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Japan Tours and Life Style

Complete guide to Sushi (寿司) in Japan [Sushi Types, Ingredients, Restaurants & Etiquettes]


 In this article, I am writing about different types of Sushi, ingredients. How to eat Sushi the correct way, popular restaurants in Japan, Conveyor belt Sushi restaurant and points to keep in mind at sushi Restaurant.  

Japan has a variety of dishes in their kitchen like Ramen, Okonomiyaki, etc. But if you ask a foreigner about Japanese food, most of them will first say, Sushi. The popularity of Sushi worldwide is like tourists often see it as a representative dish of Japan. 


  1. What is Sushi made of? Is Sushi a raw fish?
  2. Is Sushi to eat?
  3. What does Sushi mean to Japanese people?
  4. Difference between Sushi and Sashimi 
  5. Different types of Sushi
  6. Sushi Etiquettes: How to eat Sushi
  7. Conveyor Belt Sushi Restaurant Or Kaitenzushi (回転寿司)
  8. Some Popular sushi restaurants in Japan

What is Sushi made of? Is Sushi a raw fish?

 Generally, people think that Sushi is a raw fish that is not true actually. The key ingredient in Sushi is “Sushi rice.” Sushi rice is prepared vinegared rice. Other ingredients in Sushi are seafood (both raw and cooked), often raw, and Vegetables. 

These ingredients are either topped or filled inside the rice. Sushi is not only Non-vegetarian. Many types of Sushi are vegetarian too. It can be easily made at home. Here one should not get confused with onigiri, which is a rice ball. Sushi is generally served with pickled ginger, wasabi, and soy sauce. Sushi is also confused with Sashimi. I will explain the difference between Sushi and Sashimi later in this article. 

Is Sushi Safe to Eat?

  People usually think of Sushi as raw fish. But Sushi is made of cooked fish, other seafood, or vegetables, as I mentioned above. If the case is about raw fish sushi, there is no need to worry that much if you eat at a reputable sushi restaurant. Because reputed sushi restaurants take good care of fishes. And follow specific steps in handling and preparing their fish. Measures involve freezing fish at -20 degrees Celsius (-4 degrees Fahrenheit) for seven days or at -35 degrees Celsius (-31 degrees Fahrenheit) for 15 hours, killing any parasites. 

What does Sushi mean to Japanese people?

 Sushi will always be on the favorite food list of Japanese people. If you are a foreigner and want to go out on a date with a Japanese girl/boy, Sushi will never fail. Here is an example of a conversation between Japanese and a foreign friend:

Foreign friend X: Hey, would you like to go to dinner this Friday night after work? 

Japanese friend Y: yes, sure. 

 Foreign friend X: How about Sushi? Do you like it? 

 Japanese friend Y: Yes! I like it very much. Let’s go! 

This is how it will Work. 

If you ask what does Sushi means to Japanese people? There are some thoughts about Sushi as Japanese people are very Health conscious. Sushi is considered healthy food Compared to junk foods such as potato chips and high-calorie burgers because it consists of fresh seafood and rice. And Japanese people are always ready for new and tasty fish. Another reason would be its price. If it’s a conveyor belt sushi restaurant, then it will cost nearly 1,500¥/person. You can go there even if you are not much hungry. Because you have to pay according to the number of plates of Sushi you ate—one plate cost around 100 ~200¥. I will explain the system later in this article.  

Difference between Sushi and Sashimi 

When it comes to ordering fresh, Japanese seafood, you will find Sushi and Sashimi as options. People usually mix the words Sushi and Sashimi and use the term interchangeably. But these types of seafood hold some significant differences. Most Americans who don’t like raw fish refuse to eat Sushi. Let’s take an example of Nigiri Sushi from different types of Sushi that I explained in this article. I took the example of Nigiri sushi because Nigiri sushi quite resembles Sashimi. So the question arises what the difference between Nigiri and Sashimi is?

difference between Sushi and Sashimi


The difference is that Sashimi is thinly sliced raw meat. Typically, fish like salmon or tuna is served without rice. Yellowtail, shrimp, octopus, and mackerel are other types of Sashimi. On the other hand, Nigiri features a thinly-sliced drapery of raw fish topped on vinegared rice. 

  Sashimi is raw meat, but Sushi has various types; it is not true to say that Sushi is a raw fish. Sushi can be made with cooked seafood too. Also, there is vegetarian Sushi too in which ingredients are mainly vegetables. 

Different types of Sushi

 There are various and different types of Sushi, and it is not possible to explain all the Sushi. Still, I will explain the popular ones you will find:

Nigirizushi or Nigiri sushi (握り寿司)   

Sushi made by holding vinegared rice in small chunks and placing ingredients such as fresh raw fish like tuna or salmon sashimi, sometimes cooked items such as unagi (grilled eel) or yakitamago (layered omelet) on top of the sushi rice. It is said that the skill of grasping is the highlight of the gift of sushi chefs. It is one of the most popular shapes.

nigri Sushi


Makizushi or Maki Sushi or Sushi Rolls (巻き寿司)

    Maki Means’ roll’. In this Sushi, ingredients are placed in the center and, as the name says, vinegared rice wrapped evenly with nori seaweed to form a roll. This is also a prevalent type of Sushi. You often find these in convenience stores or supermarkets in Japan. 

There are mainly four variations in Maki Sushi. The main difference is in size (diameter). 

Maki Sushi or Sushi rolls


a. Hosomaki (細巻き)

     Hoso means ‘thin.’ This Sushi generally contains one single ingredient with nori on the outside of the sushi rice. The size is about 1″ in diameter. Some examples are: 

・Kappa maki, also called Cucumber roll 

 ・Oshinko maki, also called Pickled radish roll 

・Natto maki, also called Fermented soybeans roll 

・Tekka maki, also called Tuna roll 

・Negihama maki, also called Yellowtail roll 

・Kanpyo maki, also called Dried gourd roll 

・Umekyu maki, also called Pickled plum & cucumber roll 

b. Chumaki (中巻き)

  The Chu means ‘medium.’ This Sushi generally contains two to three ingredients with nori on the outside of the sushi rice. Size is about 1 to 1.5″ in diameter. Some examples are California Roll, Dragon Roll, and Spicy Tuna Roll.

c. Futomaki (太巻き)

    Futo means ‘thick.’ This Sushi generally contains two or more ingredients(usually vegetarian) with nori on the outside of the sushi rice. The size is about 2″ in diameter. Some examples are Pickled radish, kampyo gourd strips, cucumber, omelet, tuna, etc.

d. Uramaki (裏巻き)

This Sushi Roll is also known as the ‘Inside-out roll.’ As the name says, ingredients are filled in the center and on the top of sushi rice. This Sushi roll was developed in the United States. Now, it is famous all over the world. Some examples are California Roll, Dragon Roll, Rainbow Roll.

Gunkan Maki sushi (軍艦巻き寿司)

   This Sushi is made by wrapping seaweed around a small chunk of Sushi and putting ingredients on it. Its name is gunkan because its shape resembles a ‘warship’ or ‘battleship.’ Some examples of toppings are ikura, Sea urchin, carrots, sweet corn, tobiko, cucumber.

 gunkan Sushi


Chirashi sushi (ちらし寿司)

  This Sushi is made by spreading vinegar rice in a bowl or jubako and sprinkling various ingredients such as raw fish and vegetables on top of it. It is usually made in Hina matsuri and children’s day in Japan. This Sushi is easy to make at home because no shape formation is required.

chirashi Sushi


Inarizushi or Inari Sushi (いなり寿司)

    This Sushi is made by filling vinegar rice in a boiled bag-shaped fried tofu. This tofu bag is made sweet. This is sometimes served with soba or udon in one set. Inari sushi is vegetarian. So, it’s a must recommend for vegetarian people or those who can’t eat raw fish.

Inari Sushi


Oshizushi or Oshi Sushi (押し寿司)

   Oshi means ‘press.’ As the name says, vinegar rice is made in the form of a stack by placing it in a wooden box called oshibako and pressing it. After that, ingredients are layered on the rice stack and pressed. Some common examples of oshi sushi are: Mackerel smashed Sushi, saba oshizushi. These are an excellent source to improve HDL in your body.

oshi Sushi

Sushi Etiquettes: How to eat Sushi

  1. Shall I use Chopsticks or Hands? Well, there is no strict rule. You can use your hand too if you are not good at using chopsticks. Suppose you chose to eat with your hand. First, clean your hands with a wet towel. While holding Sushi in your hand, use your thumb to carry rice, index, and middle fingers to the ingredient(ネタ).
  2. Sushi is usually eaten with soya sauce. Pour a little soya sauce on your plate. And then dip a little only the ingredient part, NOT the rice part, because excess soy sauce can spoil the taste of Sushi. And dipping rice part will cause the Sushi to fall apart.
  3. Do not mix wasabi and soya sauce because wasabi is already added inside the Sushi in most traditional Sushi restaurants. So, adding wasabi to soya sauce may ruin the taste.
  4. If possible, try to put Sushi at once in your mouth. It’s unsophisticated to squeeze. Also, it’s best to put the ingredients on your tongue instead of rice. 

Conveyor Belt Sushi Restaurant Or Kaitenzushi (回転寿司)

  Kaitenzushi Restaurants, also known as a sushi train. These are very convenient. You make an order using a tablet. So, you select the Sushi you want. On a tablet, you can see the pictures of all different types of Sushi available in shop. This makes it easier to decide which Sushi you want to eat. And the prices are very reasonable. They are comparably cheaper than a traditional sushi restaurant. It starts from 100 yen per plate. And there is one piece or two pieces of Sushi on one plate. Billing is done by counting your number of plates. Plates with different colors are of different prices. 

  Your sushi plate will come via a rotating conveyor belt. Yes, this is the specialty of a conveyor belt restaurant. Your sushi plate is placed on this belt. This rotating conveyor belt winds through the restaurant (from the sushi counter to every table and seat). Of course, you will see the sushi plate passing by you of some other customer. But don’t make a mistake in picking up even if you ordered the same. A bell will ring just before your sushi plate is going to arrive. Only then you have to pick the plate. In case you picked it up by mistake, don’t put it back.    

 It’s not only the Sushi that arrives on the conveyor belt. Other items like a desert, soba, and drinks are also carried on the same conveyor belt.


Some Popular sushi restaurants in Japan

Sukiyabashi Jiro (すきやばし次郎)

Address〒104-0061 Tokyo, Chuo City, Ginza, 4 Chome−2−15
Phone: 03-3535-3600
E-mail Address: http://www.sushi-jiro.jp/

Sushi saito (鮨さいとう)

Address〒106-0032 Tokyo, Minato City, Roppongi, 1 Chome−4−5, ARK Hills South Tower, 1F
Phone: 03-3589-4412
E-mail Address: Not available

Sushi yoshitake (鮨よしたけ)

Address〒104-0061 Tokyo, Chuo City, Ginza, 7 Chome−8−13 Brown Place9F
Phone: 03-6253-7331
E-mail Address: http://sushi-yoshitake.com/

umi (海味)

Address〒107-0062 Tokyo, Minato City, Minamiaoyama, 3 Chome−2−8
Phone: 03-3401-3368
E-mail Address: http://sushi-umi.co.jp/

Sushi Kimura (寿司邑)

Address:  3 Chome-21-8 Tamagawa, Setagaya City, Tokyo 158-0094
Phone: 03-3707-6355
E-mail Address: http://www.sushikimura.tokyo/

Sawada (さわ田)

Address5 Chome-9-19 Ginza, Chuo City, Tokyo 104-0061
Phone: 03-3571-4711
E-mail Address: Not Available

Sukiyabashi Jiro (すきやばし次郎)

Address: 〒106-0032 Tokyo, Minato City, Roppongi, 6 Chome−12−2 
Phone: 03-5413-6626
E-mail Address: http://www.roppongihills.com/shops_restaurants/restaurants/00138.html

Nishiazabu Taku(西麻布 拓)

Address〒106-0031 Tokyo, Minato City, Nishiazabu, 2 Chome−11−5
Phone: 03-5774-4372
E-mail Address: Not Available







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