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
Arguably the tastiest and cheapest “kaiten” (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.
The branches are located all over Tokyo. You can easily find one in Shinjuku, Ebisu, and Asakusa so learn to recognize the four Japanese characters of their name: 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.
Address: 1-15-5 Nishishinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo
At ¥110 per plate for decent sushi, Uobei is another great kaiten sushi option. Their most popular branch is located in central Shibuya in an area called Dogenzaka. The atmosphere is pleasant, the grub is good, and the staff are friendly. Similar to Genki Sushi, at Uobei, you must personally order all your sushi via a tablet that has multiple language settings. They don’t have a regular conveyor belt. This method saves the shop money and gets you the freshest food.
Address: 2-29-11 Dogenzaka, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
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. They have 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 and 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.
Address: 23-5 Udagawacho, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
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. Aside from the long lines, you can find it on google maps by typing in it’s Japanese characters: 活美登利.
It’s got a reputation for being one of the better quality budget sushi establishments with locations in 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. You can also make reservations in advance by calling the day before.
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.
Address: 1-28-1 Minamiikebukuro, Toshima-ku, Tokyo
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 with 2 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. As for their menu, they offer it in English.
Address: 1-1-15 Okubo, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo
Uogashi Nihon-ichi is a standing sushi bar with excellent value. 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. They offer an English guide that shows you how to order and pay for a seamless sushi bar experience. Find them around popular tourist destinations like Akihabara, Shinjuku, and Shibuya.
Uogashi Nihon-ichi uses lots of seasonal fish and veg, so you can try new tastes throughout the year.
Address: 1-17-6 Sotokanda, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
Nemuro Hanamaru Ginza
For a more upscale conveyorbelt sushi experience stop by Nemuro Hanamaru in ritzy Ginza. Just like its cheaper counterparts, you can either have your order made or pick and choose whatever catches your fancy (from the conveyorbelt) 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 sushi restaurant, the quality alone 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.
Address: 5-2-1 Ginza, Chuo-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, minimal English, and 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’ll most likely be able to score the freshest sushi at a much friendlier pricepoint.
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’ (1 person) set of 9 pieces of nigiri sushi and one maki roll sushi is ¥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, Chuo-ku, Tokyo
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, Chuo-ku, Tokyo
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 at ¥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.
Address:3-6-10 Toyama, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo
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, don’t let us stop you. But you might want to read about these alternatives first. Oh, and take a look at this 10-yen sushi restaurant while you’re at it.
*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.