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Food Expenses for Travel in Japan: 1,000 Yen Meals and Budget Tips

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Learn about the prices of food in Japan for convenience store food, and dishes like sushi, ramen, and fast food. This article introduces how much an average meal costs while traveling, 1,000 yen-meals, and how to save more money on dining.

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The Average Cost of Meals in Japan

When traveling to another country, most people will want to know just how much regular meals cost at their destination. If there's a dish you want to try out, but it’s too expensive for your planned budget, what a shame that would be!

Food expenses depend on where you eat, so it is a good idea to be aware of prices before you start travels. Continue reading to learn food prices and what types of meals are suitable when traveling on a budget.

Meal Options and Average Prices in Japan

1. Convenience Store Food
2. Ramen
3. Sushi - Casual and High-end
4. Japanese Wagyu Beef and Teppanyaki
5. Izakaya Food and Drink
6. Japanese and Western Fast Food
7. Family Restaurant Meals

Convenience Store Meal Prices

Food Expenses For Travel In Japan - 1,000 Yen Meals And Budget Tips

Picture from The 3 Major Convenience Store Chains In Japan – A Comparison
There are many restaurants in Japan, but even more closely connected to the daily lives of the Japanese people are the convenience stores, or "conbini." The most common chains are Seven Eleven, Family Mart, and Lawson. Most are open 24 hours, so you can stop in and grab something whenever you are feeling hungry. Many food products will also have English on them, and most employees will have some foreign language ability (especially in Tokyo, Osaka, and large cities).

Convenience stores sell a plethora of meals, snacks, and beverages. You will find onigiri (rice balls), sandwiches, baked goods, bento (boxed lunches), Japanese pasta, udon, salad, and a variety of snack and sweets options. Convenience stores also have hot meals such as karaage (Japanese fried chicken), steamed buns, and oden (stewed fish and vegetables).

Food Average Cost
Onigiri (rice ball) 100 to 200 yen
Sandwich 200 to 500 yen
Udon, Soba Noodles, Pasta 300 to 500 yen
Salads and Side Dishes 200 to 400 yen
Karaage, Steamed Buns, Other Hot Foods 100 to 300 yen
Beverages and Desserts 100 to 300 yen

You can expect to pay around 400 to 700 yen in total for a convenience store meal. Even if you purchase several items or have a travel partner, the total will be about 1,000 yen. With a wide variety of options, convenience stores are handy for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks, so be sure to stop by for an inexpensive meal.

Ramen Prices in Japan

Cost of ramen

Picture from 30 Great Tokyo Ramen Shops Selected By A Ramen Expert

There are thousands of ramen restaurants and shops in Japan, from nationwide chains like Ichiran to higher-end ramen restaurants, to tiny, owner-run shops where diners eat standing up. Ramen is a casual meal in Japan and is priced usually around 600-1,200 yen per bowl. If you add extra toppings, a side dish, and a drink, like beer, you will still likely pay no more than 2,000 yen.

The price of ramen differs by type and, as mentioned above, adding toppings like barbecue pork, eggs, or green onions will increase the bill. Specialty ramen, like vegetarian and vegan options or gluten-free dishes, tend to cost around 1,000 yen without modifications.

A bowl of ramen will satisfy most diners, but if you are especially hungry, it is typical to order a side of gyoza or rice to accompany the ramen. Many restaurants also offer an extra helping of noodles you can add to your soup for 100 or 200 yen.

Sushi Prices - Casual and High-end Options

Food Expenses For Travel In Japan - 1,000 Yen Meals And Budget Tips

Picture from Pixta

If you're traveling Japan, eating sushi is a must. The availability of delicious, high-quality sushi is incomparable to the sushi offered abroad. Diners can choose from traditional sushi bars with course meals to a casual conveyor belt restaurant where you can order from an electronic tablet. A sushi meal will cost anywhere from 2,000 yen up to 20,000 yen or more per person, but it depends on the restaurant you go to and when you eat.

For example, lunch at a sushi restaurant will usually be around 2,000 to 3,000 yen for a meal consisting of different sashimi and rolled sushi. If you dine in the evening, dinner can be approximately from 5,000 to 20,000 yen or more. The cheapest option for eating sushi is going to conveyor-belt sushi, or kaiten zushi, which will cost anywhere from 1,000 to 2,500 yen per person regardless of whether it's for lunch or dinner.

Typical beverages enjoyed with sushi, like Japanese sake and beer, will be priced between 400 to 1,000 yen or more.

Japanese Wagyu Beef and Teppanyaki

Food Expenses For Travel In Japan - 1,000 Yen Meals And Budget Tips

Picture from Pixta

Head to a yakiniku or teppanyaki restaurant for Japanese beef (wagyu), grilled food like okonomiyaki, or a hearty meal with drinks.

At most yakiniku restaurants, you first decide the meat of your choice and cook it on the grill before you. The price you pay depends on the type of meat and amount you choose, but it generally averages around 2,000 to 4,000 yen per meal per person. Prices for dinner are a little bit more expensive, ranging from 6,000 to 10,000 yen.

Teppanyaki is food cooked on an iron griddle ("teppan" in Japanese). Teppanyaki restaurants will sometimes have meat to grill. Most have dishes like okonomiyaki (savory pancake from the Kansai region), monjayaki (a savory grilled dish common in Tokyo), and yakisoba on the menu. You will also find seafood at times. When ordering a la carte, you can expect to pay between 600 and 1,000 yen per item.

Some of these restaurants will have someone cook the food for you, but at most restaurants, the ingredients are prepared and you will do the cooking for yourself with the iron griddle in front of you.

Prices at Izakaya


Picture from Izakaya Basics: A “How-To” Of Ordering And Etiquette In Japanese Bars

Izakaya are Japanese pubs which offer alcohol and side dishes to pair with the drinks. Frequented by office workers on weekday nights and friend groups on weekends, izakaya are very popular evening spots.

When at an izakaya, it's typical to order several side dishes, or otsumami, to enjoy while drinking. Otsumami dishes are usually from 300 to 800 yen. Yakitori (grilled chicken on skewers), fried food, sashimi, and vegetable side dishes like edamame are on a typical izakaya menu. Alcoholic beverages will usually cost between 300 and 600 yen.

Expect to pay 2,000 yen or more for food and drinks at an izakaya. Nationwide chains, like Torikizoku offer most of its items for 328 yen each (before tax) and is a very reasonable option for those who want to save some yen. Uotami and Shoya are some more common izakaya chains that offer fair prices on drinks and fare.

Japanese and Western Fast Food Prices

Fast food is another option for dining out in Japan. Diners can choose from chains like Matsuya offering beef rice bowls, Japanese-meets-western burgers at Mos Burger, and international restaurants like McDonald's and Burger King. These restaurants are casual, have international customer-friendly menus, and can cost less than 1,000 yen per meal.

Japanese Fast Food - Gyudon and Teishoku

Food Expenses For Travel In Japan - 1,000 Yen Meals And Budget Tips

Picture from Pixta

Gyudon (beef bowl) is considered fast food in Japan. You can try it at Yoshinoya, Matsuya, and Sukiya restaurants located throughout the country. Gyudon is a rice bowl dish topped with salty and sweet beef slices, flavored with soy sauce and sugar.

Prices range by restaurant and location, but a typical bowl costs around 500 yen. You can change the portion size too--a small size is usually 400 yen, and a large will be around 600 yen. If you add miso soup or a side dish, it will be around 150 yen extra.

These chains are often open in the early morning and operate until past midnight, so they are very convenient for breakfast or a late-night meal after a night out.

Food Expenses For Travel In Japan - 1,000 Yen Meals And Budget Tips

Picture from Pixta

Another casual option are meal sets known as teishoku. Teishoku are meals served with a main dish (usually meat or fish) with rice, miso soup, and other side dishes like a salad. A teishoku meal costs around 800 to 1,000 yen, so it is a slightly more expensive (but often healthier) choice than the rice bowls mentioned above.

Recommended restaurants include Yayoiken and Ootoya with locations throughout Japan. There are also many individually owned mom-and-pop teishoku shops where you can try food with a homecooked flavor.

Western-style Fast Food Prices in Japan

Mos Burger. Picture from 10 Things You Should Know About Eating Out In Japan
As mentioned above, Japan is home to hundreds of fast food establishments with western-style options. The most common are McDonald's, Burger King, Lotteria, and Mos Burger for hamburgers. Another popular restaurant is KFC. Prices vary by restaurant, but McDonald's generally has the cheapest options.

Food Average Cost
McDonald's Value Set (Combo Meal) up to 750 yen (more for specials)
Lotteria Set Meal up to 1,220 yen
Mos Burger Set Meal (Medium) around 1,000 yen
KFC Set Meal up to 1,200 yen

Another thing to note is that the menu items of restaurants located in Japan vary significantly from other countries. For example, at McDonald's teriyaki burgers are a regular menu item and they often offer seasonal items with a Japanese twist like red bean paste pies. Keep an eye out for these regional foods to enjoy the experience even more.

Family Restaurants

Food Expenses For Travel In Japan - 1,000 Yen Meals And Budget Tips

Picture from Pixta

In Japan, there are various relatively low-priced restaurants known as "family restaurants." This term is used as these restaurants provide an environment that is easy for families with children to frequent. Well-known family restaurants in Japan include Saizeriya, Gusto, Denny's, Jonathan's, and Joyfull. A meal at one of these restaurants will average around 1,000 yen in total per person.

Saizeriya offers mostly Italian-style dishes, like pasta and Japanese pizza. The beverage menu also includes wine, sold for a few hundred yen.

Gusto, Denny's, and other family restaurants in Japan serve western dishes like Salisbury steak, fried shrimp, salad, and soup. You can also find desserts like parfaits and cakes.

Most a la carte dishes cost between 600 and 800 yen. If you add rice, bread, or a bowl of soup to it, your total should be about 1,000 yen. Diners wanting to stay a while at these restaurants will also order the "drink bar" option, which includes unlimited tea, coffee, and soft drinks from a soda fountain for around 300 to 400 yen.

Average Food Expense for a Day in Japan

You can enjoy much of Japan's rich food culture for around 1,000 yen per meal. If you have at least 3,000 yen per day to spend on food, you will have enough to eat in terms of volume and taste.

Food costs depend on the restaurants you visit--plan to decide when to splurge on a high-end sushi or yakiniku restaurants, and where you can save with going to the convenience store or choosing other cheaper options.


How much does it cost to eat in Japan per day?

The cost of eating in Japan per day can range from 3,500 to 6,000 yen for budget travelers, up to 6,000 to 12,000 yen for mid-range travelers, depending on the dining preferences and the specific region or city. Costs may vary widely based on individual dining habits and the chosen dining establishments.

What is a good budget for a Japan trip?

A good budget for a trip to Japan can range from 7,000 to 10,000 yen per day for budget travelers, 10,000 to 25,000 yen per day for mid-range travelers, and at least 25,000 yen per day for luxury travelers. These estimates cover accommodation, meals, local transportation, activities, and shopping, and can vary based on personal preferences and the specific itinerary.

Do you tip in Japan?

In Japan, tipping is not a common practice and can even be considered rude in some situations. The country holds a strong cultural tradition of providing excellent service as part of the hospitality industry, without the expectation of additional monetary rewards. In fact, offering a tip may lead to confusion or embarrassment for the staff, as the provision of courteous and attentive service is considered a standard part of the job. Therefore, visitors to Japan should refrain from tipping at restaurants, hotels, or other service establishments. Instead, simply expressing gratitude with a polite "arigatou gozaimasu" (thank you) is more than sufficient.

What are 5 table manners in Japan?

Table manners are important in Japanese culture. Here are five key table manners in Japan:
1. Saying "Itadakimasu" Before the Meal: This phrase, often said before a meal, expresses gratitude for the meal that is about to be eaten. It is a polite way to show appreciation for the food.
2. Using Chopsticks: When using chopsticks, it's important to avoid sticking them upright in a bowl of rice, passing food directly from one set of chopsticks to another, or pointing with chopsticks. These actions are considered impolite.
3. Slurping Noodles: Unlike in some other cultures, it's acceptable and even considered a sign of enjoying the meal to slurp noodles loudly when eating them in Japan.
4. Soy Sauce Usage: Pouring soy sauce directly over a bowl of rice or dipping rice into the soy sauce is generally avoided. It's more common to dip the fish or side dishes into the soy sauce.
5. Finishing Food Completely: It's polite and appreciated to finish the entire meal that has been served, as leaving food may be considered wasteful and disrespectful toward the efforts of the cook.
These manners reflect the cultural values of respect, gratitude, and appreciation for both the food and those who have prepared it.

Can I take away unfinished food in Japan?

In Japan, it is not a common practice to request a "doggy bag" or take away unfinished food from a restaurant. Japanese dining culture places great emphasis on finishing the meal while at the establishment. Asking for a container to take away leftover food can be seen as unusual and may not always be accommodated.

Written by

Previous experience as an editor at a women's media company in Japan. I lived in Australia for a while and joined MATCHA after returning to Japan. In charge of editing, promoting sponsored content, and creative direction. I love watching Western TV series.
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