Fast Food in Japan: Quick, Cheap but Not “Junk”

  • When hearing the words fast food, the global chain restaurants such as Mc Donald’s or Burger King or other famous ones come to our minds first. As it may be commonly known, fast food can also be referred to as “junk” food because it is not considered very healthy. The associations we have with it are simple: quick, cheap, unhealthy and eligible for “take-out”. Since the most famous ones are global chains, they are available everywhere, even in Japan. Nonetheless, Japan picked up on the concept of Fast food by serving its own Japanese food instead of burgers and fries, though Japanese burgers are available too (e.g. Mos burger). These restaurants are almost as abundant as convenient stores in the sense that they could be found on nearly every street. Similarly to the popular fast food chains, these restaurants’ “motto” is quick, cheap and eligible for “take-out”, however, they differ from the others by being categorized as healthy. Three of these restaurants are the following:




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    Once you enter one of these, what you’ll have is a machine with many buttons displaying each dish and a top button for take out. Once the money is inserted and the button pressed, the machine will give you a ticket with your order.

    What is left is receiving your order as quick as the common fast food. Whether you’re taking out the food or eating it there, the waiters serve you free green tea or/and water. While several sauces and seasonings are offered for free while eating there, you are also allowed to take as many sachets of them while taking out.


    As mentioned earlier the food there is categorized as healthy and that may be due to the fact that steamed rice is the main source of carbohydrates instead of bread. Furthermore, the main dish is considered Gyūdon (牛丼), which is a bowl of rice topped with beef and onion.

    It is the cheapest, costing between 230\ and 500\ depending on the size. Many other main dishes for a very reasonable price are available such as Katsudon (rice bowl with fried pork cutlet and eggs), Oyakodon (rice, chicken and eggs), Udon (Japanese noodle) and Japanese Curry. Moreover, all these dishes are served with hot Misoshiru (Miso soup).

    Despite these restaurants not exactly being classy or high budgeted, just like anywhere in Japan, the staff there are extremely kind and helpful greeting you with an irrashaimase (welcome) and saluting you with an Arigato Gozaimasu (thank you very much) with a kind smile. So if you happen to be in a hurry, trying to watch your diet while economizing, these restaurants are the perfect place to have your meal, and if you don’t happen to be in the previously mentioned, well they’re still awesome.