Loosen those belts, sushi lovers! Right now in Japan you can get all-you-can-eat sushi at Kappa Zushi (かっぱ寿司), a popular kaiten-zushi (回転寿司) chain among the ranks of Kurazushi, Akindo Sushiro, and Hamazushi.
What is Kaiten-zushi?
Kaiten-zushi is a unique Japanese creation invented by Yoshiaki Shiraishi and popularized in the 70s and 80s. Customers sit at booths or counters and take any plate of sushi they like from a conveyer belt winding around the restaurant. It’s not just limited to sushi— it also has fruits, sweets, soups, fried chicken, and more. Many kaiten-zushi restaurants are only 100 yen (less than 1 US dollar) per plate of two pieces of nigiri sushi, and are thus extremely popular. Even in Japan, sushi can be expensive, and real sit down style sushi restaurants can make a sizeable dent in your pocketbook.
Plus, food looks more attractive when it’s moving, am I right?
What is Tabehoudai?
Tabehoudai (食べ放題) means “all-you-can-eat”, but note that in Japan this style of restaurants come with a time limit, usually around 90 minutes. These are not your average buffets where plates of mass-produced food sit under hot plates all day. The quality of food is much higher at tabehoudai restaurants in Japan. Most restaurants offering tabehoudai also offer nomihoudai (飲み放題), “all-you-can-drink” for an additional price, also timed.
The tabehoudai event at Kappa Zushi is on through July 14th, but only between the hours of 2 PM and 5 PM. Kappa Zushi is looking to pull in extra customers during the downtime between lunch and dinner, and it’s already working — the first day attracted a huge, hungry crowd. The only catch is that tabehoudai, as mentioned above, often comes with a time limit, in this case 70 minutes.
You can choose from 80 different items on the menu, including sushi, desserts, drinks, and sides. Men can dine for 1580 yen ($14 USD), women for 1380 yen ($12), 980 yen ($8.78) for seniors, 780 yen ($7) for elementary students, and free for children under elementary school age. Drink bar is included (self-service for all-you-can-drink soft drinks and tea). For alcohol you can tack on nomihoudai for an extra 680 yen ($6), and if you’re still not satisfied 500 yen ($4.50) will buy you an additional 10 minutes (all prices do not include tax). But seriously, we know you can get your fill in only 70 minutes. Some patrons even aim up to 30 or 40 plates!
The company plans to use the campaign to gauge which menu items are popular among which customers. For instance, they’re trying to attract more school girls and young women by offering “cafe” style items like small sweets and coffee. Be mindful, however, that the deal is limited to 20 Kappa Zushi locations (Japanese only). It’s bound to be great for busy students looking to fuel up between classes, but if you’re a slow eater, it’s probably better to just pay by the plate.
If you’re not in Japan, don’t despair— you can enjoy the fun of kaiten-zushi restaurants at certain restaurants in the U.S. and other countries!
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