Top Cheap Eats In Tokyo, Japan

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If there’s one thing you need to do while visiting Tokyo, it’s eat.

This is where all your money should go. From the best ramen, freshest sushi skillfully crafted, a Michelin starred restaurant you can actually afford to mouthwatering snacks and kawaii (meaning “cute”) sweet treats – you can be sure to eat your way through Tokyo without actually having to break the bank.

Thanks to our local friend Motoki, you now get to know the top rated local places to eat in Tokyo, Japan what to eat and what to know to save some yen.

Money Saving Tip: Before sitting down at a restaurant, be sure to ask if they have a table charge. You will need to say “Atoshi nashi” meaning “no table charge”.

(Note: The restaurants below do not have a table charge)

TOP RAMEN

The OG of Dipping Ramen: Higashiikebukuro Taishoken 

If you come to Tokyo and don’t eat at Higashiikebukuro Taishoken you’re doing yourself a real disfavor. Although Kazuo Yamagishi (the inventor of dipping ramen in 1961) has passed away, his name, style of ramen known as “Tsukemen” and his outstanding restaurant in ikibukuro still lives on. We’ve had our fair share of ramen while exploring Tokyo but nothing has beat the flavors of his broth. The only thing you will say between each slurp is “oh my god…”

Be sure to order the regular sized hot dipping ramen at 750¥!

Ramen Bowl: Yasube

For a delicious ramen and portion sizes fit for a sumo wrestler, make sure you go to Yasube. Whether you chose a small, medium or large portion, the price is the same: 780¥ – it’s worth it and if you eat here once you’ll be full the entire day if you can even manage to roll out of the restaurant. 

How to order: When you walk in, there is a vending machine with a lot of buttons on it. Put your money in, press the button to chose your ramen (you have the choice between dipping noodle ramen (pronounced: tsuke men), ramen or miso-ramen. On the right hand side you can chose to add extra spice or MAX spice to your ramen for an extra (free) kick. 

What To Eat: The standard ramen is delicious. Order the large portion and don’t plan on eating for the rest of the day.

TOP SOBA NOODLES

Kameya

A beautiful veg-friendly Japanese restaurant close to Shinjuku station tucked away on a side street of “piss alley” serving up the best Tentama soba topped with vegetable tempura, spring onion and a half boiled egg. The flavors are out of this world and all for 400¥.

TOP CONVEYORBELT SUSHI

Genki Zushi 

Don’t miss out on experiencing grabbing plates of sushi from a conveyor belt! At Genki Sushi, you can fill up on decent sushi for cheap. (However, we learnt the hard way that each plate color has a different cost so check on the wall to see the price and stay clear of the gold plates costing 500¥!)

TOP QUALITY SUSHI ON A BUDGET

Oedo

If you came to Japan to eat all the sushi, you’ll be ecstatic to know that there is a quality place where you can get each plate for 150¥. Oedo serves quality sushi for the best price and is also a sit down restaurant.

TOP UDON

Hanamaru 

If you’re looking for quality Udon for cheap, look no further than the best udon chain restaurant in Japan.

Vegetarian and meat options are available and range from Small to large portions from 200¥ and up. (Small and medium portions are more than enough to fill you up)

TOP BENTO BOXES

Origin Bento 

For an assortment of delicious choices, be sure to grab a bento box at breakfast, lunch or dinner. 

The #1 spot is Origin Bento where pre-made boxes consist of freshly prepared meats, tempura, rice or fish for as low as 370¥. However, you can also chose your items own from their display. There are both meat, fish, seafood and veggie options available. The price is 183¥/100g

CHEAPEST MICHELIN STAR IN TOKYO

Nakajima 

Dreamt of going to a Michelin Starred Restaurant? Us too but who has that kind of money to spend?

Well, dreams do come true and at Nakajima, you can dine and still likely afford a glass of wine.

The lunch set is ¥800 and yes, it’s packed to the gills so arrive early or reserve in advance.

Opening Hours: 11:30am – 2pm and 5:30pm – 9:30pm.
(Note: They are closed mid-August, late December, early January, Sunday and Public Holidays)

Address: 160-0022 Tokyo, Shinjuku, 3 Chome−32−5

TOP SNACKS TO TRY IN TOKYO:

TOP TAKOYAKI

Gindaco 

The best place to get good takoyaki is at Gindaco – 6 for 450¥.

Takoyaki is one of the best snacks – a ball-shaped ball filled with diced octopus, tempura bits, pickled ginger, and green onion. Although it’s famous in Osaka, in Tokyo they are fried and crispy!

TOP BUDGET OKONOMIYAKI

Sometaro 

The most budget friendly restaurant (but still yummy) is Sometaro where you can grill your own okonomiyaki. The basic okonomiyaki filled with pickled ginger and cabbage costs 380¥ while added fillings cost between 630 to 880¥.

okonomiyaki is known as a Japanese pizza or pancake. It’s a savory pancake filled with various toppings such as pork belly or seafood, cheese, cabbage, spring onions and topped with bonito and seaweed flakes, Japanese mayonnaise and okonomiyaki sauce.

TOP ICE CREAM

Daily Chico 

Who doesn’t love ice cream? Daily Chico serves 7 layers of ice cream that will blow your mind! You get to try some unusual flavors and some classics – all of which are tasty and will send you on a full-days sugar rush. Vanilla, matcha, blue soda, banana, grape, coffee, strawberry and chocolate for 490¥ and worth every cent!

TOP TAIYAKI

Taiyaki Wakaba

Taiyaki Wakaba has been around since 1895 and sells traditional fish-shaped pancakes known as taiyaki filled with a sweet red bean paste. It’s crispy exterior crunches while the softness of the red bean melts in your mouth! Free green tea is also provided.

TOP BUDGET ONIGIRI:

Sounds like blasphemy saying to eat at Family Mart (or other convenient stores) given that Tokyo has such high quality food. However, for 100¥, we must admit, the Onigiri is good – especially for the price and a great snack between checking out everything else on the list. You can chose between salmon, seaweed, grilled pork, egg topping, pickled plum and our favorites tuna mayo and spicy Pollack roe.

TSUKIJI FISH MARKET ON A BUDGET

Top Smoked Salmon

On namiyoki-dori street, head inside the large beige building to find an array of budget friendly sashimi for around 500¥ and up.

However, our favorite is by far the smoked salmon vendor. It is as fresh as you can get and the flavor of the smoked salmon melts in your mouth and is only 250¥

Top Sushi Rolls

Near the corner of shin-ohashi-Dori and namiyoki-dori, look for a large crowd of people where you can find fresh sushi rolls for the lowest price in all of Tokyo!

For 6 large pieces of tuna sushi rolls, you pay a mere 397¥ and damn is it good. So good in fact, we went back twice to eat there at 6am and then again at 9am. For 3 pieces of tuna rolls or eel rolls it’s 219¥.

Snacking your way through Tokyo Fish Market

Spend time wandering through each side street around the fish market and try the many free samples from various vendors. From dried lemon cod, crunchy dried sweet crabs (sounds gross but surprisingly good), crispy wakame snacks, seasoned ume plums and more! 

Budget Friendly Skewers 

On the 2nd side street in from shin-ohashi-Dori, you’ll find a vendor called “Nisshin Tasuke – Tsukiji Eel Eatery” where you can try out various skewers such as eel, yellowtail tuna, salmon belly, scallops, squid and swordfish all for 200¥.

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Shannon Wolf

Born in Toronto, Canada, Shannon Wolf has lived and worked around the globe as a freelance writer and photographer. Over the years her work has been featured and published both in print and online in various publications. Shannon has travelled over 40+ countries on 4 continents in the last 3 years and is an avid food lover and adventurer with an open itinerary and no intent of stopping.

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