Sushi has wildly differing prices from shop to shop. A sushi meal may cost anywhere from ¥1,000 to ¥20,000+ per person, it all depends on the restaurant you go to and how much you eat (and of course what type of sushi you order — bluefin tuna anyone?).
Some of the most common questions I get are “how much does sushi cost in Japan?” or “Is sushi expensive in Japan?”
You’ve probably heard Tokyo is super expensive.
And you’re right, it sure can be. But guess what.
Sushi in Tokyo can either be incredibly expensive, or remarkably cheap.
I say remarkably because I really mean it — it is worth making a remark about.
Probably the craziest thing is this. Even “cheap” sushi is delicious!
But overall, I’d say most people end up spending around ¥2,000 per sush meal in Japan (in Tokyo).
If you add extra toppings, a side dish, and a drink, like beer, you will still likely pay no more than 2,000 yen. (matcha-jp.com)
Affordable, Incredible Sushi
The chain sushi restaurants (called kaiten sushi) in Tokyo such as Sushiro, Kurazushi, Hamazushi, Kappa Sushi, etc. are about $1.00 per plate — plus tax.
According to Tabelog, there are over 350 kaiten sushi restaurants around Tokyo. (justonecookbook.com)
Update: On October 1, 2019, Japan raised the consumption tax from 8% to 10%, which includes sushi.
So rather than ¥108 per plate, it is now ¥110 per plate. Still a great deal, but I wanted you to be aware.
If you’ve read my sushi article “What Is Sushi? More Than The Raw Fish You Think It Is” then you know the neta (ネタ) is the topping — most often some kind of raw fish or seafood.
These ¥110 plates will have one or two pieces of sushi on them. Two if they are the typical, popular neta– one if they are higher-end, quality neta.
Either way, it’s a mere ¥110 per plate. That’s an incredible value — especially when you compare the price to the average sushi shop in the U.S.
Of course, that means there is something else… something so unbelievable it’s hard to imagine until you experience it for yourself.
Map of Sushiro Locations
One of my favorite affordable sushi restaurants is a conveyor-belt sushi chain called Sushiro. They’re all over Tokyo. Here’s a map:
Wildly High-End, Expensive Sushi
At the opposite end of the budget scale are the masterfully crafted sushi restaurants of legend. The shops where the master has patiently waited for the perfect product to be plucked from the Sea of Japan, delivered to the Tsukiji Fish Market (and now the Toyosu market).
The Jiro’s (from Jiro Dreams of Sushi) of Tokyo’s exclusive master-class of sushi restaurants.
These are the places you’ll have to wait months for your reservation and you’ll pay $300 for a meal you have no choice in.
The sushi master, who has dedicated his life to always improving his sushi mastery, will craft the perfect course of sushi for you to experience.
Often these shops have only counter seating where you sit front and center with the chef.
These are absolutely incredible experiences worth every penny. If not for the food, but for the sheer atmosphere and the chance to witness and feel the ambiance of a master working their craft.
You know what, why don’t you see for yourself. Here’s Mark Weins enjoying Sushi Arai in Ginza, Tokyo.
Map of High-End Sushi Restaurants
Granted, not all of these are the legendary $300 sushi meccas, but are rated highly among locals. Enjoy!
And then there is…
And do you want to know what the real kicker is about supermarket sushi?
Yes… you can get it at almost any supermarket you stumble into. But that’s not the kicker.
It’s also not the incredible value. Which it is. An 8-piece set will cost around ¥398 – ¥698. That’s like $4.00 – $6.00!
The real kicker is that you’ll often find some of the best sushi around in these supermarkets!
I’m talking sushi that would cost you $30+ back home in the U.S.
So if you’re looking for something to grab and take back to the hotel, duck into a supermarket and get some delicious sushi at a fantastic price.
How to Budget
If you’re coming to Tokyo without reservations at one of the high-end sushi restaurants, I’d plan for something around ¥1,500 – ¥5,000 per person, per meal, for sushi.
At ¥1,500 at a conveyor belt sushi shop, you’ll get quite a few plates of sushi and won’t leave hungry.
Technically you could go super budget and get the supermarket sushi and then you’re talking like ¥400-¥900 per person.
But you can level up your sushi to about ¥3,000-¥5,000 and get hand-made sushi made right in front of you.
But any way you look at it, Japan is obviously the sushi capital of the world. And has the freshest, best flavored, most remarkable sushi at the best prices around too.
You can’t go wrong popping into any sushi shop in Japan — it likely won’t cost you an arm and a leg.