Money saving tips for Tokyo: Food and drink

This post is part of my money saving tips for Tokyo series. Last week, I talked about ways you can save on transportation in Tokyo.

Today, I’ll be talking about my favorite topic: Food.

Eating and drinking (even water, not beer) in Tokyo is not terribly cheap. But here are a few ways you can save those extra 100 yen (to buy more food).

Lunch time fixed menu + combo sets

Lunch menu
Lunch menu

During week days, some restaurants have prix fixe menu. Taimeiken had 800 yen set lunches. I didn’t get the set lunch because I wanted to try its omurice so I got the 1,890 yen dish instead (but with much regret).

Besides lunch sets, regular menus would have combo sets which allow you to try out smaller portions of two different dishes. The soba restaurant I visited in Kamakura had a combo of tempura don and zarusoba which were both delicious.

Fast food

Yes, McDonalds has a 100 yen menu. But since you’re in Japan, you should try out the Japanese fast food outlets.
Nakau
Although this menu from Nakau was from last October, you get a taste of how low food prices can go in these outlets.

Another benefit of these outlets which use coupon machines is that you don’t need to speak Japanese to order. Instead, you look at the pictures on the machine and pay it with your bills or coins.

Convenience store food

Convenience store onigiri
The onigiri (rice balls) in the photos were 129 yen each. Having two can substitute a meal.

These Japanese takeaway food are available at convenience stores which open 24/7, this means you will never go hungry.

Free drinking water

Free tea
Free tea

I tend to forget to hydrate when I’m travelling because it’s too much of a chore to buy water.
Luckily in Japan, there’s quite a lot of free drinking water outlets. I’ve seen some at the platforms of train stations.

Restaurants also have free ice water or tea on the table, I admit that I’ve pour half a pitcher of water into my bottle once. Just once.

Check the rest of money saving tips for Tokyo:

Do you have other tips for saving money on food and drinks in Tokyo?

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More about Liau Yun Qing

Yun Qing is a writer, improviser and curious person. She loves finding little adventures in life. In 2013, she went on a 130-day round-the-world trip. She wrote a book to help those who also want to go on a career break.

3 Comments

    1. Japan, supermarket and department stores market section, starting 6 or 7PM all their boxed food are starting to discount, can get up to 50% or 70% off. All are still very fresh and no quality loss, but be take your chances about raw fish slices.

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