Nothing says Japan more than these tasty morsels of fish on rice. High quality sushi may be out of the average person’s (or family’s) price range but that doesn’t mean you should miss out. The solution: kaitenzushi or what we Westerners often refer to as sushi train or conveyor belt sushi. I’ve been hooked ever since I was first introduced to the one next door to my apartment building in Tokyo. Since then I’ve made it my job to hunt down all the cheap (but tasty and good quality) kaitenzushi places in Hiroshima.
There are a few chains to choose from with branches scattered throughout the city and surrounds.
Now Sushi Roll is very popular probably because all plates are 100 yen. This does pose a problem, however, because the place is always packed full of customers. Although the restaurants are very roomy, unless you go very early you need to be prepared to wait. Last time I went we waited for 80 minutes. The fact that all plates are 100 yen also means that portion sizes are very small. It’s not particularly tasty but if you’re a sushi virgin, it’s a good option for your first time.
This sushi is phenomenal. Not only is the fish really fresh but the rice itself is extremely delicious. Although there is a conveyor belt in the branches, no sushi is actually on it. Instead you order directly from a touchpad and the sushi is made on the spot and delivered to you by hand by the staff. The nori or seaweed is very crisp and crunchy and you will notice a distinct difference from freshly made sushi and the ones that are on conveyor belts at other sushi restaurants going around and around before people choose them.
There is a branch in the Pacela building on the ground floor, but the best branch is the one located off Hondori next to Subway in the same side street as Edion. It is a little more pricey than Sushi Roll with plates colour-coded depending on the price, but the sushi is definitely superior and an English menu version is available.
Hiroshima-ken, Hiroshima-shi, Naka-ku, Ōtemachi, 1 Chome−4−5
B1F Pacela, 6-78 Motomachi, Naka-ku, Hiroshima-shi, Hiroshima-ken
Coming in at number one is Shimanami in the big Aeon Mall in Fuchu. It can be found on the ground floor in the Roji Dining Food Court. You can either opt to choose from the ready-made sushi on the conveyor belt or touchpads make it really easy to order. There is also an English menu version if you’re feeling a little overwhelmed. Plates are coloured-coded here too and begin at 130 yen + tax going up to 540 yen + tax.
Nighttime during weekdays is generally not busy but lunchtimes even during the week can be hectic. My advice for lunch is to go around 11 or 11.30am and for dinner around 5.30 or 6pm. Although I will admit that the taste is probably better at Nonta Sushi, I really like the attentive staff at Shimanami. As a regular customer I often get discounts and they sometimes have fresh fruit that they give to customers on the way out after paying.
Whichever chain you choose, you can enjoy the experience of kaitenzushi alone or in a group. If you’re anything like me you will become a sushi addict and need your fix at least once or more per week.
Hiroshima-ken, Aki-gun, Fuchū-chō, 府中町Ōsu, 2 Chome−1−1, イオンモール広島府中
Photo By Author