Japan cheap travel

A complete guide to budget travel in Japan

 Meal on Kinkasan Island
 Meal on Kinkasan Island
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The choice and diversity of food in Japan is excellent and fortunately can be relatively cheap compared to transport and accommodation.

Many of the restaurants and food bars are not as expensive as you might think. It is easy to spot the cheaper establishments as restaurants normally display the prices together with an example of each meal, carefully sculpted in plastic, in a window display. 

Convenience Stores

Convenience stores (7-11, Lawson, and Family Mart) are an excellent source of cheap food to keep you going throughout the day. There is a convenience store located on virtually every corner in the major cities and towns and they are usually open 24 hours. They sell snacks such as o'nigiri (ride balls wrapped in seaweed) and sandwiches from around 100 yen. Also, pre-prepared meals can be heated in store and you can buy the eternal student staple; noodles to revive in hot water! Japanese pot noodles are pretty sophisticated: After adding hot water a veritable feast of noodles, meat, and vegatables will magically appear in the pot!  It is quite easy to get hot water in your hotel, particularly Business Hotels where it is often provided in the room.  

Department Stores

Department store food stalls are another good source alternative for cheap food. These are vast places with a massive variety of food including yakitori (skewered meat), riceballs, sushi boxes and so on. We used them mainly to pick up lunches during the day.

Ramen 'Noodle' Bars

When we tired of eating from convenience stores, we often ventured into noodle bars serving ramen (chinese style noodles in soup plus topping) where dinner will cost only a few hundred yen. In some of these 'stand-up' joints a bowl of soba or udon noodles starts from 250 yen.

Fast Food

If you fancy some Hamburger Fast Food in Japan, try 'Mos Burger', which is a good alternative to the more usual fast food restaurants, it is renowned using fresh ingredients from using local suppliers. For Japanese style fast food, it is hard to beat conveyor-belt sushi. Plates start from about 105 to 210 yen a plate and there is often a minimum charge of around 800 yen.

Japanese Guesthouses and Home cooked meals

Some of our best meals were at people's houses. We ate home cooked meals whilst volunteering and when staying at Minshuku guesthouses. This amazing meal (see right) was at a tiny Minshuku on the island of Kinkasan.