Eating out in Tokyo on less than 2,000 JPY

I’ve always liked adventure and reading stories from polyglots about language learning and travel so I decided to head to Tokyo. I wanted to challenge myself and see if I could figure out how to stay full with only 2000 Yen in my pocket. Also note, I didn’t include the cost of transportation in my budget.

Here’s what I managed to buy.

  • A curry bun for breakfast that cost 237 Yen
  • Hot soba for lunch that cost 290 Yen
  • Tonkatsu for dinner that cost 620 Yen

Even after my three meals, I still had 853 Yen left over. Enough to buy me another bowl of noodles.

As you can see, there are ways to eat cheaply in Tokyo, just don’t expect to be full.

If you plan to come to Tokyo but are on a tight budget, here are a few places where you can eat cheaply:

Gyudon (Photo courtesy of Wikipedia)

Matsuya, Sukiya, and Yoshinya – These franchises serve gyudon, other donburi, and curry. Most of the meals range from 400 to 600 Yen.


Matsuya (photo courtesy of

Konbini – These convenience stores include 7/11, Lawson, and Family Mart. You can find one of these franchises on almost every corner throughout Tokyo. They sell a large variety of foods (including sandwiches, sushi, bento boxes, and more). For around 600 Yen, you can probably get a decent meal.

Lawson (image courtesy of Wikipedia)

If you have ili, here are a few sentences it can help translate for you:

  • What is the cheapest restaurant near here?
  • Do you have something for less than 1000 Yen
  • What is the cheapest drink?
  • Do you have any discounts?