Many people view Japan as a rather expensive vacation destination. This can be easily true, Japan in a rich and varied culture and you can easily spend your yen before you even notice! With so many traditional foods, such as sushi and sukiyaki, being very popular a large portion of your travel budget could be spent on food alone. There are many high-end restaurants throughout Japan with very high price tags on the food. However, you don’t need to spend a lot of money to get delicious and freshly prepared food in Japan.
They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day, I know I wouldn’t be ready for a day of sightseeing without it! There are some ways to reduce the cost of your breakfast in Japan. One way is to book a hotel with breakfast included. I have stayed in many different hotels with varied complimentary breakfasts from European to traditional Japanese. You may think that if you are already staying in cheaper accommodation that the breakfast won’t be good, although I have stayed in hostels who serve a full Japanese breakfast including rice, fish, miso and fruit! Staying in a hostel with a kitchen is another good way to save money on food, go to the local store and purchase ingredients to cook your own meals!
After walking around all the sights Japan has to offer for the morning it’s not surprising that lunch is very much needed! Again lunch can be easily sourced without breaking the bank. One of the best places to get a relatively cheap but nutritious lunch is a convenience store. These stores are jam-packed with all sorts of foods from sandwiches to onigiri. Onigiri are a traditional Japanese rice which is shaped into a triangle and can be filled with a variety of ingredients, such as fish or vegetables, or wrapped in seaweed. Other options are sandwiches which are on offer in variety of, sometimes surprising, fillings… one of the most different I have seen is filled with strawberries! Convenience stores also sell lunch sets such as soba (in the summer months) or other noodles which usually come with water to rehydrate the noodles and soy or wasabi for flavour.
Once again convenience stores offer a large variety of pre-prepared dinners, call sets. These usually contain rice or noodles, meat and vegetables all cut and beautifully displayed in their containers. The store staff even offer to heat it up in the microwave for you so you can enjoy it hot! Below is a selection of Tonkatsu meal sets, available for just 490!
However if you would rather sit down for your evening meal there are other options too! All throughout Japan there are tiny eating establishments poked into the tiniest of buildings. Below is a picture of a shop offering soba and ramen dishes. These places are also good if you don’t feel your Japanese is very good as it is easy to see what is on offer as plastic versions of the meals are displayed out front. This also helps with ordering, the staff are used to foreign travellers taking them outside to point at which dish they want to try! These places can be great for trying new foods and not spending all your budget on your dinner!
Japan is a beautiful place and so please don’t let your budget stop you from visiting and enjoying all Japan has to offer!