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    Cheapo Xmas/Winter Markets in Tokyo

    There seems to be a fascination in Japan with winter markets, and in particular German-style Christmas markets. If you too like your holiday season with a bit of European flair, are searching for that special handmade ornament, or just want to […]

    December 7, 2014 -
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    Favorite Fall Flavors

    A chill is in the air and yesterday I was even moved to turn on my oven and make soup. If the drop in temperature is provoking you to pack on a little extra insulation, read on. What follows is […]

    October 7, 2014 -
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    Tokyo Terrace Tippling

    Ah, autumn. The oppressive heat of summer has finally lifted and the long lazy days of fall are upon us. One of my former students once said in praise of the season, “sunny days continue easily.” I think I get […]

    September 28, 2014 -

Cheap Dinner, Posh Lunch

This is the Cheapo Golden Rule for eating out in Tokyo. Even the most famous restaurants have great lunch deals – so take advantage of them. Dinner on the other hand is always pricey, so go to the consistently cheap places in the evening.

Noodles & Onigiri

Unless you’re on a low carbohydrate diet, you can rarely go wrong with noodles for a cheapo lunch or dinner. Places like Sanuki Udon Hanamaru which serve Udon (wheat flour noodles) are the cheapest and a great option if you’re in a hurry and you need to eat. Ramen and Soba are the other major types that you’ll come across. The varieties are and combinations are endless. Onigiri are another great, healthy, cheapo staple available from every convenience store and supermarket in the land.

Sushi and other Japanese Cuisine

Sushi and other particular kinds of Japanese cooking are generally a bit pricier than noodles, but there are options which provide good value at a reasonable price. Ootoya is a great place to get a hearty Japanese ‘teishoku’.

International Cuisine

For food, Tokyo is as cosmopolitan as anywhere in the world. French and Italian have the longest history in Japan and consequently there are a lot of places serving these cuisines. For cheap, tasty pasta, places like La Boheme are a good bet.

Bars and Izakayas

Izakayas (Japanese style pubs with food) usually have the cheapest drinks, but keep in mind you’ll pay a seating charge, so for 1 or 2 drinks a bar might be better value. Although you may find ‘standing bars’ with prices as low as 300yen for a standard drink, most of them cost quite a bit more. The advantage over an Izakaya is that you can actually meet and interact with your fellow customers – something that can be a little more difficult to do at an izakaya. Most clubs will have an entrance fee of a few thousand yen with one or two drinks thrown in. Look out for some good deals though – like this drinking all night deal.

Take-out and Picnics

If shopping for a picnic or preparing food at home, Yamaya, Hanamasa or OK Supermarket are great places to start.