Aaron talks us through his five top places to fill up on a single coin—from cheap Italian meals to classic beef bowls:
Hungry for more?
Here are five more sweet treats under ¥500 to round things off!
These fish-shaped pancakes are traditionally stuffed with anko (red bean paste), but these days you’ll often see them stuffed with custard, chocolate, or in fall, sweet potato. They’re super portable and more filling than they look—so they’re perfect for a pick-me-up on a long day out.
When it comes to traditional Japanese sweets, daifuku (a chewy, stuffed, rice flour cake) is among the most popular. One of the most famous Tokyo sellers is Gurindo in Yurakucho, which is well known for its large mamefuku (red bean daifuku). You can get three for under ¥500—enough to fill most stomachs!
Hotteok in Koreatown
This Korean import is quick, cheap and delicious. You’ll find them in kiosks for as little as ¥200 all over Shin Okubo—Tokyo’s Koreatown. Usually stuffed with brown sugar, spices and a few nuts, these flat disks of pressed dough are quickly fried on a flat hot plate to help them reach face-melting temperatures. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.
Convenience store ice cream
When you’re eating cheap, the convenience store is always your friend. Popular brands include Garigarikun, a crunchy ice block with constantly changing seasonal flavors, and Coolish, soft-serve ice cream served in an astronaut-friendly bag.
While you can spend as much as ¥1,500 on fancy kakigori (and if we’re being honest, you probably should), you can get heaps of the stuff for a few hundred yen. Typically you’ll see them at food markets and festival stalls. Just pick a syrup and munch your way through a big pile of delicious ice. It’s widely available throughout summer—just keep an eye out for the telltale sign.
A famous park, a former black market and a whole heap of museums—get to know Ueno: