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Living

Living

In this section we are listing some convenient shops and restaurants that you can go to while staying in Japan. The shops could be useful when you forget to bring something from home and the restaurants are nice for a quick bite during your visit. The stores and restaurants introduced in this section are all big chain stores so you can easily find them in Japan.

Convenience Store

Convenience stores are open 24 hours and 365 days of the year so it is a very easy option when you need something. Not only food but also basic living goods could also be found at Japanese convenience stores. Convenience stores in Japan are full of varieties of products. It is quite different from the ones you will see in the western countries. It is said that Japanese convenience stores have the widest varieties of goods in the world. The variety goes from chips to make up remover to note books to stamps. The range of goods could be beyond your imagination. It is quite interesting to look around in Japanese convenience stores.

The stores have such wide variety of goods where you can sometimes use them as small supermarkets. It is a very good choice while you are traveling and is also a cheaper option for meals if you want to save some money.
There are also ATMs in most of the convenience stores where you can withdraw money. For withdrawing with a foreign credit card we recommend 7-Eleven or Lawson. Among the two, 7-Eleven’s ATM accepts most type of cards from most countries.
Ticket machines that sell tickets for museums, amusement parks, events, and sport matches, are also located in the convenience stores; depending on the facility, some of them would recommend you to purchase tickets ahead of time at those machines so you will be guaranteed to enter. We will include this information while introducing different attractions.

The big convenience chains are as following:
  • 7-ELEVEN
  • 7-ELEVEN
    Source: http://webka.jp
  • Family Mart
  • Family Mart
    Source: http://mainichibeer.jp
    Smaller chains

    and

  • MINI STOP
  • MINI STOP
    Source: http://845.fm

    Variety Store (Dollar Stores / Pound Shop)

    These stores are similar to dollar stores / poundland; where you can find very cheap products. These variety stores can be categorized into 100 yen shops and 300 yen shops. If you suddenly realize you forgot to bring something from home you can always try one of them for you to spend little money for things that you may not bring home with you. Of course you can find some souvenirs and useful things to bring home as well! The variety stores in Japan could surprise you with the quality of products they sell.

    The famous variety store chains are as following:
  • DAISO (100 yen shop)
  • DAISO
    Source: http://www.yoshizuya.com
  • Can Do (100 yen shop)
  • Can Do
    Source: https://locari.jp
  • Seria (100 yen shop)
  • Seria
    Source: https://locari.jp
  • NATURAL KITCHEN (100 yen shop)
  • NATURAL KITCHEN
    Source: https://mery.jp
  • Kitchen Kitchen (100 yen shop)
  • Kitchen Kitchen
    Source: http://www.kitchen-kitchen.jp
  • Cou Cou (300 yen shop)
  • Cou Cou
    Source: http://ibanavi.net
  • 3COINS OOOPS! (300 yen shop)
  • 3COINS OOOPS!
    Source: http://www.sakaechika.com
  • Don Quijote (ドンキ.ホーテ)
  • (Cheap variety shops, it sells products where you can find in normal stores but with a cheaper price.)
    Donki.Hote
    Source: http://www.donki.com

    Drug Store / Cosmetic Store (Dollar Stores / Pound Shop)

    At drug stores you can find varieties of medicines, cosmetics, cleaning goods, and some household goods. Many people come to Japan and enjoy shopping at drug stores because the cosmetics and medicines in Japan are quite popular. When a certain product becomes popular on the internet, there are times where it could all be sold out!

    The famous drug store chains are as following:
  • Matsumoto Kiyoshi (マツモト キヨシ)
  • Matsumoto Kiyoshi
    Source: http://pieri.sc
  • SUNDRUG (サンドラッグ)
  • SUNDRUG
    Source: http://hokkaido.letsgojp.com
  • Cocokara Fine (ココカラファイン)
  • Cocokara Fine
    Source: http://www.luckland.co.jp

    Fast Food Chains – Burger, Taco, Donuts

    When you travel, I am sure you would like to try the local foods, but sometimes when you want to eat something fast, good, and reasonable, there are a few fast food chains that you can choose from. The Fast food chains include ones that are familiar to everyone in the world to ones that are mostly only located in Japan or Asian countries. There are three main types of restaurants where you can find cheap food and can have them in a relatively short time. The three types include fast food restaurants, family restaurants, and ramen stores. The ones listed in this section are the commons ones that you could see all over Japan.

    The fast food chains that we would like to recommend are as following:
  • McDonald’s (マクドナルド)
  • McDonald's
    Source: http://www.ootakekan.co.jp
  • BURGER KING
  • BURGER KING
    Source: http://pieri.sc
  • KFC
  • KFC
    Source: http://taspy.jp
  • TACO BELL
  • TACO BELL
    Source: https://womagazine.jp
    These are the fast food chains that are familiar for a lot of people in the world.
    The following ones are originally from Japan.
  • MOS BURGER
  • MOS BURGER
    Source: https://candypot.jp
    Mosriceburger (390 yen)
    Mosriceburger
    Source: http://rocketnews24.com

    Mos Burger is originally from Japan; it is famous for its rice burger. The food sold here is fresh and is also healthier comparing to some other fast food chains; however, the size of the burgers is quite small and the pricing are more expensive. The taste is good so it is worth a try but we wouldn’t recommend it if you are trying to get a big meal with a cheap price.

  • LOTTERIA
  • LOTTERIA
    SOURCE: http://sanko35.net
  • First Kitchen
  • First Kitchen
    Source: https://www.odakyu-sc.com
  • FRESHNESS BURGER
  • FRESHNESS BURGER
    Source: http://gigazine.net
  • mister Donut
  • mister Donut
    Source: http://www.liv-sumiyoshi.jp

    Japanese Fast Food Restaurants / Family Restaurants

    Other than burger / donut fast food chains, there are other types of fast restaurants in Japan. These are similar to a diner and could be a good choice when you are trying to lower your budget.

    Yoshinoya, Matsuya, and Sukiya are three big fast food restaurant chains that mainly serve beef rice bowls. It also has options of pork, curry, and other menu depending on the store. The price range starts from 290 yen to 380 yen for the regular size main dish.

  • Yoshinoya (吉野家)
  • Yoshinoya
    Source: http://hayashimasaki.net
    Gyudon
    Yoshinoya, Gyudon
    Source: http://blogs.yahoo.co.jp
  • MATSUYA (松屋)
  • MATSUYA
    Source: http://rocketnews24.com
  • SUKIYA (すき家)
  • SUKIYA
    Source: http://www.sakaechika.com
    Gyudon
    SUKIYA, Gyudon
    Source: http://www.sukiya.jp
    Following is Tenya; it is famous for its Tempura rice bowls.
  • TENYA (天丼 てんや)
  • TENYA
    Source: http://gigazine.net
    Regular size for 500 yen
    Tendon
    TENYA, Tendon
    Source: http://www.tenya.co.jp
    Hidakaya sells Chinese cuisines.
  • HIDAKAYA (日高屋)
  • HIDAKAYA
    Source: http://nishinomiya.areablog.jp
    Here is some sample menu
    HIDAKAYA, English Menu
    Source: http://hidakaya.hiday.co.jp
    Fuji soba mainly serves soba dishes.
  • Fujisoba (富士そば)
  • Fujisoba
    Source: https://ja.wikipedia.org
    Here is some sample menu
    Fujisoba, Menu
    Source: http://fujisoba.co.jp
    hanamaru udon mainly serves udon dishes.
  • Hanamaru Udon (はなまるうどん)
  • hanamaru udon
    Source: http://tabelog.com
    The plainest udon, Bukkake udon starts from 300 yen.
    You can choose from hot and cold soups / sauces to go with your udon.
    Origin Bento and Kitchen Origin do not have seats or space for you to dine in the store. It is for take outs only. It sells a variety of lunch boxes and side menu; most menus would be cooked when you order them so the food is fresh.
  • ORIGIN BENTO (オリジン弁当)
  • ORIGIN BENTO
    Source: http://blogs.yahoo.co.jp
  • KITCHEN ORIGIN (キッチンオリジン)
  • KITCHEN ORIGIN
    Source: http://www.neyagawa-np.jp
    Here is some sample menu.
    ORIGIN BENTO, Menu
    Source: https://www.toshu.co.jp
    The following restaurants are family restaurants which are even more similar to diners in the western countries. The prices are usually around 500 yen to 800 yen for the main dishes.
  • GUSTO (ガスト)
  • GUSTO
    Source: http://gathery.recruit-lifestyle.co.jp
  • Royal Host
  • Royal Host
    Source: http://irorepo.com
  • Bamiyan (バーミヤン)
  • Bamiyan
    Source: http://www.bubble-b.com
  • Denny’s (デニーズ)
  • Denny's
    Source: sumikaerabi.jp
  • Saizeria (サイゼリヤ)
  • Saizeriya
    Source: http://www.inter-village.jp

    Sushi

    Other than the fast food restaurants above, there are also more reasonable sushi places for you to enjoy sushi and you can also have the meal in a short period of time.
    There are four sushi places in Japan that are famous for its reasonable price. A lot of the sushi starts from 100 yen per plate (two pieces of sushi per plate). The names are “Hamazushi,” “Kappazushi,” “Sushiro,” and “Kurazushi.”
    These sushi places are not like the traditional places where you sit at the counter and the chef makes the sushi right in front of you; instead, you will see a belt full of plates of sushi going around the store. It may be quite interesting to see.
    Those sushi places are called Kaitenzushi(回転寿司), which means the sushi are going around. They usually open from 11 to 23.

    Kaitenzushi
    Source: http://epark.jp
  • Hamazushi (はま寿司)
  • Hamazushi
    Source: http://toyokeizai.net
  • Sushiro (スシロー)
  • Sushiro
    Source: http://hitosara.com
  • Kurazushi (くら寿司)
  • Kurazushi
    Source: http://nozawahito.exblog.jp
  • Kappazushi (かっぱ寿司)
  • Kappazushi
    Source: http://matome.naver.jp

    Ramen

    Besides Sushi, Ramen is also another choice for fast dinning. Ramen is a little more expensive than the fast food restaurants and diners listed above but it is usually below 1,000 yen per bowl of ramen.
    Recently Tonkotsu ramen have become popular throughout the world; and the first Michelin star ramen store was selected in the Michelin guide Tokyo 2016!

    The famous ramen store is called TSUTA (蔦); it is famous for its Shoyu (soy sauce flavor) ramen, using truffles as one of the ingredients.

  • Japanese Soba Noodles Tsuta (蔦)
  • Tsuta
    Source: https://icotto.jp

    Since it is a very popular ramen place, it has its own unique system for getting a seat in the store. It does not allow reservations, but you will have to physically go and get a numbered ticket for you to get in.
    The numbered tickets are distributed starting at 7:00 in the morning and it usually ends around 9:00am when all the tickets are taken. On the weekends the tickets will be distributed starting at 6:30. The ticket will indicate the time period that is available for you to come back and enjoy the ramen.

    There are six time slots for the numbered tickets:

    • 11:00 – 12:00
    • 12:00 – 13:00
    • 13:00 – 14:00
    • 14:00 – 15:00
    • 15:00 – 16:00
    • 16:00 – 17:00

    After receiving the tickets, you will return at the dedicated time for your ramen.
    If you are going with a group of friends, only one person need to be there in the morning to receive the tickets, but he or she will have to pay 1000 yen as a deposit for each ticket. When you return to eat the ramen at the designated time slot, you will get the 1000 yen back by returning the ticket. The restaurant does not accept cancellation but one person can have more than one ticket for themselves for ordering more.
    It is not easy to try to Micheline stared ramen…but if you want to try it you will have to work hard for it.

    To give you a peak at its menu:
    Shoyu Soba (醤油そば) 850 yen
    Shoyu Soba with Roast pork and egg (焼豚味玉醤油そば) 1250 yen
    Tsuta-Shoyu Soba with Roast pork and egg
    Source: http://getnews.jp

    They also have Shio soba (salt based soup) and other seasonal menus as well. They also serve some rice dishes as well as side menus. If you do have a chance and time, try the Michelin nominated ramen once while you are in Tokyo.

    Other than TSUTA, let us recommend some famous chain ramen places in Japan:
  • Ippudo(一風堂)
  • Ippudo
    Source: https://www.asty-shizuoka.co.jp
    This is a chain store where it has stores in many other cities in the world; such as New York, London, and Paris.
    One of its famous menus is Akamaru 800 yen
    Akamaru 800yen
    Ippudo-Akamaru
    Source: http://www.ippudo.com
  • Ramen Jiro(ラーメン二郎)
  • Ramen Jiro
    Source: http://ys-foods.seesaa.net
    It is famous for its extra toppings, you can decide how much toppings you would like to add. The toppings you can choose from include vegetables, garlic, back oil, and special sauce that makes the taste stronger.
    This place is popular for its tonkotsu ramen and it popular among a lot of Asian people because it is not as salty comparing to some Japanese ramen.
  • Tonkotsu Ramen ICHIRAN(一蘭)
  • Ichiran
    Source: http://www.takeichi.co.jp
    One of the features of ICHIRAN is that every seat is isolated. It might be because the cook want us to focus on the ramen rather than talking with friends
    Classic Tonkotsu Ramen (天然とんこつラーメン) 790 yen
    Classic Tonkotsu Ramen
    Source: http://lmaga.jp
    Credits for images

    Updated: 2016/09/23