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HELP NEEDED! Tokyo\Kyoto\Osaka...foodie on a budget!!!

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Hello everyone, I know Japan is not exactly the best place to go when on a budget but I had unpredicted expenses and now I need to find a way to eat my way around Japan without getting (another) mortgage!

I need tips on restaurants, izakaya...whatever you can suggest that is not too expensive but still good.
I am a Japanese food obsessed. I love sushi , worship Takoyaki and could live out of Gyoza....
There is basically nothing I won't eat but I want to try as many things as possible.
Sushi, in particular is something I am looking forward to eat in Japan.

I have booked hotels without breakfast so I need feeding 3 times a day i 3 different cities, I know only .you guys can help me!


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  1. If you worship takoyaki, 'Tako Tako King' in Osaka is a must.

    1. can you read japanese? if not, here is something you might find helpful.


      there are many reasonable and good shops in japan but if you are new it is sometimes difficult to find.

      1. It might help to say where you're staying. Tokyo for example has more than 100,000 restaurants, and is very spread out, so it would be silly to recommend some arbitrary budget restaurant that's an hour away from you.

        Ootoya is a good chain restaurant serving healthy, well balanced Japanese meals at very reasonable prices - starting from around Y1000 for dinner. They have over 100 branches in Tokyo.
        Here's their first Osaka branch: http://www.bento.com/kansai/rev/8190....
        And their Japanese website, for pictures of their food and their signage: http://www.ootoya.com/

        Tsunahachi is a popular tempura chain with reasonable prices and good value for money: http://www.bento.com/searchg.php?q=ts...

        Tonkatsu (pork cutlet) restaurants are also good for budget dining: http://www.bento.com/r-tonkatsu.html#...

        1. Actually, Japan is not bad for budget dining. Many good deals for decent food. Also, low sales tax and no gratuity. We've covered this before in the below threads:


          1. Japan is far better than US, Canada or Europe in terms of finding great cheap food. Since you're asking a fairly broad question, the best advice I can give you is offer some general tips and a list of good chain places.

            * Depachikas are deli sections in the basement of department stores. Amazing array of all kinds of food from bento to croquettes to yakitoris to gourmet salads to desserts. Some of the bigger ones I've been to include Seibu (Ikebukuro) and Isetan (Shinjuku).
            * Don't discount preprared food at convenience stores. Makis, bentos and omusubis at convenience stores are always fresh and tasty. They will heat up food for you.
            * There are fun food theme parks and complexes where you can get amazing food and fill up cheaply. Examples are Namjatown in Ikebukuro and Okonomi Village in Hiroshima.

            Great chains:
            * Takoyaki - Gindaco: 500yen gets you 8-piece takoyaki. Gindako's always reliable and I much prefer these to those mushy tofu-like Kansai takoyakis.
            * Curry - GoGoCurry: 700yen gets you amazing katsu curry; curry is thick, black and deep with a hint of sweetness.
            * Burgers (and a lot more) - MOS Burger: Far better burgers than anything you'll find in the States, I admit. They also have shrimp burger, rice burgers (my fave), outstanding seasonal items. Prices on par with Carl's Jr, but better quality.
            * Bakeries - Vie de France, Pompadour: Japan's bakeries are superior to just about anywhere else in the world, I feel. My favorites are Vie de France and Pompadour. Andersen is also not bad; completely different in offerings and quality than the Andersens in the Bay Area. Lots of amazing and creative sweet and savory items.

            1. Thanks SO much everyone!!!
              So, In Tokyo we're staying in Shinjuku. Wea thinking of going to the fish market the first morning I wake up there, is it worth it? I want to have my sushi-breakfast experience!
              In Kyoto, we're staying near the station.
              Osaka...well..everyone says it's the food capital of the world!!!

              Any other tip more than welcome.
              Thanks again

              2 Replies
              1. re: MariaLND

                Plenty of great budget eating right inside the massive kyoto station complex. See the kyoto station topic:

                You may want to do some search because Shinjuku, Osaka and the fish market have all been covered repeatedly (including budget eating) on other threads.

                1. re: chowmouse

                  Also a lot of budget suggestions in this current thread on Tokyo/Kyoto/Nagoya: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/734151