I would like to give credit where credit is due. Videos are from YouTube and other sources such as NicoNico while Oricon rankings and other information are translated from the Japanese Wikipedia unless noted.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Kaiten Sushi

On the morning of November 7th, I made my way over to Akihabara since one of my foodie missions was to get some kaiten (conveyor belt) sushi. You might think that the electronics and geek district of Tokyo might be an odd place to get sushi but there is a kaiten sushi place on the 8th floor of the massive Yodobashi Akiba electronics emporium right by JR Akihabara Station.

The 8th floor is chock-filled with all sorts of restaurants for those hungry visitors and/or geeks. It's gone through some changes over the last few years between visits. One of them was the kaiten sushi place. There was a Sushi Zanmai kaiten but that's gone now. Still, I gather that the folks at Yodobashi must have felt that a kaiten sushi was still needed so this place came in.

I was the first customer there that day so as you can see above, things were pretty barren. The other think I noticed was that the place was virtually automated.

Yup, aside from the lady who welcomed me in, brought the oshibori along with a few plates of sushi, and then took my money at the register, all of my interactions were done with a tablet. Just press away on the screen. There was something quite "Blade Runner" about the ordering.

It felt a bit lonely without the human element but I couldn't deny that the sushi was good. Most of the dishes came out on the special express conveyor at the very top. Somehow a computer was able to throw the dish to the right location and all I had to do was press the flashing red button in front of me to acknowledge delivery. It was probably the most austere foodie experience I've ever had in my life.

(cover version)

Hoorah! The original video to Kazumasa Oda's(小田和正)"Oh Yeah" has finally appeared on YouTube (sadly not anymore). It just happened to be the song that was playing over the speakers at the sushi place. My futuristic time there cost me about 3,000 yen for 10 plates of sushi.


  1. good afternoon J-C: so this was a custom delivery of only your order (vis-a-vis a general selection of dishes)? A friend owns a sushi-fusion restaurant in Philadelphia, and he regularly travels to Japan to check on "the state of the restaurant art". A few years ago he was going to put in conveyor sushi - but in the US there are so many health restrictions on doing something along those lines it wasn't worth it for him. However, if the minimum wage keeps going up we'll see a lot more of these robot restaurants - I already have tablet ordering at the table for fast food down here. Does make you wonder who is in the back preparing (defrosting) the food though ......

    1. Hi, T-cat.

      It's possible that the ones that came rushing out on the belt were the regular stuff while the specials were hand-delivered.

      Your tale about your friend has probably answered the question about why kaiten sushi hasn't really popped up here. The closest we ever had to the concept was a Japanese restaurant in Toronto that served its fare on boats floating on "a river" flowing through the place.

      McDonalds is now doing that sort of thing with the tablet. Haven't tried that yet but I haven't gone to the Golden Arches in many months here in Toronto.


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