Great places to take the family, sushi-train chain stores are convenient, cheap and more or less tasty. But you have to leave your sushi-snob sensibility at home. You're paying around JPY100 per plate at these stores so it would be a surprise indeed if you discovered jewels of mastery in form and flavour.
What you will discover, however, is family-friendly fun, easy eating and even easier paying, especially if you arrive on a special campaign day where plates are often as low as JPY90. Hamazushi is one sushi-train restaurant with stores located literally all over Japan. Finding one won't be difficult.
One such store can be found in Yashio City, about twenty minutes from Akihabara on the Tsukuba Express Line. Located on the second floor of Frespo Yashio shopping centre, daytime visits to the Hamazsushi here have rarely been busy. Naturally, this changes come the evening so if you can avoid the rush, I highly recommend it.
Entry into the store sees a robot greeting you with a chest plate touch screen to make your seating reservation. Input the number of people and choose where you would like to be seated - table or counter - and then wait for the staff to announce your ticket number. It's quite easy.
So too is ordering. Standard practice now at sushi-train chain stores, electronic ordering touch-screens feature at each table with the menu can be switched to English making ordering a breeze. Of course, you can always choose one of the plates riding the train as they go past but nothing beats the alarm of your order zooming up to your table.
Along with sushi, Hamazushi offers side dishes, desserts, and drinks. Ordering follows the same touch-screen procedure. Remember to touch the screen for your bill once done. A staff member will turn up, count and confirm your plates and then see you off to pay.
Easy to eat at and easy to enjoy, Hamazushi is no high-end sushi bar but for what it offers, it doesn't have to be.