Eating out in Tokyo is affordable if you follow a few basic budget tips and if you know where to look for your next meal. The great thing about Japanese cuisine is that cheap does not necessarily mean unhealthy. For just a few yen you can feast on delicious ramen, udon soup, fresh sushi, noodles, curry and donbori.
Here’s our quick guide to dining on a budget in Tokyo:
Tip 1: Eat Local
Make it your mission to seek out the best value local food and avoid western style restaurants, which will invariably cost more.
Tip 2: Make lunch your main meal of the day
Come lunchtime, seek out restaurants that cater to the business lunch crowd. Not only is it healthier to make lunch your main meal of the day, but also you can enjoy an excellent two or three course lunch set for a fraction of what it would cost in the evening.
Tip 3: Check out the local 7-Eleven
Convenience stores in Japan are invaluable for a cheap breakfast or snack. They sell rice balls, bread and even ready-to-eat meals.
Tip 4: Buy a guidebook
Guidebooks always list places to eat for budget travellers as well as the best places to go for a splurge!
Tip 5: Check out the department store restaurants
These places can offer some great lunch deals.
Tip 6: Try a Sukiya restaurant
This inexpensive restaurant chain is all over Tokyo and specializes in delicious curry style dishes that are sure to fill you up, and fast.
Tip 7: Beware of sushi-trains!
Generally speaking, ‘sushi-train’ type restaurants (self serve restaurants where you select your own dishes from a conveyer belt) are good value. Be warned, however, you will need to exercise a bit of self control and be aware of the value of your food selection as each plate attracts a different price point according to its color. It is surprisingly easy to completely blow the budget.
Tip 8: Treat yourself at least once
Remember: you are on holiday!