences of Japan is kaiten sushi. These are the places where you go in and sit at a long bar with a chef in the middle, and he makes the sushi and puts it on plates which go around and around on a conveyor belt (that’s what “kaiten” means) and you just pick off whatever looks good. At the end you pay for what you ate!
This is a great way to try new sushi you’ve never seen before. When I first visited Japan, my friend took me to one of these places. I didn’t know much about sushi, so I just picked off the weirdest looking things I could find. I took everything with tentacles or eyes. And, in the end I discovered a bunch of things I love now, like octopus and salmon eggs. Don’t be afraid! Give it a try!
Another cool thing about kaiten sushi is that it’s cheap. It may not be the best quality sushi in the world, but I’m from the US, so it’s good enough for me. These places are popular, so you know it’s not too bad. Usually, it’s about a dollar a plate, and a little more for the expensive or rare stuff, and each plate has two rolls on it. Any way you figure it, that’s a pretty good deal.
It’s awesome to see those little plates of sushi going around and around on a conveyor belt! I think it psychologically makes you want to eat more, just so you can pluck something else off the belt. You have to go with somebody who knows the system, because the more expensive ones are on different colored plates. In my case, I usually just take what I want regardless of cost, and worry about the money later! And, if there’s something in particular you want that you don’t see going around, just call it out and the guy will make it for you right there.
You don’t have to come all the way to Japan to get kaiten sushi nowadays. Places are popping up all over the US, but mostly on the west coast, where you can get sushi served to you on a conveyor belt. When I was in Seattle a few years ago, me and my friend stumbled upon a kaiten sushi place there. The place was packed with sushi lovers, and it was still only about a buck a plate.
A friend of mine found a place in Tokyo where they serve the sushi in little boats that go around the belts. I also heard of one place (somewhere in Tokyo if you find it tell me!) where it has a little choo-choo train that goes around carrying sushi for you!
If you get a chance, in Japan or anywhere else, check out kaiten sushi!