Cool! Where Can I Eat Some?
So if you're in Japan and ready to dive into this new food adventure, we have a few suggestions on where to look for automated kaiten-zushi restaurants!
1. Genki Sushi (Shibuya)
Automation Level: 5/5
Genki Sushi is quite popular among foreigners thanks to its English menu and futuristic environment. Your order is delivered by a tray on a track, stopping right in front of you. After taking your plate, all you have to do is push a button to send it back to the kitchen! The only downside is the absence of the conveyor belt, which means you'll have to wait until your order arrives before you're actually able to eat anything (as opposed to just snagging the nearest dish off the conveyor belt while you wait).
Don’t let the huge queue outside discourage you: the turnaround is usually pretty fast. Just remember to write your name on the waiting list, which is placed near the counter inside.
The average plate goes for ¥108 with two pieces of sushi.
2. Hamazushi (Takadanobaba)
Automation Level: 3/5
The ordering system can look tricky at first: a ringing noise from your touch screen will notify you that your order is coming, and then you have to take it from the belt as it passes in front of you. Once you get the hang of it, the prices are unbeatable, as a plate of sushi costs just ¥98 on weekdays (¥108 on weekends and holidays). Additionally, since there's always food on the belt, you don't necessarily need to wait for your custom order!
Hamazushi has dozens of branches around Tokyo, but not all of them are automated—so if you're looking for the full futuristic experience, head to the Takadanobaba branch. After entering, just get a number from the machine and wait for your turn: the called numbers appear on a big screen, so no need to know how to say them in Japanese. Even though it tends to be crowded, the restaurant is very big and you'll still get seated pretty fast, especially if you're on your own.
If you don’t want to wait and can read Japanese, you can reserve your spot online in advance here.
3. Kaisen Misakiko (Shinjuku, Nakano)
Automation Level: 5/5
Kaisen Misakiko is the kaiten-zushi branch of the Kyotaru sushi empire, and it has restaurants all over Tokyo, including Shinjuku, Nakano and the Tokyo Dome area.
Some sushi plates here can be a tiny bit more on the pricey side, but Kaisen Misakiko still fully fits into the "cheap" category, with the basic plates still starting from ¥95 to ¥120. Like Genki Sushi, the menu also has English and the plates will arrive in front of you on a small tray, and once again the only downside is that you will have to wait for your order to eat any food.
The Shinjuku branch is fully automated too—however, the Nakano Sun Mall branch takes the top prize this time: the sushi delivery system is actually shaped like a cute little train!
So what are you waiting for? Get out there and snag yourself some robo-sushi before the robo-sushi snags you!