Guest Post: How to Eat (Cheaply) in Tokyo

by Tokyo Terrace on February 19, 2014

I’m happy to share this guest post from Expat Explorer today! They have put together some great tips on how to eat cheaply in Tokyo, which is something a lot of people don’t think is possible. Some of the best food we ate in Japan ended up being the cheapest. So without further adieu, here are some tips and tricks to help you navigate the affordable food scene in Tokyo, Japan!
Japanese food is a favourite for city dwellers globally, not just in Tokyo. And it has a reputation for being four things – tasty, quick, healthy, and expensive.
In the latest Expat Explorer survey (brought to you by HSBC Expat), Japan ranked third for a healthy expat diet. But here are some tips for ensuring that your sushi lunches in Tokyo aren’t just delicious, but don’t break the bank either.

1. Exercise will power: Many Japanese eateries use conveyor belts to ensure the journey from kitchen to customer is even quicker when it comes to sushi. And this means you pay by the plate. Set yourself a maximum of 2-3 plates in advance and choose rice-based options to make sure you fill up. Healthy portion sizes as well as wallets? Sorted.

2. Forget what your mother taught you: Fresh isn’t always better when it comes to vegetables, at least from a financial point of view. Get to grips with the range of pre-made vegetable dishes available in local supermarkets and save yourself time, hassle and a fortune.

3. Stand for your supper: You won’t need to beg like Oliver Twist – standing while eating in noodle bars is standard in some Japanese restaurants! Be prepared to pay extra for the luxury of a seat.

4. Follow the savvy savers: Food is much more affordable in blue-collar districts or areas frequented by students. If you can, steer clear of city slicker types to seek out inexpensive cuisine.

5. Know your local canteens: Basement canteens in office blocks aren’t always reserved solely for employees in that building. Cheaper food and an opportunity to meet workers from other businesses could be a winning combination for expats in Japan.

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  • Paul

    A nice set of tips there. So many people convince themselves that Tokyo, and Japan in general is so expensive when it comes to food but it really is easy to eat well at very reasonable prices.

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