Kids Web Japan

Ishikawa: Conveyor Belt Sushi

Conveyor belt sushi transported by lane

Rolling Out the Sushi in Ishikawa

Ishikawa Prefecture is on the Sea of Japan coast and has an abundance of delicious, fresh seafood. The prefecture is known for having heavy snowfalls in the winter, so in spring, the melting snow water pours into paddy fields, helping rice grow healthy and strong. With a steady supply of fish, water and rice, it’s no wonder that Ishikawa has so many kaiten-zushi (conveyor belt sushi) restaurants, many of which are renowned throughout Japan. Ishikawa is also home to the top manufacturer of conveyor belts for sushi lanes, another reason why this type of sushi dining is so popular here.

Traditionally, sushi is prepared on request by a sushi chef. Place your order, and then the chef will make the sushi and serve them one at a time. At kaiten-zushi restaurants, you can choose from the selection of ready-made sushi that rolls by your table. When something you fancy comes along, grab the plate and eat the sushi. Kaiten-zushi is cheaper than traditional sushi restaurants, and as the plates are color-coded according to price, it’s easier to stay on budget. If you want to try a wide selection of sushi at a reasonable price, kaiten-zushi is a great choice.

Some kaiten-zushi restaurants also have a sushi chef who will prepare your order on request.

Straight from Sea to Sushi

In the sea off the coast of Ishikawa, warm southern currents and cold northern currents meet, attracting many migrating fish. The abundance of plankton means the fish caught in Ishikawa are well-fed, and they are known for being rich in flavor.

Top-class seafood can be caught in Ishikawa throughout the year too, including some considered to be gourmet items in Japan, like winter crab and the very expensive black throat sea perch. At a kaiten-zushi restaurant, the menu changes with the season meaning you can enjoy freshly caught fish whenever you visit.

Omicho Market in Kanazawa City, Ishikawa, is popular with locals and tourists. Here you can buy locally caught fish and locally produced rice, salt, soy sauce, and other food from Ishikawa.

Omicho Market has served the people of Kanazawa for over 300 years. It has around 170 shops, and is a great place to taste local delicacies.

Gold Leaf Sushi in Ishikawa

One of the best things about kaiten-zushi is the wide selection of food on the menu. In addition to sushi, most restaurants offer a selection of side dishes and dessert, from fried chicken, udon and French fries to ice cream and cake. Perhaps one of the more elaborate sushi dishes in Ishikawa is gold leaf sushi. Gold leaf is a well-known craft of Ishikawa, made by beating and stretching gold until it is as fine as paper. It is used in many traditional crafts and since it is edible, in some food too.

Ishikawa is one of the only places where you can eat gold leaf sushi at a kaiten-zushi restaurant.

There is also an extensive variety of side dishes such as chawanmushi (savory custard), pudding, fried chicken, and cuisine using local vegetables.

During the Edo period (1603-1868), Ishikawa was ruled by one of the richest and most powerful clans of the time, the Kaga Clan. Their wealth enabled the development of a refined and elegant culture, which can be seen even now in the area, everything from the local architecture, to kimono, pottery, and gold leaf craft.

The cultural legacy of the Kaga Clan continues to influence modern day Ishikawa and food is no exception. A notable feature of the region is that the appearance of food is considered just as important as its taste. When visiting Ishikawa, it’s always fun to experience the elegant tradition, and enjoy some delicious and luxurious food found in kaiten-zushi restaurants.