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Inexpensive Lunch in Tokyo

Updated on September 1, 2007

Save money in Tokyo with the foods the local folks eat

Today I can see a lot of visitors and guests who are from overseas in and around Tokyo.

As a native Japanese, sometimes I wonder where those people go to eat and what they eat. The chances are that probably they might end up eating at a McDonald's or some posh restaurant in the hotel they are staying at.

When you are in the Tokyo area (or wherever in Japan in this context), you can probably enjoy your local meal like sushi or sashimi if you are accompanied by a local (i.e., Japanese) friend (or co-worker) of yours or two. (I assume such a Japanese speaks pretty good English so that s/he can communicate with you.)

That would be easy because she or he can help you with most nitty-gritty part of eating out in Japan: reading menus and ordering in Japanese.

Of course, if you are very fluent in Japanese and have guts to go to eat where you find no "gaijin" at all but just yourself, you are going to be all right. But I have seldom seen such a visitor at inexpensive but pretty good restaurants or eateries to which I often go. That is one of the reasons to write about this topic in here.

I do understand that it is a quite challenge for you, unless you are a Japanese-ready visitor like I just mentioned, to get into a local fast food restaurant or convenience store and eat whatever the locals take.

That is because most waiters/waitresses or stuff at local restaurants in Japan do neither speak nor understand English or other languages.

However, if you do so, I believe it will be a very eye-opening and exciting experience for you during your stay in Tokyo no matter how long you stay in this country. (In my case, I try to eat what the locals do when I travel outside Japan, needless to say.)

All you need is some knowledge about the food, hopefully some knowledge about the Japanese language, and, most importantly, your guts and willingness to try new things.

In this hub thing, I would be really happy to help you with your next lunch (or breakfast or whatever) for less and for fun.

In my hub topics, I am going to cover some of popular fast-food restaurants in the metropolitan Tokyo area and give tips on the menus, how to order (with some easy Japanese conversation phrases that you can remember and use), and any precautions that you may want to keep in mind.

Lastly, isn't that kinda cool to be in a Yoshinoya and eat a bowl of gyudon (beef bowl) like a Japanese?

Yoshinoya restaurant logo (you may have seen?)
Yoshinoya restaurant logo (you may have seen?)


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    • afnfan profile image

      afnfan 8 years ago from Kawasaki, Kanagawa, Japan

      Hi guys,

      Apologies for my really tardy reply, and thanks to your comments. Yeah, I do go to a Yoshinoya sometimes and eat a guydon.

      Maybe I might have written, but a Yoshinoya does NOT have any ticket vending machine, unlike other Japanese fastfood restaurants.

      Cocos curry house/Coco Ichi bans is also where you can eat inexpensively, which is good.

      Nowadays, I feel more Japanese are going to those inexpensive fastfood restaurants because of the stagnant economy with higher unemployment rates ... :-(

    • profile image

      sisters oregon 8 years ago

      I love Yoshinoya. And if your in Japan you have to try Coccos curry house. or cocco Ichi Bans

    • profile image

      Brian 8 years ago

      Nice read! When I was on vacation in Tokyo it actually took me 3 days before I dared to enter one of Tokyos many food stalls. The Yoshinoya is an all too familair logo. What I like best is -even though I'm able to read, write, and understand veeeery little Japanese- the fact that there are ticket machines at a lot of those places. They make things very convienient. You just trow in some yen, press a button, recieve ticket, give it off at the chef, and listen for your dish to be called out.

      Good stuff, I can't wait to return to Tokyo. :)