Tokyo is known to be one of the most expensive cities in the world. Having traveled there with food in mind of course, I was fully prepared to break the bank a little. However the good news is that you can find some delicious food for good value if you look close enough. Here are the ones I came across, some by chance and some by research.
Hanamaru – conveyor belt sushi in Ginza
In London, generally speaking, conveyor belt sushi means kind of average sushi. In Japan they’re good value and even the average sushi in their standards is likely to be great quality. Hanamaru offers high quality and fresh fish dishes which are prepared right in front of you. It is conveniently located on the 5th floor of Kitte, a shopping mall near Tokyo station. I had 3 sushi dishes and a drink for £8 and they were all very good. The queues here get pretty long so I suggest to go around 11/11,30 before lunchtime peak strikes.
〒100-0005 Tokyo, Chiyoda,
Marunouchi, 2 Chome−７−２ JPタワー KITTE
Gyozaro is one of Tokyo’s most popular gyoza restaurants for a good reason. The menu is very simple with two choices, fried or steamed gyozas. They’re delicious and incredibly affordable at only 290 JPY/£1.90 for 6 pieces.. The service is very quick and it’s great for an in and out bite, if you catch it at a time with little queue that is. The popularity is very much reflected by the queue outside but it’s worth the wait.
150-0001 Tokyo, 渋谷区Jingumae, 6−2−4
Hashigo Ginza Honten ramen
I discovered this place on a late night random ramen hunt. I ordered the traditional ramen with pork which came in such a creamy and delicious broth. This ramen set the bar extremely high for my first one and sadly I wasn’t able to live up to this during my whole Japan trip. I highly recommend it. Prices ranged from 700-1000 JPY / £4.50 – £6.5o.
6 Chome-3-5 Ginza, Chuo, Tokyo 104-0061, Japan
Tsukiji Fish Market
At Tsujiki you can easily find great cheap food! Apart from finding yourself some great fish meals such as sashimi, sushi, oysters and sea urchins, you’ll also find lots of traditional Japanese desserts and light snacks to keep you happy while browsing the market.
I highly recommend to hunt down the mochis which are stuffed with a plump ripe strawberry (you can’t miss them). Also try the pork dumplings which are great too!
If you really don’t feel like fish then there is a famous ramen place right at the entrance of Tsukiji fish market. The queue gets insane here though so get here preferably before lunch.
Chuka Soba Inoue (中華そば 井上)
Address: 4-9-16 Tsukiji, Chuo-ku.
Open hours: 5 am – 1:30 pm
Price: 650 JPY ($6.36) per bowl
Check out my Tsukiji Fish Market Vlog
Memory Lane aka. PISS ALLEY
Yes, Piss Alley is the name of this little lane. It’s a prime spot for nightlife but it also offers some lovely small restaurants. While the bars and eateries may be crammed as hell, they’re a great excuse to brush shoulders and mingle with the locals. My recommendation is Yakitori. The price was around 750 JPY / £5 for a few delicious and perfectly grilled skewers. If you fancy a drink, although not on the budget side, Albatross is a great option.
(If you wish to continue the nightlight after Piss Alley then Golden Gai is the place to be! I’ve never seen a bar scene quite like that. Four parallel lanes full of bars which only fit around 6 people. It’s the perfect place to bar hop.)
If you do want to experience fine dining in Japan, one tip is to limit it to lunch time only and have quick meals in the evening. The menu prices are considerably cheaper during the day versus the evening.
Let me know your thoughts on this list and if I’ve missed out any amazing budget friendly spots!