Kura Sushi: Popular conveyor belt sushi chain in Osaka, Japan

A Kura Sushi located in Osaka, Japan
A Kura Sushi located in Osaka, Japan

Kura Sushi is a popular Japanese conveyor belt sushi restaurant chain known for its affordable sushi dishes. Founded in 1995, Kura Sushi today has over 450 locations in Japan along with 22 in Taiwan and 47 in the United States. On my recent visit to Osaka, I stopped by the Kura Sushi Shinsekai Tsutenkaku location in the popular Shinsekai district.

As mentioned before, Kura Sushi is known for its affordable sushi. Everything from salmon to tuna to shrimp starts at 125 yen (about $0.86). They are also well known for their conveyor belt (kaitenzushi) and tablet system which allows customers to order from a tablet or select plates as they pass by.

Ordering through a tablet is perfect for sushi newcomers or those looking to try a variety of affordable plates in a convenient way. It’s also a great option for introverts seeking limited interaction with staff, or other people, while dining.

Arrival

Given its popularity and affordable prices, it’s not uncommon to have to wait for a table at Kura Sushi locations worldwide. However, on my visit, I arrived before the dinner rush and was able to get a seat without any wait.

I can’t speak for all Kura Sushi locations, but at this location, there was a kiosk used to check-in. Luckily, they had directions in English.

All I had to do next was press the blue button on the screen, enter the number of people in my group, and press the red button to print out a ticket. On this ticket was a number, in my case 36, which corresponded to a table number. All I had to do next was walk into the dining room, find my table number, and take a seat.

Interior of Kura Sushi

Open but compartmentalized interior of Kura Sushi, Osaka, Japan
Open but compartmentalized interior

The interior of Kura Sushi reminded me of other conveyor belt sushi restaurants I’ve visited in Japan in the past. It even reminded me of my local Kura Sushi location in Los Angeles. The designs are all similar. I found the utilitarian space to be bright, maybe too bright, with a basic d├ęcor. But, you don’t visit for the ambiance but for the cheap and filling food.

The dining room featured an open layout which was separated into semi closed off tables for groups and couples. On the far side of the room was counter seating saved for solo diners. This is where I sat on my visit. Running throughout the restaurant was the conveyor belt, which passed by each table and seating area.

Kura Sushi Menu

The menu at Kura Sushi found on a tablet, Osaka, Japan
The menu at Kura Sushi found on a tablet

At Kura Sushi, there were two methods to receive plates of sushi. First, you could grab plates directly off the conveyor belt. This was the easiest way, but not every option was available. The second way was to order through the tablet. All you had to do was pick a plate, select the number of plates wanted, and order. A few minutes later, your order will arrive on the top belt in front of you.

This is what I love about Kura Sushi. As a tourist, it makes ordering food simple and allows me to explore different types of sushi without any language barrier.

While you can find the menu on the tablet, the full Kura Sushi menu can be viewed by visiting https://www.kurasushi.co.jp/menu/?area=area0.

XL Salmon with Onion

XL Salmon with Onion, Kura Sushi, Osaka, Japan
XL Salmon with Onion

First up was the XL Salmon with Onion. With the name XL on the menu, I was expecting the slices of salmon to be thicker.

The large but thin pieces of salmon, which had a fresh, salty flavor, was bright orange in color. Thin slices of onion added a spicy and crunchy bite while a dollop of mayo added an unexpected creaminess.

While simple, the combination of fresh flavors along with soft and crunchy textures made this dish stand out.

Thick XL Bigeye Tuna

Thick XL Bigeye Tuna, Kura Sushi, Osaka, Japan
Thick XL Bigeye Tuna

Next up was the Thick XL Bigeye Tuna. However, much like the salmon, my expectations of the tuna being thick or XL were not met. As anticipated, the pieces turned out to be neither thick nor XL in size.

I found the pieces of tuna to be tender, but not as tender as the salmon. It had a little bit of a bite when it should have melted in my mouth. As for its flavor, it was salty but bland. Soy sauce and wasabi helped somewhat, but this was one of my least favorite dishes of my visit.

Tuna and Green Onion

Tuna and Green Onion, Kura Sushi, Osaka, Japan
Tuna and Green Onion

Since I was still in the mood for tuna, next up was the Tuna and Green Onion. This simple gunkan sushi dish was made with diced tuna and green onions.

The diced tuna had a wonderful creamy and smooth texture. Its fresh and salty flavor impressed me far more than the Thick XL Bigeye Tuna. The addition of green onions added a refreshing and crunchy bite, along with a vibrant pop of color. For something so simple, I enjoyed this dish.

Salt Sauce Sweet Shrimp

Salt Sauce Sweet Shrimp
Salt Sauce Sweet Shrimp

Sweet Shrimp is one of my favorite sushi dishes to order on my trips to Japan. So, ordering the Salt Sauce Sweet Shrimp was an easy choice.

As with the other dishes, the shrimp was thinner than I would have hoped for. While the shrimp was tender, the toasted, smoky flavors of the sesame oil drizzled on top overpowered the delicate flavors of the shrimp. All I tasted was sesame oil when I wanted to taste the shrimp.

Seared Eel

Seared Eel
Unagi, or Seared Eel

Seared Eel, also known as unagi, is one of my all-time favorite sushi dishes. If you haven’t tried eel before, you can’t leave Japan without trying it out for yourself.

The eel was marinated in soy sauce, mirin, and sugar before being broiled until charred and smoky on the outside. The end result was a salty, smoky, sweet eel that seemed to melt in my mouth. This flavor was the definition of umami.

While the eel was thin and not the best quality, for the price, I couldn’t complain.

Yellowtail Yukhoe Roll

Yellowtail Yukhoe Roll
Yellowtail Yukhoe Roll

If I see any type of sushi containing an egg yolk, I am going to order it. So when I saw the Yellowtail Yukhoe Roll, I knew I had to get it. This gunkan sushi came with yellowtail, boiled egg yolks, and green onions.

While there were large pieces of fresh yellowtail, its simple flavor left something to be desired. A splash of soy sauce and wasabi fixed the issue. I found the seaweed to be chewy, which was unexpected. My favorite part were the boiled eggs which were cooked but still creamy, gooey, and rich.

Seared Shrimp Mayo Gratin

Seared Shrimp Mayo Gratin
Seared Shrimp Mayo Gratin

One of the more unique dishes I ordered on my visit to Kura Sushi was the Seared Shrimp Mayo Gratin. They say you eat with your eyes first, so I was hoping it tasted better then it looked.

Despite its odd appearance, the dish was enjoyable. The mayo added a creamy texture while the charred cheese added richness and a smoky flavor. Hidden underneath was simple, tender shrimp. While the combination of flavors and textures was strange, it worked.

Spicy Curry Deep Fried Chicken

Spicy Curry Deep Fried Chicken
Spicy Curry Deep Fried Chicken

For my final plate, I decided to change it up and order the Spicy Curry Deep Fried Chicken.

I was expecting the chicken to be spicy and have a distinct curry taste, but this was not the case. But, there was a small packet on the side with a Japanese spice blend that added a kick of heat.

Cooked to perfection, each piece of chicken was moist and juicy. Its breading, not too thick or thin, was not crispy but not soggy. And, it was oily and rich.

If you’re in the mood for something different, filling, and pairs well with beer, then the fried chicken would be a great choice.

Service

At Kura Sushi, and at many similar conveyor belt sushi restaurants in Japan, customers order from a tablet or pick up plates off the conveyor belt. Even drinks such as beer come on the conveyor belt at some restaurants.

I also used the kiosk to check-in, found my own seat, and again paid my bill with a kiosk. Therefore, my interaction with the staff was limited. With that said, I knew the staff was always nearby if anything was needed.

Conclusion

Will you find the best sushi in Osaka at Kura Sushi? Definitely not. What you will find is affordable plates of sushi in a casual environment. In the end, I paid 1870 yen (or about $12.93) for eight plates of sushi and a beer. I consider that a deal.

Would I recommend Kura Sushi? If you are near a location, maybe. While I have always enjoyed my visits to Kura Sushi, there are better conveyer belt sushi restaurants in Osaka that are not only better but priced similarly.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Large assortment of dishes
  • Efficient

Cons

  • Thin slices of fish in multiple plates
  • Some sushi was bland
  • Often a line

Hours

Monday-Sunday: 11:00AM-11:00PM

Address

2-6-3 Ebisu Higashi, Naniwa-Ku 2F, Osaka 556-0002 Osaka Prefecture
GPS Coordinates: 34.65187,135.50600

Map

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