Sushi is very nearly synonymous with Japan and its culture. Virtually everyone in the world knows that sushi comes from Japan and is probably it’s most recognizable export (besides electronics and cars). How popular is sushi in Japan? Probably slightly more popular than in the U.S. and larger cities in the U.S. have at least five to ten sushi restaurants!

by ishida hideo

Sushi has been around since at least t

he fourth century B.C. in Asia, but as it is known today emerged during the Edo Period in Japan (1603-1868).

Sushi is basically rice with fish and vegetables rolled up or neatly made in slightly larger than bite size pieces. Anyone who has been to a sushi restaurant knows that there are numerous types of the dish, which include:

  • Maki Sushi (rolled sushi): The most recognizable type of sushi, like the California roll, is rolled with rice, vegetables and seafood.
  • Nigiri sushi: The fish sits on top of the rice.
  • A bowl of rice topped with sashimi
  • Vegetables and egg on top of sushi
  • Box sushi (literally, sushi made with the aid of a box)
  • Inari sushi (“God of Harvest” sushi) with fried bean curd. This type of sushi is enjoyed by many and is also offered to the fox in the god of the harvest Shinto shrine.

Sushi is not limited to meat eaters, but vegetarians and vegans can enjoy sushi as well. There are “sushi” rolls made with rice and vegetables, such as avocado and asparagus, for non-meat eaters.

The most popular sushi in Japan are nigiri sushi, inari sushi and maki sushi. They can even be found in convenience stores!

So what’s the proper way to eat sushi? With your hands or with chopsticks? Both ways are acceptable, though eating with hands is the preferred method. In both instances, you dip the sushi in soy sauce and enjoy!

There are many places you can buy sushi. There is the modern sushi shop, which is much like a sit down restaurant. Kaiten sushi, or “conveyer-belt” sushi is a type of sushi shop that literally places plates of sushi on a conveyer belt and the customer chooses which sushi s/he wants to eat. Then there is the home delivery sushi restaurant. Sushi is not limited to just these types of places, but rather you can even buy it in a convenience store.
So how much does sushi cost in Japan? Surely, it must be cheaper than in the U.S.? Not necessarily! The cheapest sushi is

usually 100 yen for two pieces. Restaurants that have menus without prices tend to charge much more for sushi and these are usually the sit-down restaurant sushi shops. Here, you cannot buy just one piece of sushi, but must order a plate, which can cost upwards of 5000 yen. Prices change daily. Kaiten sushi restaurants are cheaper and the cheapest piece of sushi at these restaurants, usually inari sushi, cost roughly 50 yen. Sushi from a home delivery shop will cost 600 to 800 yen for an order.

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