Japan | 6 tips for cheap eating

Japan | 6 tips for cheap eating


Japan is known as an expensive destination (which is changing), but what about the food budget? Can you eat “cheap” without breaking the bank every time you go out? Here are a few tried-and-tested tips.


First and foremost, you should know that there are plenty of places to eat in France. Japan, from Michelin-starred restaurants to very good neighborhood restaurants and street food, so if you can’t find what you’re looking for, I don’t understand! Of course you’re on a tight budget, but don’t worry, there’s something for everyone: the dishes are varied, and you’ll eat healthily and in quantity! Japan is a food paradise: it’s succulent, tasty, sometimes improbable, and you can’t get enough of it! (that’s my opinion). From Tokyo to Kyoto, Miyajima and Hiroshima, discover our 6 tips for eating out cheap in Japan.

I also invite you to read all our other articles on Japan to help you prepare for your trip:



It was the first thing we saw when we arrived in Tokyo, as you can find them on every street corner. The Konbini are convenience stores open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, offering prepared meals to be enjoyed hot or cold. These include 7/11, Lawson, mini stop and family mart. It’s a good way to save money, as the fresh section offers salads, sushi, onigiri and bento at very reasonable prices, as well as triangle sandwiches, dishes to be reheated on the spot such as noodles, rice, hot sausages, doughnuts and a variety of drinks. Bentos are very representative of Japanese cuisine. This is a compartmentalized meal tray with rice, sushi, fried chicken or beef and vegetables. Ideal for lunches costing less than 500 yen/p. You’ll also find other ancillary products such as shower gels, shampoo, magazines, cigarettes, alcohol, hygiene products, medicines… Don’t forget to come 1 or 2 hours before closing time, as prices are often low.



Eating at the market is always a more affordable and convivial way to interact with the locals. The one I loved to visit was the one in Kyoto, the “Nishiki market“. It’s a delight not only for the eyes, but also for the taste buds. You can find grilled octopus and squid skewers for 2€, condiments, sushi, matcha tea or sesame ice creams, fritters such as potato fritters, etc. (try Ai taiyaki, a delicious sweet potato fritter).



In Tokyo, the local specialities at the counter or on tiny tables made a particularly strong impression on us, and this was certainly our favorite thing to try, as the Japanese cook the famous ramen in front of you, those rich and delicious noodle soups washed down with a mizo broth. The alleyways of big cities are full of counters with wooden fronts and sliding doors. The food is quick but delicious. Some display distributors: you pay for the dish you want (note that there are sometimes no photos), collect a ticket which you hand to the chef, and within 15 minutes, you’re eating a soup or hot dish for less than 500 yen/p. Some channels are thematic: at Yoshinoya (orange and white sign), Sukiya or Matsuya, these are the gyûdon (rice with beef and onions) and donburi (garnished rice bowls) curry-rice at Coco Ichibanya’s tendon (rice and tempura) at Tenya. Marugame and Hanamaru specialize in noodles. udon. Expect to pay between ¥400 and ¥600/p for a dish. In the evening, in the lively streets of big cities, you will find street food everywhere, with stalls often serving fried food and Yakitori (grilled chicken brochettes)



As we stumbled through some buildings and offices, we came across basements housing a number of small restaurants serving economical meals either at the table or to take away (which is cheaper). Displays are set up for this purpose, with prices indicated. A little tip: all dishes prepared the same day are sold out at the end of the day! The downside is that there’s often not much room to sit down, as at break time the basements are quickly invaded by hungry Japanese. Take away to save money and eat in a park. Department store basements Depachika are dedicated to food, just perfect for sampling Japanese cuisine. Try your hand at Mitsukoshi in Nihombashi, Tobu in Shinjuku and Hikarie in Shibuya.



Noodles or instant noodles are a sure-fire way to fill your belly. They have the advantage of being very inexpensive, averaging around 300¥. They can be found in all konbini, with a wide choice of tastes and sizes. You can even heat up your meal directly in the store by pouring the hot water supplied directly into the electric kettles.



6. 100 YEN SHOP

The 100 Yen Shop is a store where almost everything is sold for ¥100 on the spot (plus tax), from bentos to other everyday products (toiletries, snacks and knick-knacks).


photo credit GaijinPot


For those who want to treat themselves during their trip to Japan, consider tasting Kobe meat, one of the world’s finest beef cuts. A dish usually costs around 50 euros. Count in the 2000 ¥/p for a normal meal (starter, main course and dessert). Beyond this price, you start to enjoy yourself without depriving yourself. In the 5000 ¥/p experience quality products and enjoy the benefits. Don’t forget that eating like a Japanese will save you money!

Before you leave, I invite you to read all our other articles on Japan to help you prepare for your trip:


Please note that as an accredited bespoke travel designer, I offer to accompany you in the creation of your tailor-made trip to Japan and create a personalized itinerary tailored to your needs. Please send me an email at : contact@mademoiselle-voyage.fr




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