When it comes to the consumption of raw fish, you’re spoiled for choice in Tokyo — at all price points. There are plenty of cheap places where you can get your sushi fix, including spots where plates come rolling by on a conveyor belt (or on a cute little bullet train).
Over the years, we’ve compiled a list of favorite — aka best budget — sushi restaurants in Tokyo. Drumroll, please…
Quick tip: If you happen to be a Londoner, check out our guide to affordable sushi in London.
Cheap sushi chain restaurants
Ganso ZushiStarting from ¥138 for two pieces
Fresh fish everyday
Arguably the tastiest and cheapest kaiten-zushi (conveyor belt sushi) chain is Ganso Zushi. The shops have no frills but will give you an authentic experience — one where you can see everyday Japanese Cheapos popping in for a quick sushi dinner. Plates start at around ¥138, tax included.
There are branches located all over Tokyo, including popular spots like Shinjuku, Ebisu, and Asakusa. Learn to recognize the Japanese characters that spell out Ganso Zushi: 元祖寿司 (for the curious this translates to something like “original sushi”).
And be sure to ask for their English menu. All shops should have one, but we’ve seen them being a bit shy about handing it out. As well as choosing things off the conveyor belt, you can also bark your order at the chef in the middle.
UobeiStarting from ¥150 for two pieces
Flavor, fun, and speed
At ¥150 per plate for decent sushi, Uobei is another great kaiten-zushi option. Their most popular branch is located in central Shibuya. Uobei is run by the same company that runs Genki Sushi, another popular budget chain, which we also recommend — just that Genki doesn’t have any branches in Tokyo anymore.
The atmosphere at Uobei is pleasant, the grub is good, and the staff is friendly. You must order all your sushi via a tablet, which has multiple language settings. It will then be served to you (at high speeds) via the automated conveyer belt. This method saves the shop money and gets you the freshest food.
SushirōStarting from ¥150 for two pieces
Big booths and family-friendly
Sushirō is one of the most beloved budget sushi chains in Tokyo, popular among college students and families with young children. With branches throughout Japan, Sushirō has gotten the practice of getting you in, fed, billed, and out again down to an art.
Since a certain incident, you can no longer — for now — grab your choice from the conveyor belt. You must order from the screen in front of you (which has English, Chinese, and Korean-language settings). Plates start at ¥150 for two pieces of nigiri sushi. They have a couple of “specialty” items that run for a bit more as well as a delicious assortment of desserts.
You can reserve seats for Sushirō via their handy app, but it’s only in Japanese.
Katsu MidoriStarting from ¥132 for two pieces
Tasty and popular
This place punts itself as the “No. 1 conveyor belt sushi restaurant in Japan”, and it’s definitely one of our top choices. There is often a queue snaking right outside the restaurant, but the wait is well worth it. Locations include Ikebukuro and Shibuya.
Most plates will set you back between ¥132 and ¥242, and that includes not only your standard excellent sushi dishes, but also fried chicken, tempura, soups, and more. You order on a tablet (don’t worry, there’s an English menu), as well as your phone, and the food comes to you in a matter of minutes.
Editor’s note: If you visit by yourself during a weird hour between lunch and dinner you usually don’t have to wait too long.
Sushi ZanmaiStarting from ¥107 for one piece
Tuna from around the world
Look no further than Sushi Zanmai for quality and convenience. This sushi bar (sorry, no conveyor belts here!) chain offers fresh, high-quality sushi sets at over 40 branches throughout Tokyo — including two branches in Shinjuku alone. To keep things Cheapo, we recommend the lunch sets, which cost ¥1,078–¥5,808 and come with soup, salad, and unlimited green tea. There’s an English menu, and you can order by matching the number on the menu to the provided ordering sheet.
Uogashi Nihon-Ichi Standing Sushi BarStarting from ¥150 for two pieces
Uogashi is an excellent value standing sushi bar. While this chain is slightly pricier than the conveyor belt sushi places on this list (their sushi sets start at ¥1,280), its value is doubly reflected in the quality as you don’t have to “pay” for the costs of having seats. Uogashi uses lots of seasonal fish and veg, so you can try new tastes throughout the year.
They have an English-language guide that shows you how to order and pay for a seamless sushi bar experience. Look for Uogashi Nihon-Ichi Standing Sushi Bar around popular tourist destinations like Akihabara, Shinjuku, and Shibuya.
Nemuro HanamaruStarting from ¥143 per plate
For a more upscale conveyor belt sushi experience stop by Nemuro Hanamaru. Just like its cheaper counterparts, you can either have your order made or pick and choose whatever catches your fancy (from the conveyor belt) as it comes. Though the lines might be long on weekends and the prices might be a bit higher (like ¥143 for the cheapest order) than your typical kaiten-zushi restaurant, the quality is what keeps patrons lining up for up to an hour.
Keep in mind that you can’t make any reservations prior, and you’ll have to wait in line once you get your number from the queuing machine at the entrance.
Affordable independent restaurants
For a more local experience during your visit to Tokyo, head to any of our recommended neighborhood sushi restaurants. Be warned that due to their popularity, you can expect long lines and minimal English. As a general rule, it might be better to have some cash on you as they might not accept electronic payment. Lunchtime is when you’re most likely to score sushi at a much friendlier price point.
Sushi Katsura is located right next to the old Tsukiji Fish Market — so you already know that you’re about to get some quality stuff. It’s a contender for the much coveted (and imaginary) Best Budget Sushi Tokyo Award.
A fair word of warning, though, don’t go here for dinner. Your meal will easily be over ¥5,000! Instead, take advantage of their weekday lunch menu. An “ichininmae” (one person) set of nine pieces of nigiri sushi and one maki (sushi roll) costs ¥1,300. The only downside is that the restaurant is a little bit difficult to find, and there is limited English.
Hidden in the backstreets of Tsukiji and marked by a singular paper lantern hanging outside its storefront, Motodane is a well-loved local sushi restaurant. Despite its popularity, they don’t take lunchtime reservations, so expect to line up well before noon. Their sushi plates are priced below ¥2,500 but their best seller is said to be their chirashi (seasoned sushi) rice bowl, which costs about ¥1,000.
Located just beside Toyama Park in Shinjuku is Suke Sushi, a neighborhood sushi restaurant. For the best deals, try to go at lunchtime. They offer plates of sushi for between ¥700 and ¥1,000, with a side of miso soup and green tea. Like many other independent sushi restaurants, don’t expect the staff to speak much English here.
Mikorezushi is a sushi restaurant not too far from the west exit of Shinjuku. Their lunch sets go for about ¥850, which you can upgrade to a bigger size for a bit extra. While their staff may not speak much English, there’s a menu with photos on it so you won’t have to worry about anything getting lost in translation.
But what about that famous sushi guy?
If you’re determined to dine at Sukiyabashi Jiro’s (or at least his son’s restaurant, anyway), don’t let us stop you. But you might want to read about these alternatives first.
Tips for finding cheap sushi deals
- Sushi lunch sets are much more affordable than the ones offered at dinner time.
- Buying sushi at depachika (department store basement food halls) nearing closing time will get you some sizeable discounts.
- Opting to buy take-out sushi from stalls inside major train stations instead of eating in can save you a considerable amount.
- Convenience stores and supermarkets have a daily selection of sushi at a much cheaper price regardless of the time.
- Ordering a la carte only makes economic sense at kaiten-zushi (conveyor belt sushi restaurants); otherwise, it is always, always cheaper to order a set meal (unless you’re just keen on eating a lot of cucumber rolls).