With the number of eating establishments in Tokyo somewhere around the 100,000-150,000 mark, I vowed to never waste time queuing up for a restaurant—which is an astonishingly common occurrence in Tokyo, even though line-less restaurants of equal quality abound.
I’ve proudly followed my no-waiting rule pretty strictly for about two years, that’s up until I stumbled upon Katsu Midori, the self-proclaimed “No. 1 conveyor belt sushi restaurant in Japan”—and I couldn’t agree more. Let’s break down why it’s worth the wait:
Ordering / Menu
Ordering is a big part of the experience. First off, you order from an iPad, complete with an intelligible English-language option. I usually stick to the 100-200 yen menus, which are pretty extensive—nigiri, sashimi, hand rolls, tempura, soups, fried chicken and much more—so your taste buds will never go bored if you’re eating within a budget.
Not only are the prices affordable—but the quality of ingredients soars far above any other budget sushi place I’ve been too (and I’ve been to many).
Not to mention they don’t skimp on the amount of fish either.
Once you’ve placed your order, it’s not a long wait until your plates of sushi and a supporting cast of side dishes come zipping down the tracks. When it comes, just remove your plates and press the red button to send it back to the kitchen. You can also grab whatever passes you by on the conveyor belt below—plates are color-coded and there is a price guide in front of every seat, so you’ll know how much each plate will cost. For a look at how it all works, check out this video from Japan Food TV:
In addition to the savory options, they also offer tasty desserts to end off your meal, including ice cream, pudding, mochi and coffee jelly, among others. (But really you should get the soft serve ice cream.)
Locations and wait time
I’ve only been to the Ikebukuro branch (found on the 8th floor of Seibu department store), so I can comment only on my wait times there. If you arrive as soon as it opens at 11:00 am, the wait is minimal, if non-existent. Around dinner time (17:00-20:00), be prepared to queue up for 30-60 minutes. And try to avoid weekends.
There are ten locations around Tokyo, including one in Shibuya (also in the Seibu department store) where the line wraps around the hallway and down the staircase; don’t go there. I’d recommend going to Katsu Midori in a less touristy area, like Ikebukuro, Meguro or Daikanyama.