Amazing rental service lets you take the conveyor belt out of the sushi restaurant and back to your home!

Before the pandemic, restaurant takeout and delivery services in Tokyo were pretty limited compared to other big cities around the world. However, after the government placed restrictions on opening hours for restaurants and encouraged people to stay at home, businesses were forced to think outside the box, adding services like online ordering, vending machines, and even contactless payment and pickup options.

For Kappa Sushi, one of the country’s largest conveyor belt sushi restaurant chains, they knew takeout alone wasn’t going to be enough to keep their customers happy. They needed something to make them stand out from their competitors, and so they came up with the brilliant idea of a “Rental Kaiten Lane” service.

Kaiten Lane” translates to “Revolving Lane”, which is what the conveyor belts are called in Japan, so this new service allows diners to take a conveyor belt home with them, so they can enjoy all the fun of the restaurant’s revolving sushi experience in their own dining rooms.

The rental method is simple — all you have to do is contact the store, by phone or in person, and let them know the date you’d like to rent the belt, plus order at least 3,000 yen (US$25.98) of takeout sushi. Then you turn up on the day, pay for your order, plus the rental fee, according to the length of time you want to rent it for, and you’ll get to take this giant box home with you.

▼ Our Japanese-language reporter Yayoi Saginomiya decided to trial out the rental service for us.

The overall size of the “lane”, as the company calls it, is 125 centimetres wide by 34 centimetres deep by 12.5 centimetres high (49 by 13.4 by 4.9 inches). It doesn’t weigh that much, so it’s not too cumbersome to carry from the restaurant to your car.

You will want to go by car to pick up the set, though, or otherwise have a couple of other people with you to help carry everything, as you’ll also receive a big box of around 30 small plates, plus your take-out sushi.

Because the lane comes completely assembled, it’s super easy to set up once you get home — just place it on a table and plug it into an outlet.

▼ The conveyor belt can hold up to 15 dishes at a time.

▼ Once you’ve set the conveyor belt up on your table, that’s when the fun begins!

▼ Simply set the plates on the lane.

▼ The plates come with the Kappa Sushi logo on them, just like the ones at the restaurant.

▼ Then place two pieces of sushi on each of the plates. Yayoi purchased a platter for 3,080 yen, which was enough for four servings.

▼ With everything set up, all that’s left to do is press the switch on the side of the lane and watch it whir into action!

The conveyor belt starts rotating straight away, with a slight rattle from the plates that you get used to after a while. The effect was so amazing Yayoi couldn’t help but let out a squeal of delight. It was just like being at Kappa Sushi!

▼ Yayoi even added some drinks and desserts for a true Kappa Sushi experience.

It wasn’t just Yayoi that was excited by the at-home conveyor belt sushi — her children loved it as well, squealing “wow!” at every morsel that rolled past them.

▼ Then they got straight to eating.

▼ And eat they did, because after just a few minutes, the plates began piling up.

Yayoi asked her children what they thought of it, and in between mouthfuls they told her:

“It’s fun to feel like we’re at Kappa Sushi at home!!!!”

Yayoi could definitely relate. There’s something so special about seeing an abundance of food roll by in front of you and knowing that you can reach out and grab whatever takes your fancy.

Not only does the conveyor belt help to recreate the Kappa Sushi experience at home, but the morsels of food do as well, seeing as they’re exactly the same as what you’d eat inside the restaurant.

The speed of the conveyor belt is a little faster than Yayoi is used to, but it wasn’t too fast to prevent her from picking up the dishes she wanted, especially as everything was well within reach.

▼ Check out the conveyor belt in action below!

As she and her children came to the end of their meal, Yayoi began to wish they could keep the neat contraption forever, but alas, she’d chosen the 3,300 yen rental plan, which meant she had to return the lane by 9:00 p.m. the next day.

The other plans were priced at 2,200 yen, for returns by same-day close of business, and 2,750 yen for returns by 11:00 a.m. the next day. All rentals require a 2,000-yen deposit that’s returned to you once you return the lane and the washed plates.

The Rental Kaiten Lane service, which began on 21 May last year, is currently available at the following five Kappa Sushi locations:

  • Itabashi (Tokyo)
  • Nerima Nukui (Tokyo)
  • Kawasaki Ichinotsubo (Kanagawa Prefecture)
  • Ikuno (Osaka Prefecture)
  • Minamitsumori (Osaka Prefecture)

Yayoi reckons her rental plan, which gave her unlimited use of the machine for one night and two days for just 3,300 yen, was an absolute bargain. It’s hundreds of dollars cheaper than Kappa Sushi’s previous conveyor belt rental service, which cost a whopping 80,000 yen, so she’ll definitely be making use of the plan again in future.

And next time, she’ll try out this supermarket sushi hack, to really elevate her mini conveyor belt sushi experience!

Photos © SoraNews24
● Want to hear about SoraNews24’s latest articles as soon as they’re published? Follow us on Facebook and Twitter!
[ Read in Japanese ]