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Jun 8, 2008 03:19 AM

Lost in Japan!

I'm going to Tokyo for about a week soon, and I've never been there before so I have no idea where to go! I'm on a budget, so spending about 10US dollars on a meal would be great! I'm really excited to go, but because I don't know any Japanese, somewhere that speaks a little English would be great... Any recommendations?

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  1. Tokyo is a pretty big place. Where will you be staying?

    2 Replies
    1. re: lost squirrel

      I'll be staying in downtown tokyo in shinjuku

      1. re: hello1234

        A friend recently recommended Yasube ramen to me, about 1000m from the south exit of Shinjuku station.

        I'd go for the miso tsukemen. From the south exit, turn right and follow the road about 1000m. The restaurant is on the ground floor on the opposite side of the road. When I went, there was a small sign on the street and a short line of people.

    2. If you like sushi, you'll do allright at the robata-type joints that have the conveyor-belt, and count the final amount of plates you eat. You will want to eat mainly fast food like ramen, and Yoshinoya beef bowls, to keep on a $10 budget each meal.

      A fantastic tip: The convience stores like 7-11 and AM/PM actually have -very- good food (better than the US, for sure) you microwave in-shop, and eat. I got addicted to 7-11's grilled onigiri, for a buck or 2 each, they are great, fast and cheap snacks

      3 Replies
      1. re: Honeychan

        I think you mean kaiten-sushi; 'robata' means fireplace or hearth and it's used for rustic-style izakaya.

        Another good low-priced alternative to fast food is Ootoya, which has many branches in Tokyo. Here's their new grand menu with photos and prices:

        1. re: Robb S

          I've always been pleasantly surprised with Ootoya's offerings. It's a good option for a cheap meal.

          Another of my favorite cheapy places is Norabow, a Sanuki style udon chain.

          My favorite is tori-ten oroshi udon, although the daily lunch teishoku's are always a good deal as well.

          1. re: Robb S

            There are several branches of Ootoya in Nishi-Shinjuku, west of the station, including Shinjuku Island Tower and the Shinjuku Center Building.

        2. Tenya, a fast food tempura chain, is a cheap option I've recommended to budget conscious travelers- . Picking and choosing from depachika, particularly the less glamorous ones, should be feasible under $10. Takoyaki, yakisoba, and other street foods are less than $10 and should be available near parks in the summer evenings. As mentioned above, it helps to note where in Tokyo you will be staying and visiting.

          1. Wow all of the responses sound great!
            I did a little bit of research on the internet and came across some interesting places.
            I read that there are 100yen sushi places, a mosburger, and the tsukiji fish market.
            I've also read that italian food is good too!
            I really want to try really good sushi and wouldn't mind splurging for one day.

            Any recommendations?

            1 Reply
            1. re: hello1234

              All fast food places (Yoshinoya, etc.), fast casual (Mos Burger, etc.), and convenience stores (7-11, Lawson, etc.) will offer something in the 1000 YEN range. You can do alright foodwise at these places considering, but they are by no means chowhound destinations and you'll be sick of neon and plastic flowers if you go to those places too much (except Mos Burger puts fresh flowers in the bathrooms!).

              There are also 100 YEN kaiten-sushi places around. Most kaiten-sushi is pretty lousy to begin with and is already considered value dining, so I'm not sure what you'd be getting at 100 YEN places. Certainly not single line caught hon-maguro chu-toro from Omazaki Bay....In general, lunchtime offers the best opportunity for bang-for-buck since lunch sets, even for quality restaurants, can hover around the 1000YEN mark. Top floors of department stores have inexpensive, reasonable quality options with plastic models of foods. Unless you speak good Japanese and can navigate a menu well, at 1000 YEN, you won't have many options for proper sit-down eating at dinner time other than chains- which at least have picture menus. Besides the types listed above, chain izakayas, especially cheap ones like Tengu or Watami, are another option. At 1000YEN per meal, you might want to consider a Lonely Planet Thorntree post as well since they cater to budget travelers.

              ..Recommend you create a new thread for Italian recs. Specify location and budget. For sushi, you should use the SEARCH. It's been covered extensively and recently.

            2. As Silverjay mentioned, depachikas are great places to get a variety of cooked foods at reasonable prices. Be careful, though, because the prices of many of the take-out foods are per 100grams, so for some items this can add up quickly.

              While depachikas are great, I find department store restaurant floors (usually the top floors) to be mediocre at best. I've never had a good meal at a department store restaurant floor place. Ever.

              For just Y1000, you'll be rather limited, I think. Most of the around Y1000 places I know of cater to businessmen during lunch hours (fast, but usually not very good). If you'd be willing to spend Y1200 to Y1500 yen (more than US10, but not by so much), you'd probably do much better. Katsukura has great tonkatsu in that range, for example (they might have cheaper options, too, but most are above Y1000), and they have English menus.