Japan already provides its citizens with countless affordable restaurants that suit their needs and wants allowing them to follow an economizing plan as well as a healthy diet if needed. It never fails to disappoint though; every Japanese university contains a very nice cafeteria. Several universities have more than two cafeterias on each of their campuses to create more availability. So why are these cafeterias so exceptionally awesome? (especially for foreigners). The reasons will be included in the following list of their characteristics.
You might be asking yourself, “not only I am not a university student, I’m not even a Japanese citizen, how could I enter the university in the first place?” Well, as commonly known, Japan is a safe country and therefore, unlike other universities around the world where ID’s are strictly required even at the university gate itself, Japanese universities aren’t usually strict concerning this issue. With the rising number of foreign exchange students nowadays, university guards are lenient, they welcome you with a smile while entering. (N.b. you won’t be able to use all the facilities like the library and computer which require ID). The Cafeteria, however, is open to anyone.
As previously mentioned, Japan never fails to disappoint especially when it comes to its cuisine. The cafeteria, better than most restaurants, contains a huge variety of foods that any individual (no matter how picky) will be able to be satisfied with. It is mayhap one of the fastest services considering the cooks are on their feet waiting to prepare your order the second you order it. From making your customized plate to their own daily dish, you’ll have so many options you’ll definitely want to return. In addition, dishes such as Curry, Omelet Rice, Udon, Ramen, Gyudon (bowl of rice topped with beef and onion) etc… are the most ordered ones. Tofu, raw egg, fish and abundant desserts along with many other side dishes are available. In addition, unlimited hot green tea and water are available for free.
Since these are located inside the universities, they tend to be relatively cheap to accommodate the needs of “independent college students”. With a Miso soup for only 30¥ and a fulfilling bowl of Curry for less than 400¥ there is no doubt the prices are much more attractive than the outside restaurants (even the cheap ones such as Nakau, Matsuya etc…). The portion is satisying and most individuals can get full with only 500¥.
Unfortunately the worst time to go there is between 12:15 and 13:10 as this is the common break (lunch-time) for all the students at most universities and it is almost impossible to find any seats regardless of the department.
Any other time to go should be fine, however. Consider the fact that the Japanese academic year usually finishes in early august, however, some may even open even during the summer (august & September) if they are hosting summer programs. So if you happen to be in Japan any time during the year (preferably during the academic year just in case) why don’t you experience a journey in the footsteps of the Japanese students whilst enjoying a very affordable and tasty meal with a great young environment that will give you a peak to the lives of the future leaders of the Japanese society?