Our four year old son’s favorite restaurant is a chain conveyor belt (kaiten) sushi restaurant called Sushi-ro. What it lacks in romance, it makes up for in price and convenience. Sushi-ro has locations across Japan and even in China. Other kaiten zushi shops in Utsunomiya include Genki-sushi and Sushi-hana-te. Genki sushi's selection is not so tasty for us, but the bullet train (shinkansen) they use to deliver sushi on at their Kanuma branch delights younger folks. Sushi-hana-tei seems to be slightly more expensive than Sushi-ro with similar quality but as of writing, no touch panels for ordering. Sushi-ro happens to have a shop near us (Tsuruta, Utsunomiya), so we go there. Also, I like their menu best.
We aim for either a late lunch or early dinner so as not to have to wait for a seat. Noon and seven in the evening are probably the busiest times. Give your name at the reception computer, and you will be called when a table is available. We like to wash our hands at the entrance basin which has anti-bacterial soap and a hand drier.
Once our name is called, we grab a booster seat or high chair for our little guy and get him a plastic cup of water, which he uses to cool down his green tea. All-you-can-drink green tea is one of my favorite features of kaiten zushi. Grab a cup, add a smidgen of green tea powder, press your cup against the rest under the tap at your table and enjoy.
Ordering can be intimidating for those who don’t speak or read Japanese. At Sushi-ro in Tsuruta, the touch screen menu at your table offers four language options: Japanese, English, Chinese and Korean. A chime sounds when you order comes around, on a little pedestal.
My son’s favorite dish is tamago zushi, sweetened omelette on rice with a strip of nori in between. Sushi-ro is the only kaiten zushi shop I have found which offers some sushi topped with avocado sauce or crushed nuts. Check out the limited time sales on the “Chef’s Recommendations” section of the menu. I found tasty cooked, shelled crab legs listed there. Almost all plates at Sushi-ro cost Y105.
Typically my husband and I eat about a dozen plates of sushi each, while my son has his egg dish, something bland like a cucumber roll and a slice of melon for dessert. I tried “crab’s brains” (no kidding that is what it was called; "kani miso" in Japanese) for the first time during my last visit to Sushi-ro; not bad if you don’t mind the fishy aftertaste.
On Sushi-ro's Japanese website, click on the area of the map where you want to find a Sushi-ro, then check below the address of the location to see if there is a touch screen icon indicating the location has this multi-lingual technology. You can also find out if it is wheelchair accessible. If you can't read the address, try pasting it into a Google search box and choosing "Google translate."
Here's a video (not taken by me) of a typical visit to Sushi-ro.