Eating through Japan on a Budget


Japan is definitely one of the best countries to visit but it’s also sadly not the cheapest. The cost of living is higher compared to other Asian countries and so is the cost for travelling. Don’t feel down though because there are ways to cut your cost and still enjoy Japan on a budget. One of the easier ways to save your cash in the land of the sun is to cut costs on your food budget.

You’ll be surprised to know that cheap meals in Japan aren’t half as bad as you would expect. If anything, there are many delicious meals to be had for $3 to $15 per meal! The Japanese people enjoy their cheap eats as much as fancy restaurants so there are a lot of options for budget travellers. Here are just some of the ways you can eat your heart out through Japan on a budget:

Convenience Stores

The Japanese take their convenience stores seriously. There are over 50,000 convenience stores nationwide and you’ll find that they are a good source of hot meals, snacks, and beverages throughout your stay in Japan. Stores like 7-Eleven, Lawson, and Family Mart offer bread, cakes, noodles, and rice dishes in many variants. Through conveniences stores, you can eat your way from breakfast to dinner with just $10 in your pocket.

Local Market

If you want to source the freshest produce of the day without eating at a fancy restaurant, the local market has got your back. Most supermarkets have an area dedicated to hungry customers. Here you can grab a quick bite or a full meal and get the freshest sushi and sashimi without spending a fortune.

Train Stations

Train stations may seem like an unlikely food source but you’d be surprised at how good bullet-train bentos and ramen bowls can actually be. Ekiben are bento boxed meals sold in train stations in Japan. They are typically rice based meals with a generous serving of meat and vegetables priced at about $5 to $8. You can also get sushi bento meals with cooked or processed fish.

Fast Food and Restaurant Chains

If you’re looking for authentic yet cheap Japanese meals that don’t scrimp on the flavour and serving, fast food chains are a great spot to have your lunch or dinner. Some of the most popular chains include Sukiya, Yoshinoya, and Matsuya. A nice hot bowl of gyudon – marinated beef strips served with rice, onions, and an egg – will cost around $8.If you’ve been meaning to try authentic Japanese curry, don’t miss out on a visit to Coco Ichibanya. Your $8 will get you your choice of meat drenched in their signature curry sauce that both locals and foreigners love.

Although eating in a fancy Michelin star restaurant would be a dream, you’ll find that eating cheaply in Japan wouldn’t feel like a sacrifice either. Japan is well known for its delicious cuisine and there are good meals to be had even on the streets. Eating on a budget in this country is not just possible but immensely enjoyable too.