While Tokyo has a vast culinary scene, the possibilities of what to eat are endless. But for those who are on a shoestring budget, here are some of the best cheap eats in Tokyo where you can still enjoy Tokyo’s food delights without breaking the bank.
To enjoy various grilled treats at an affordable price, head on to various izakaya joints like Shinjuku, Ueno, Asakusa, and Shibuya. Also, izakaya alleys are also famous for offering relatively cheaper watering holes, hence these areas are commonly frequented by Japanese salarymen.
Meanwhile, eat your heart out at sushi conveyor belts like Genki Sushi wherein you can indulge in the freshest sushi for as cheap as ¥200. Your bill would really depend on the number and cost of the sushi that you’ll finish. For those craving for tempura, Tendon Soba Udon in Asakusa serves mouthwatering tempura meals for less than ¥500. For those who love seafood can find a jewel at Minatoya Shokuhin that has perfected seafood donburi bowls at ¥500.
Slurp some ramen from ramen vending machines, which offers an inexpensive alternative to equally delicious bowl of hot soup and noodles. Ramen vending machines are highly popular in Tokyo, with Ichiran leading the pack. Aside from Ichiran, you can also enjoy piping hot ramen for less than ¥500 at Hanamaru Udon and 421 Yen ramen restaurant.
To get more from your money, instead of ordering a la carte dishes in Tokyo restaurants, opt for bento and set meals since these options provide a variety of meat or seafood paired with a vegetable dish, and often served with rice and soup. Convenience stores or konbini in Tokyo like Family Mart, 7-Eleven, or Lawson showcases an assortment of quick-serve Japanese food treats at a comparatively lower price such as bento boxes or lunch boxes with varied food treats in one box and onigiri or rice balls. Konbinis also offer salads, sushi, and other seasonal items such as snacks and drinks at a reasonable price.
Train stations around Tokyo are also a hub for cheap food finds for it will surely have a cozy food joint offering ramen or curry. Just be mindful that in these places, the common practice is to eat, pay, and go. If you wish to enjoy a more leisurely dining experience without hurting your budget, Tokyo’s department store basements are the answer to your sudden craving. Here, you can find varied choices to fit your budget and appetite.
Another best cheap eats in Tokyo for affordable yet filling snacks are bakeries. You don’t necessarily need to learn the language to understand the names or buy bread because you only need to get the thongs and tray and scout the displays and personally pick your choice. The crowd favorite is the melon pan, which is usually available at most bakeries around Tokyo. Aside from bread, bakeries usually serve breakfast selections.
Japanese food markets like Tsukiji Market and groceries are also a host to low-priced eats. Marketplaces are also a great venue for restaurants that serve affordable meals. Meanwhile, as a practice, groceries in Japan tries to serve only the freshest produce so scout the grocery aisle especially in the afternoon when prices are already lowered. Aside from markets and groceries, Tokyo’s streets are frequently adorned with peddlers of mouthwatering street food like takoyaki, steam buns, ice cream, dango, waffles and a whole lot more at a reasonable price. Gyoza lovers will find a haven at Harajuku Gyoza Lou that serves 6pcs. fried or steamed gyoza at ¥260. For anything that is sweet potato, head to Funawa Asakusa, and savor their sweet potato ice cream for ¥350.
One can also pay a visit to the Yebisu Beer Museum to taste various Yebisu beer variants or try sake tasting to get a taste of different sake to cap up the day.
May these some of the best cheap eats in Tokyo allow you to enjoy more of your Tokyo travel. Until the next food adventure!
Aleli is a wanderlust whose main itinerary is to culture soak in the places that she sets foot on, sinking her teeth in the gustatory offerings that the place has to offer and knowing the story behind it. Food for her is a marriage of the sights, sounds, smells, and tastes of the rich history of every city she explores and uses the pen as her tool to share to the world each unique experience she unravels.