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 (read: 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 Zushi

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 ¥116, tax included.

Gansozushi Asakusa Honten
Ganso Zushi is always a good choice | Photo by Gregory Lane

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.

Shinjuku branch address: 1-15-5 Nishi-Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo

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Uobei

At ¥110 per plate for decent sushi, Uobei is another great kaiten-zushi option. Their most popular branch is located in central Shibuya. Uobei (魚べい) is run by the same company that runs Genki Sushi (元気寿司), another popular budget chain, which we also recommend — just that Genki doesn’t have any branches in Tokyo anymore.

Sushi plate at Uobei Sushi
Sushi at the touch of a button | Photo by Chris Kirkland

The atmosphere at Uobei is pleasant, the grub is good, and the staff are friendly. Unlike some other kaiten-zushi restaurants, you must personally order all your sushi via a tablet, which has multiple language settings. They don’t have a regular conveyor belt. This method saves the shop money and gets you the freshest food.


Best Value Flights To Tokyo

Shibuya branch address: 2-29-11 Dōgenzaka, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo

Sushi-rō

best budget sushi tokyo
We can’t remember what this was, but it was good | Photo by Grace Buchele Mineta

Sushi-rō is one of the most beloved budget sushi chains in Tokyo, popular among college students and families with young children. With branches all throughout Japan (even in Hokkaidō), Sushi-rō has gotten the practice of getting you in, fed, billed, and out again down to an art.

You can either choose your items from the conveyor belt or order from the screen in front of you (which has English, Chinese, and Korean language settings). Plates start at ¥110 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.

Basically, Sushi-rō is a good, “safe,” cheap, and delicious dining option. Similar to Uobei, you’ll find a branch in Shibuya, but there are also dozens of branches around Tokyo — look for the katakana スシロー.

Shibuya branch address: 23-5 Udagawachō, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo

best budget sushi tokyo
Eat all the things. Without using all the yens | Photo by Grace Buchele Mineta

Katsu Midori

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. You can also make reservations in advance by calling the day before.

Aside from the long lines, look for the Japanese characters 活美登利. Locations include Ikebukuro and Shibuya.

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.

The branch on the 8th floor of the Seibu department store in Ikebukuro.
The branch on the 8th floor of the Seibu department store in Ikebukuro | Photo by Adriana Mazza

Most plates will set you back between ¥121 and ¥231, and that includes not only your standard excellent sushi dishes, but also fried chicken, tempura, soups, and more. You order on an iPad (don’t worry, there’s an English menu) and the food comes to you in a matter of minutes.

Ikebukuro branch address: 1-28-1 Minami-Ikebukuro, Toshima-ku, Tokyo

Sushi Zanmai

cheap sushi restaurants in tokyo
The “ichininmae” (one person) nigiri sushi lunch set | Photo by Gregory Lane

Look no further than Sushi Zanmai (すしざんまい) 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 ¥850¥4,000 and come with soup, salad, and unlimited green tea. There’s an English menu.

Shinjuku branch Address: 1-1-15 Ōkubo, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo

Uogashi Nihon-ichi

Uogashi standing sushi customer
Uogashi standing sushi! | Photo by Gregory Lane

Uogashi Nihon-ichi is an excellent value standing sushi bar. While this chain is slightly pricier than the conveyor belt sushi places on this list (their lunch sets starts at ¥980), its value is doubly reflected in the quality as you don’t have to “pay” for the costs of having seats. Uogashi Nihon-ichi 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 (魚がし日本一) around popular tourist destinations like Akihabara, Shinjuku, and Shibuya.

Akihabara branch address: 1-17-6 Soto-Kanda, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo

Nemuro Hanamaru Ginza

For a more upscale conveyorbelt 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.

Ginza branch address: 5-2-1 Ginza, Chūō-ku, Tokyo

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. Lunch time is when you’re most likely to score sushi at a much friendlier price point.

Sushi Katsura

best budget sushi tokyo
An assorted platter | Photo by Gregory Lane

Sushi Katsura is located right in 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 no English menu. If you don’t speak Japanese, try to go with a friend who can.

Address: 2-15-4 Tsukiji, Chūō-ku, Tokyo

Motodane

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 lunch time 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 rice bowl, which costs about ¥1,000.

Address: 6-25-4 Tsukiji, Chūō-ku, Tokyo

Suke Sushi

Located just beside Toyama park in Shinjuku is Suke Sushi, a neighborhood sushi restaurant. For the best deals, try to go at lunch time. They offer 10 pieces of sushi for ¥700 and 15 pieces for ¥900, 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.

Address: 3-6-10 Toyama, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo

Mikorezushi

Mikorezushi is a sushi restaurant not too far from the west exit of Shinjuku. Their lunch sets go for about ¥750, which you can upgrade to a bigger size for an extra ¥200 or so. 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.

Address: 2-14-1 Yoyogi, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo

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).

*For more on cheapo eats, our ebook has a complete guide on eating extreeeemely well on a budget (and not just sushi). Also, if you’re feeling a little fancier, we have a bunch of favorite sushi joints that are a little more upmarket, but won’t break the bank.

Pro tip: For a visual guide to the various types of sushi, check out SushiUniversity.

This post was originally published on July 25th, 2014, and is occasionally updated. Last updated in June 2022.
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