Cheap eats in Tokyo, in this context refers to anything that costs 300 – 800 yen. These options with the exception of convenience store will not cater to vegans and vegetarians. These are my go to places when I want to get good food at a reasonable price:
I am somewhat addicted haha. A former Japanese coworker introduced me to this restaurant many years ago and I fell in love. It is the place to go for somewhat traditional Japanese dishes for great prices. I also love the fact that it has a worthwhile point card. For every 500 hundred yen spent, you get a point and after getting 20 points you get a free meal. Since I go there fairly often and enjoy the food it is a great deal for me. A set meal has miso soup, the main dish and a small salad. This is my all time fave place.
2. Lunch boxes at Seiyu supermarket
They are loads of these supermarkets in many parts of Tokyo and they are usually near a train station. You will not find them in the usual tourist enclaves but in places such as Kinshicho, Nerima, Narimasu and other areas. Also many bento/lunch boxes are marked down significantly after 7 pm. They offer a variety of food, everything from sushi to different kinds of meat and they even have different kinds of salads.
3. Japanese fast food restaurants
These can be found just about anywhere in metropolitan Tokyo. Some of the popular ones are: Sukiya, Matsuya, Kourakuen, Yoshinoya, Ichiran Ramen… When I am in the mood for Ramen I go to Kourakuen because when I fist came here and lived in Fukushima there was a branch near my apartment and I would visit often. It is pretty nostalgic at this point. If you are vegan or vegetarian it will be hard to find options at these places. The stock used in many dishes often has fish or pork.
4. Food at convenience stores
There are many of these on every corner you can’t miss them: 7-11, Lawson, Family Mart, Sunkus and others. One can enjoy bento/ lunch boxes, rice balls, ramen, sandwiches and a whole host of other foods. I, however, generally only eat rice balls/onigiri from convenience stores these days. I prefer 1 and 2 above.
5. Udon and soba noodle shops in the train stations
You can see many of these small shops with people standing and having a quick bite or slurp in this case. These are good places for a quick and cheap meal.
6. The basement of many department stores will have loads of food on offer. I do not think they generally offer the best bang for buck unless you go near to closing time at around 8pm.
7. Set lunch menus
Many of the more expensive places will have set lunch menus for much cheaper than usual. It is always good to get in on these deals.
I am sure there are many other places but these are tried and true for me. I hope this will help someone to stretch their money a bit more on a visit here …