Kaiten Sushi in Tokyo
The company behind Gatten Sushi promises three things to their customers: make their prices reasonable, their food delicious, and show commitment to customers. On their website, they talk about showcasing Japan's best food culture to the world. In my opinion, they're already doing this quite well. The sushi is fresh, delicious, full of Japanese flavours.
I can't help but remember my first experiences at a sushi train in Australia. The sushi they serve at these "sushi trains" isn't your regular fare in comparison to Japanese sushi restaurants. But I get it, they've designed them to meet the taste buds of locals. Things like, chicken avocado, semi-dried tomato and feta, and others aren't things you find at most sushi restaurants in Tokyo, if anywhere else.
You haven't tried sushi til you've eaten sushi in Japan
I have the firm belief that you haven't really had "proper" sushi until you've eaten at a good sushi restaurant in Japan. But in the case of Gatten Sushi, even though it's a sushi train restaurant, I make an exception. Like most sushi trains, you can just take off the track travelling around the seating area, however, I recommend you order straight from the menu as they make it to order that way.
They have all your standard sushi favourites like tuna, salmon, squid, snapper, yellowtail, and more but they also have a couple special sushi dishes here. My favourite one is the flame-grilled fatty salmon sushi with green onions is a divine piece of nigiri sushi. It absolutely melts in your mouth. It's that good.
My other recommendations include, negitoro rolls (minced tuna and onions), sea bream / snapper nigiri sushi, medium fatty tuna nigiri sushi, and yellowtail nigiri sushi. Of course, there's much more on the menu than these but to start off, these are a good few. If your Japanese language skills are okay you can even customise your sushi. We asked for yuzu-shio ma-tai nigiri sushi, which is a Japanese lemon salt sprinkled on top of two pieces of sea bream and lightly flame-grilled. This would probably also go well with fatty salmon, or yellowtail.
What's great about Gatten Sushi is the quality to price ratio for all their dishes. It's not the cheapest sushi restaurant in its category but it sure does stand out for serving much higher quality sushi for how much you pay. If you've only been to the sushi joints in Shibuya or the bigger tourist destinations, you'll be pleasantly surprised by the hospitality that Gatten Sushi offers. Needless to say, we were the only foreigners dining here - which definitely makes you feel a little bit more special - in comparison to the sheep herding commonly found in other sushi trains.
Another great thing about Gatten Sushi is that they have booth seating - perfect for small groups like ours. But wait, there's more. Unlike other places, they have an all-you-can-drink juice and soft drink bar. At only about 140 yen, it's hard to say no. There's the standard free green tea, pourable from the tap at your table, a never-ending supply of gari (pickled ginger), and if you need anything else the servers are just a button or "sumimasen" away (that's "excuse me" in Japanese).
Apart from all the sushi dishes, they also have an array of side menu items, including deep fried squid, chicken karaage, edamame, and other common snack-like dishes. When you are seated at your table you are shown the daily specials from the server, which include things like clam miso soup, fresh sashimi, special sushi, and other delicious sounding dishes. For all the different things available, Gatten Sushi is such a good restaurant, even with the pickiest of eaters.
For a small group of three, two girls and myself, we spent about 4000 yen in total, so if you budget for around 1500-2000 per person you'll have more than enough food to leave you feeling satisfied. I mean, I could easily spend more than $40 just by myself in Australia at a sushi train!
As I live around Nakano, I went to the location in Shinjuku Nishi-Ochiai, however, there are many more locations across the city. It is a short 9-minute walk from Ochiai-minami-nagasaki station on the Toei-Oedo line. If you have time beforehand, check out the nearby Testugakudo park!