How To Eat Cheap In Tokyo

People have a very big misconception that in order to have a good time in Tokyo, you need to spend a bomb. First, that’s really not true. You can come to Tokyo on a budget and still have a blast, because Tokyo is just a damn great city and just being in this city kind of makes me magically happy, but also, food in Tokyo is incredibly delicious! Even if you go to convenience stores, the food they have there is really yummy.

Today’s post is about how to eat cheap in Tokyo! After being here for over a year, I’ve decided to write this for my friends who don’t want to break the bank! Also, I really genuinely like cheap food, ha ha! I’m extremely un-gourmet in my tastes!


Matsuya is EVERYWHERE in Tokyo with a very recognizable logo, so even if you don’t read Japanese you and your stomach will be okay. There’s a Matsuya very near my house, and I actually eat it quite often because I find it delicious. It’s a beef bowl with rice! I usually get the Premium Gyumeshi which costs 380 yen (4 US dollars!). It’s also foreigner friendly as their vending machines have an English option. (Yes!!!)

Here’s the menu, along with prices, for your perusal!


There’s Yoshinoya in Malaysia and Singapore, and I really don’t like it back home. However, I LOVE the Yoshinoya in Japan, because it’s just so different. It doesn’t even taste like they come from the same franchise. Like Matsuya, they also serve beef bowls. They’re also curry and soup, and prices are very similar to Matsuya. One 500 yen coin will settle your lunch or dinner pangs! They don’t have an English site, but just put it through your Chrome and translate it and you can see what they have here!


OK, I promise this is the last gyudon (beef bowl) chain that I recommend. Out of the three, this my least favourite, but they are by no means mad. Again, prices are similar to Matsuya and Yoshinoya. Their site is in English, with menu and food prices there!

First Kitchen

Funny thing, Japanese people apparently call this ‘Fa-king’ as a short form, which is one of the most obscene short forms I’ve heard in a while. My ex-intern, Alisa, (who is super kickass by the way) told me this and I completely didn’t believe her but then other Japanese girls told me this too, so there’s your fun fact for the day! If you’re in the mood for burgers, try First Kitchen. They don’t have an English site, but you’ll get by with the pictures on their site. Everything is below 500 yen too!


Cheap, cheap, cheap Italian food! I really like Saizeriya and I often drag my boyfriend here for brunches. To give you an idea of prices: a salad costs 300 yen, a soup also 300 yen, appetizers for 400 yen, while pastas and pizzas are below 500 yen. Their site doesn’t have an English menu, but if you go to the shop it does, so you’ll be fine even if you don’t speak Japanese. Here’s what my boyfriend and I had the last time we went to Saizeriya:

Boyfriend likes cheese.
Boyfriend likes cheese.
Boyfriend goes for ham pizza. Not the best presentation, but good enough on the tastebuds!
Boyfriend goes for ham pizza. Not the best presentation, but good enough on the tastebuds!
I go for the bacon and cabbage pasta. I oink in satisfaction!
I go for the bacon and cabbage pasta. I oink in satisfaction!
Also, how can any meal be incomplete without fried chicken?
Also, how can any meal be incomplete without fried chicken?

Our total meal came up to 2,000 yen. Note that we also had drinks!


I love going to Hanbey, because it’s very cute and has this sort of 1950s inspired feeling going on, so it’s a fun place to bring my friends. Food is not wow or anything, but it’s not bad and it’s a good casual place to hang out with friends for cheap beer (think of 200 yen beer) and cheap sticks of yakitori. They do have English menus, so all you need to do is request it. This is a great place to go to if you’re looking for a fun, cheap izakaya!

Do you know any places in Tokyo where one can eat cheap and still be happy? Let us know in the comments section below!

Hungry and in the mood for more? Check out our food page for all things to nom on in Tokyo!

Ann Jie

Loves good conversations and hates small talk. Finds people fascinating and wonders why meanies exist. Loves writing violent, graphic short stories but finds horror movies too scary to watch. Follow me on Instagram @annjieslices or tweet me a slice of YOUR life at @annjieslices!

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