No one can disagree that when it comes to sushi, Hokkaidians definitely have something to be proud of. Hokkaido, surrounded by three oceans of both warm and cold currents, is the source of some of the highest quality and freshest seafood in the world. Few restaurants take advantage of this fresh seafood bounty as well as Nemuro Hanamaru, one of Sapporo’s most popular conveyer belt sushi restaurants. Nemuro Hanamaru is located on the 6th floor of the JR Tower Stellar Place, right next to the Daimaru department store.

Are you ready for a long line? Hope the answer is, “Yes!” When you get there you will greeted by an large group of customers who got there before you to grab a spot in line. Check out the wait time and sign your name on the wait list. Expect an average wait of up to a half hour during normal times, and possibly up to two hours on a weekend or a public holiday. You may want to bring a book, or, after you put your name down to be seated, sneak away to check out a few of the nearby stores. If you want to try this top kaiten sushi restaurant without the wait, then it’s best to avoid lunch and arrive before dinner, between 3pm and 5 pm.

The long lines are a testament to the popularity and quality of this restaurant. The sushi toppings are fresh and large – so much so you may barely be able to see the rice underneath as it passes by you on the conveyor belt. Enjoy side menu items such as delicious crab soup, salmon soup, and other daily soup specials. Don’t leave without trying their Japanese-style fried chicken, called “zangi.” Thick, juicy cuts of chicken are cooked in a light garlic batter and seasoned with a bit of fresh lemon juice. Ironically enough, it’s not sushi, but it’s one of their most delicious signature dishes. In addition to that there are side dishes such as french fries, soba, salad, fruits, juices, and desserts, which will makes it a great place for kids as well as those who may not be sushi aficionados. As is Japanese tradition at any sushi restaurant, green tea is available self-serve, all you can drink, that you can prepare yourself at the counter. Beer and sake are also available.

While there are booths reserved for parties of 3 or more, you will most likely be seated at the counter. An English menu is available if needed. The staff and chefs are highly energetic, and you can watch the action of all sushi being prepared right in front of you. Feel free to grab anything off the conveyer belt that you find appetizing, or fill out the sushi card and pass it to the chef in front of you for the freshest experience. Either way, the experience is perfect here.

This post is also available in: Japanese