In Japan, and increasingly abroad, conveyor belt sushi/sushi train (kaiten zushi) restaurants are a popular, cheap way of eating sushi. At these restaurants, the sushi is served on color-coded plates, each color denoting the cost of that piece of sushi. The plates are placed on a conveyor belt or boats floating in a moat. The belt or boat passes the sushi by the customers who can pick and choose what they want. After finishing, the bill is tallied by counting how many plates of each color have been taken. Some kaiten sushi restaurants in Japan operate on a fixed price system, with each plate, consisting usually of two pieces of sushi, generally costing ¥100.

More traditionally, sushi is served on minimalist Japanese-style, geometric, wood or lacquer plates which are mono- or duo-tone in color, in keeping with the aesthetic qualities of this cuisine. Many small sushi restaurants actually use no plates — the sushi is eaten directly off of the wooden counter, usually with one's hands.

Modern fusion presentation, particularly in the United States, has given sushi a European sensibility, taking Japanese minimalism and garnishing it with Western gestures such as the colorful arrangement of edible ingredients, the use of differently flavored sauces, and the mixing of foreign flavors, highly suggestive of French cuisine, deviating somewhat from the more traditional, austere style of Japanese sushi.