Japan is a food haven for a lot of people. So many good places to eat and satisfy your cravings for ramen, sushi etc that I will no longer dare mention where is the best place to eat as I’m sure you’ll find out for yourself. Or, have read it in food blogs or other sites. Some are pricey, some are not.
What I want to share are some of our family’s favorite cheap finds in Japan.
- Ohsho – founded in 1967 and known for its low-priced fare is a Japanese restaurant chain serving gyoza (fried dumplings) and other Chinese-style food. There are over 600 restaurants in Japan. It is everywhere in Osaka and Kyoto. Unfortunately in Tokyo, we had a hard time looking for one. The only restaurant we found there is located somewhere in Shibuya.
- Pablo – cheese tart that we found in Shinsaibashi, Osaka and Shibuya, Tokyo. You will not miss this because the locals are lining up to buy this melt in your mouth creation. The family devoured this in seconds.
- Shirokuma – Japanese curry house that we found in Osaka near our hotel in Shinsaibashi. Quite good and the staff was very friendly plus there’s free wi-fi. This is a “counter style” place as in most of the places to eat in Japan. People go in, eat and leave.
- Yoshinoya – although it can be found in our home country (Philippines), this is one of our favorite go-to fast food restaurant in Japan. It’s a good place to fill the tummy especially for a family with picky eaters (kids) and it is reasonably priced too.
- Sukiya – another fast food restaurant that is abundant in Tokyo. Cheap and will fill your hungry tummy after miles and miles of walking. Quite good but beware because the crew is very lean. Sometimes there’s only one person serving the whole restaurant. Japanese are efficient and there’s no question that they can do it but you’ll also get lost in translation because some of the crew don’t understand english. My daughter complained that she ordered curry but got served with beef bowl. ha!ha! Check out their menu at: http://www.sukiya.jp/
- Hidakaya – a very good and affordable ramen place in Tokyo. Offers smaller size bowls at a cheaper price. They offer gyoza, chicken karaage and fried rice too which is great because my kids are not too keen on eating ramen. Look for this sign and you’re in the right place! Their website is: http://hidakaya.hiday.co.jp/
- Lotteria – started out in Japan in 1972 but is more popular in South Korea. The kids love this place and their order is always “the big boneless fried chicken”. It’s an alternative to McDonald’s. My personal favorite is the Shrimp Burger. I just don’t know if they offer it all year round. Again, this place is value for your money. Here’s their website: https://www.lotteria.jp/
Aside from these places, one should not miss going to the local market where you can find more places to eat sushi, sashimi and a lot more. In Osaka we went to Kuromon Market. Not only can you eat good food in the market but you can also shop for kimonos, food stuff to bring home etc.
The trip is not complete if we don’t step in at McDonald’s where they served Green Tea shake. It is the kids preference when they get tired eating Japanese food. They also love 7-Eleven, Lawson’s and Family Mart because of the many food choices in these convenience stores.
Another way to find good and cheap food are bento boxes sold in the grocery/supermarkets. When you visit a department store, try to check out the basement where the grocery is usually located. It is where you can find good stuff and where some of the locals buy their meal.
Of course, when you go and explore places you are bound to discover something that will interest your palate. Or there will be recommendations from other food blogs on what and where to eat. Just savor it. Enjoy every moment and don’t be afraid to try new things.
Lastly, when you are in Dotonbori area in Osaka, don’t forget to eat Takoyaki!
the traveling KANGaroo