Fast food

fast food

Standard burger-type place.

fast food

Specializes in steaks, and offers a large salad bar.

fast food
MOS Burger

Seems like just another fast food chain, but actually has a pretty interesting menu — for hamburgers with a twist, how about grilled eel between two rice buns? notice also the list of local produce suppliers posted in each shop. made to order, so guaranteed fresh, and unlike some fast-food places, mosburger products generally look like their advertising photos. a bit more expensive than mcdonald's, but worth the extra. mos stands for "mountain, ocean, sun," by the way.

fast food
Sunday Sun
中央区銀座2-2-14 マロニエゲート4F

Reasonable, decent food and menus

fast food

Operated by jr, these fastfood burger restaurants are often found in and near jr stations in greater tokyo and yokohama. beckers offers made to order burgers and menchi burgers minced black pork. unlike most shops, their buns are fresh and baked inside the stores. unused buns are thrown away if not used 1.5 hours after baking them. their pork teriyaki burger is awesome. they also offer poutine, which is of course a french canadian snack consisting of french fries, gravy and cheese. the chilli topping needs to be tried. more often than not, you can pay with the jr suica pre-paid re-chargeable multi use traincard.

fast food

大戸屋 (http://www.ootoya.com/) is really too good to call fast food, with a menu and atmosphere that matches any "home-style" japanese restaurant. while there are illustrated menus on signboards, ordering can be confusing: at some stores you order at the counter before taking a seat, while at others servers come to your table.

fast food
Royal Host

Tries to market itself as a bit up-scale

fast food

てんや, the best tempura you'll ever eat for less than â¥500.

fast food
First Kitchen

This chain offers a few dishes outside of the standard fast-food fare, including pasta, pizza, and fries with a wide assortment of flavorings.

fast food
Coco Ichibanya

Serves japanese style curry rice with a vast array of ingredient choices. english menus available.

fast food

American fast food chains are also ubiquitous, including McDonald's, Wendy's, and Kentucky Fried Chicken. McDonald's restaurants are almost as ubiquitous as vending machines.

There are also a number of Japanese "family restaurants", serving a wide variety of dishes, including steak, pasta, Chinese style dishes, sandwiches, and other foods. Though their food is relatively uninteresting, these restaurants usually have illustrated menus, so travellers who cannot read Japanese can use the photos to choose and communicate their orders. Some chains across the country are:

fast food

Is probably the most ubiquitous local chain. skylark is owned by the same company and has similar fare, including a cheap and unlimited "drink bar," which makes these restaurants good places for reading or resting over extended periods. denny's also has many stores in japan.

fast food
Soup Stock Tokyo

Is a trendy soup kitchen chain that serves delicious soup all-year round, with a selection of cold soups in summer. it is a bit more expensive than most other fast food chains but you may consider it a healthier alternative to burgers.

fast food
Freshness Burger

Tries to be a bit less fast-foody and more like an "all-american" joint. the food's decent, but just be prepared for the tiniest burgers you've ever seen.

fast food

Japanese fast food restaurants offer decent quality at reasonable prices. Many chains offer interesting seasonal choices that are quite tasty. Some chains to look out for:

coffee shops

Though Starbucks has planted its flag in Japan almost as well as in the United States, the Japanese kissaten 喫茶店 has a long history. If you're really looking for a jolt of caffeine, go to Starbucks or one of its Japanese predecessors such as Doutor. But if you're trying to get out of the rain, the heat or the crowds for a while, the kissaten is an oasis in an urban jungle. Most coffee shops are one-of-a-kind affairs, and reflect the tastes of their clientele. In a Ginza coffee shop, you'll find a soft "European" decor and sweet pastries for upscale shoppers taking a load off their Ferragamos. In an Otemachi coffee shop, businessmen in suits huddle over the low tables before meeting their clients. In Roppongi's all-night coffee shops, the night owls pause between clubs, or doze until the trains start running again in the morning.

A peculiar kind of kissaten is the jazz kissa ジャズ喫茶, or jazz coffee shop. These are even darker and more smoke-filled than normal kissaten, and frequented by extremely serious-looking jazz buffs who sit motionless and alone, soaking in the bebop played at high volumes from giant audio speakers. You go to a jazz kissa to listen; conversation is a no-no.

Another offshoot is the danwashitsu 談話室, or lounge. The appearance is indistinguishable from a pricy kissaten, but the purpose is more specific: serious discussions over matters such as business or meeting prospective spouses. All tables are in separate booths, reservations are usually required, and the drinks are pricey. So don't wander into one if you're just looking for a cup of coffee.

convenience stores

If you're traveling on the cheap, Japan's numerous convenience stores コンビニ konbini can be a great place to grab a bite to eat, and they're almost always open 24/7. Major chains include 7-Eleven, Lawson, and Family Mart. You can find instant noodles, sandwiches, meat buns, and even some small prepared meals, which can be heated up in a microwave right in the store. An excellent option for food on the go is onigiri or omusubi, which is a large ball of rice stuffed with say fish or pickled plum and wrapped in seaweed, and usually cost around ¥100 each.

Most convenience stores in Japan also have a restroom located in the back. While most of the stores located in suburban and rural areas will let customers use their bathrooms, many in large cities, especially those in downtown areas and amusement districts of Tokyo and Osaka, will not. Therefore, you should ask whether you can use the bathroom at the cashier first, then buy an item later if you want to show your appreciation.

eating vegetarian

Despite its image as light and healthy cuisine, everyday Japanese food can be quite heavy in salt and fat, with deep-fried meat or seafood being prominent. Vegetarians much less vegans may have serious difficulty finding a meal that does not include animal products to some degree, particularly as the near-ubiquitous Japanese soup stock dashi is usually prepared with fish and often pops up in unexpected places like miso, rice crackers, curry, omelettes including tamago sushi, instant noodles and pretty much anywhere salt would be used in Western cuisine. There is a kelp variant called kombudashi, but it's fairly uncommon. Soba and udon noodle soups, in particular, virtually always use bonito-based katsuodashi, and typically the only vegetarian-safe item on the menu in a noodle shop is zarusoba, or plain cold noodles — but even for this the dipping sauce typically contains dashi.

An excellent option is the kaiten conveyor belt sushi shop. Westerners tend to associate sushi with fish, but there are several kinds of rolled sushi available in these shops that does not include fish or other marine creatures: kappa maki cucumber rolls, nattō maki sushi filled with stringy fermented soy beans, an acquired taste for many, kanpyō maki pickled-gourd rolls, and, occasionally, yuba sushi made with the delicate, tasty 'skin' of tofu. These types of sushi tend to be less popular than the sushi using marine animal products, so you may not see them revolving in front of your eyes on the conveyor belt. Just shout out the name of the type of sushi you want and the sushi chef will prepare it for you right away. When you are ready to leave, call the waitress over and she'll count your plates. The vegetarian sushi options are always inexpensive.

For anyone living in big cities, especially Tokyo, an excellent option is organic or macrobiotic food, known as shizenshoku 自然食. While "vegetarian food" may sound boring or even unappetizing to Japanese ears, shizenshoku is quite in vogue as of late, although meals may cost about ¥3000 and menus may still contain seafood items. While considerably harder to find, it's worth looking out for a restaurant often run by temples that offers shōjin ryori 精進料理, the purely vegetarian cuisine developed by Buddhist monks. This cuisine is highly regarded and thus often very expensive, but is often available at reasonable prices if you stay at temples.

Fortunately, traditional Japanese cuisine contains an ample amount of protein through its great variety of soy products: tofu, miso, natto, and edamame tender green soy beans in their pods, for example. In the prepared food sections of supermarkets and department store basements, you can also find many dishes including various types of beans, both sweet and savory.