Eating on a Budget | Conveyor Belt Sushi in Japan

Sushi is the gateway food to Japanese cuisine and probably the only Japanese food a lot of people ever eat. In fact, a vast majority of the Americans I know enjoy eating sushi.

Maybe it’s the raw fish bringing broken promises of a healthy lifestyle or the impossible chopsticks that prove one’s sophistication or our futile attempts to be fancy. Whatever it is, it’s rare to find someone that will ever turn down a sushi date. I, being a part of the majority, find sushi to be satisfying any day of the week. However, it can get expensive, which is why any budget traveler wishing to travel Japan should look into one of their popular sushi restaurants.

The sushi restaurant which every traveler should definitely seek out is the one with a conveyor belt, which is basically Japan’s own take on fast food. Upon walking into this sushi restaurant you can immediately see the revolving sushi. An invention perfect for my hungry, lazy self. Different plates are placed on a conveyor belt and you have only a few seconds to decide if you want to eat that delightful slice of fish or to grub on the next plate. At the table, my eyes are constantly darting over each plate that passes while keeping the other eye on the upcoming presentation. Even while I’m eating one plate I’m scanning the belt for more plates. My kind of multi-tasking. What is this? Eel? I’ll take it. Tuna? Done. Raw octopus? Chewy, but I’ll do it anyway.

sushi Budget travel in japan
Sushi conveyor belt

If nothing on the belt seems appealing to you, or you prefer something that hasn’t been circulating the restaurant and it’s drooling patrons for God knows how long you may also order from the monitor perched above your table. Feeling adventurous? Some restaurants have an English option, but some don’t in which case you can guess from the pictures what you might be ordering. When your order is ready, the monitor will alert you and, depending on the restaurant, the sushi is then sped to you on a separate conveyor belt. Can we all stop now and thank the Japanese gods for this lovely invention?

But wait, there’s more!

While you can experience these conveyor belts at many sushi restaurants, keep an eye out for the 100 yen sushi restaurants because guess what? Each plate is only 100 yen, so it’s definitely a go-to for the budget traveler. I usually spend around 10 USD or approximately 1,000 yen on an “unbotton-the-pants” kind of meal.

sushi budget travel in japan
100 yen per plate!

If you ever find yourself in Japan, no matter which area, search for the 100 yen sushi restaurants where you can easily enjoy traditional Japanese sushi at a great price. 


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