How to Eat Great on a Shoestring Budget in Japan

[ 0 ] June 2, 2015 |

When traveling in Japan, one of the best things to do is sample all of the marvelous food. Japanese take food to the next level, everything is so incredibly fresh, and so beautifully presented.

However, eating in Japan can also be quite expensive. It’s not uncommon to pay $50 or even $100 for meal. But that being said, there are some ways to fully take advantage of the delicious food in Japan, without having to break your budget.

Related: RA Sushi San Diego: Still Rockin’ After 10 Years

Listed below are a few of the things I did, on my recent trip to Tokyo, to be able to eat extremely well, without emptying my bank account.

Lunch specials

Saba mackerel set at a neighborhood restaurant in Tokyo, Japan/Mark Wiens, Migrationology

Saba mackerel set at a neighborhood restaurant in Tokyo, Japan/Mark Wiens, Migrationology

First thing to do is to focus your eating around lunchtime. At nearly everv restaurant in Japan, they offer lunch specials, which can easily be half the price or even less of what dinner would cost.

When I was in Tokyo, I made it my priority, to eat lunch as the main meal of my day; in fact, some days, I would even eat two or three lunches, in order to take advantage of those tempting lunch specials.

A wonderful plate of fresh sushi at lunch might just cost about 1000 – 1400 Yen ($10 – $14), while at dinner the same meal could cost 3000 Yen ($30) or even more.

Related: Marcus Samuelsson, Andrew Zimmern: Food Diversity Needed to Feed World

Department stores

vending machine

A vending machine in a restaurant is great for budget eating/Mark Wiens, Migrationology

Another way to experience the delicious food in Japan is by purchasing takeaway food from department stores.  In Japan, the basements of huge department stores are a food lover’s paradise. Nearly every kind of Japanese food you can imagine is available, and everything looks amazing.

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Category: Food & Wine, Lifestyle, Travel

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About Mark Wiens: Obsessed with food, Mark Wiens spends his time traveling the world tasting unique and delicious cuisine. He’s a travel blogger, a passionate eater, and a food video producer. Mark was born in the United States, [...]
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