Eating Out on a Budget in Tokyo

For a student in Tokyo, time and money are major concerns. Though you want to be thrifty with food, you still want to make sure you’re eating healthy food that tastes good. Also, with hectic schedules, you might prefer to study or absorb Japan’s culture rather than cook. A convenient solution is to eat out or buy prepared meals.

Tokyo can be expensive if you don’t know where to get good, affordable meals. Still, there are several dining places whose prices won’t put a hole in your pocket.

The term “B-class gourmet” was coined in 2009 when simple but tasty budget meals were made available. It’s a smart, frugal way to dine. Japanese pubs known as izakayas and meat-grilling restaurants called yakiniku offer these B-class gourmet meals.

Here are some affordable options for eating out in Tokyo, from B-class gourmet meals to mega-cheap restaurants that offer you a hearty meal.

Sukiya | CLF

Sukiya – a restaurant chain that serves delicious gyudon, curry, and donburi. Prices vary depending on the meal, but most are way below ¥1000 ($13). They are all around Tokyo.

Kin no Kura Jr. – the well-lit interior of this izakaya has a traditional Japanese ambience. It’s open from 7 days a week, 5-11:30pm. All items are ¥284 (roughly $3.67). Opened in May 2009 by Sanko Marketing Foods, it’s one of the pioneering pubs to offer a set price for food and drinks. It has over 165 items on the menu, including meat dishes, sushi, and fried food snacks. Part of the fun is picking what to eat.

Tsukiji Sushi-Go-Round – all plates are priced at around ¥120 ($1.54) and offer a fresh assortment of sushi. You choose your plates from a revolving conveyor belt. Store hours are 11am-11pm. There are other conveyor-belt sushi places that are also affordable. In some restaurants, the plates are color-coded and priced according to color.

Sushi-go-round. | craigemorsels

Bucchigri Sakaba – another low-priced Japanese pub that opened in December 2009. The food and drinks in the menu range from ¥105 to ¥399 ($1.36- $5.17), but most are priced at ¥294 ($3.81.) Skewered beef ribs, or gyuu kushiyaki jyo karubi, is a crowd pleaser.

Typical yakiniku. | singingbeagle

Yakiniku Haykuenya – yakiniku means “grilled meat dishes,” and this establishment specializes in delicious and affordable grilled food. Prices range from about ¥100 – ¥500 ($1.30-$6.46.) The most expensive is yakiniku negi shio tan, or salted tongue with green onions,  at ¥500 (approx $6.46.) They have generous portions and homemade desserts. The interior has a trendy vibe. Store hours are 5pm-5am, 7 days a week.

Note: Prices are subject to change, so check these places out soon!