Gorgeous features make this more like an Edo theme park than a conveyor belt sushi restaurant.

There are several popular conveyor belt sushi restaurant chains in Japan, and the fierce competition between them means customers are the ones that come out on top, with new menu items and locations continually being created for diners.

These days, Kura Sushi has been going above and beyond to please customers, paying particular attention to the foreign tourist market with global flagship stores that feature traditional Japanese details. Now, the chain has opened its first-ever branch in Ginza, and it’s a stunning global flagship inspired by the Edo period (1603-1867), when sushi first began to boom in popularity.

The store, which is the chain’s sixth global flagship, is located on the 7th floor of Marronnier Gate Ginza 2. While the exterior immediately catches the eye with lanterns, wooden signboards and bold calligraphy, the interior is just as gorgeous, with a giant noren curtain stretching through the dining area, where you can sit by the conveyor belt at booths or partitioned seating.

The design details might look more high-class compared to a regular branch of Kura Sushi, but the setup remains familiar, with diners making their own green tea using hot water faucets at the table…

▼ …and ordering from a touch screen terminal.

What is different, however, is the special “Kura Koedo” (“Kura Little Edo”) menu, which contains some exclusive items you can’t get at an ordinary branch of Kura Sushi. This menu, which is a supplement to the regular menu, is split up into three categories — sushi, tempura, and dango (skewered rice cake sweets) — and every item has a classy look to it.

The touch screen is multilingual, making the ordering process easy for everyone, but one thing that might confuse you is the pickup process, because the branch is pretty much unstaffed front-of-house.

That means the ordering, pickup and payment is all done by the customer, so when you’ve chose something from the special menu, you have to wait until the touch panel at your table tells you your selection is ready, and then you’ll need to head to the “Kura Koeda” plaza area to retrieve it.

This area is designed to look and feel like an old town filled with street stalls, as a nod to the way sushi was sold when it gained popularity as a type of fast food for everyday people.

There are three stalls — Sushi, Tempura and Dango — to match the three categories on the special menu, and customers pick up their ordered dishes from a staff member at the respective stalls.

▼ The Castella Omelette was waiting for us at the Sushi stall

Though some diners might think walking to the plaza to get their meals is troublesome, it’s actually a lot of fun, and it’s something the chain calls “Sight Eating“. This term combines the words “sightseeing” and “eating“, as it allows you to do both at the same time, similar to how people would’ve eaten their food while travelling through Japan back in the olden days.

Those who prefer to sit at their tables the whole time will want to order from the regular menu, as these items all arrive by conveyor belt. The walk for the special menu items is worth it, though, because the walls in the plaza are filled with light-up fireworks displays…and the castella-like omelette was pillowy soft and absolutely delicious!

▼ Inspired by omelettes from the Edo Period, these are completely different to the rolled omelettes you usually get at sushi restaurants these days.

Kura Sushi, or “Kurazushi” to use its local pronunciation, is famous for its Bikurapon! gacha game, which plays out on the tablet once you put five empty plates into the assigned slot at the table. Every game gives you the chance to win a variety of prizes, tempting you to keep ordering for more chances to win.

▼ The gacha game system is available at this restaurant as well.

Fans of Kura Sushi won’t be able to resist ordering a few more selections from the exclusive menu, and we highly recommend the following items.

Selected Sushi Trio Ginza (1,200 yen)

As the dish with the biggest image on the menu, and the only meal with “Ginza” in its name, this is the signature must-try sushi.

Containing sea bass, prawn, and marinated bluefin tuna, the quality is similar to that of a high-end sushi restaurant.

▼ The tuna meat is red and glossy and the prawn is huge!

▼ The Green Tiger Prawn Tempura Assortment (1,000 yen) is another delicious dish.

The star ingredient is Green Tiger Prawns, which have been sourced from Tokushima Prefecture.

You get your money’s worth here, with big, juicy whole prawns, including crispy heads, on the one plate.

For dessert, the Mitarashi Dango (150 yen) and White Bean Paste Dango (200 yen) are a great way to end the meal.

The dango are freshly grilled and beautifully presented, with a delightfully soft texture and delicious flavour.

Once you’ve finished your meal, you’ll need to pay at the self checkouts, and the area is beautifully lit with lanterns, giving it a festival feel.

This new Kura Sushi store is a fantastic place to eat good sushi while immersing yourself in the traditional culture of Japan, and it looks set to become a popular destination with foreign visitors. Unlike this other Edo-themed complex in Tokyo, where tourists are being charged 18,000 yen ($119.67) for a bowl of seafood, the meals here are much more reasonably priced, and if you’re sightseeing in Harajuku, there’s another Kura Sushi flagship store there, where you can buy exclusive sushi crepes!

Restaurant information
Kura Sushi Global Flagship Store Ginza / くら寿司 グローバル旗艦店 銀座
Address: Tokyo-to, Chuo-ku, Ginza 3-2-1, Marronnier Gate Ginza 2, 7F
東京都中央区銀座3-2-1 マロニエゲート銀座2 7F
Open 11:00 a.m.-11:00 p.m. (from 10:20 a.m. on Saturdays and Sundays)

Source, images: Press release
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