As a general rule, if you want to eat cheap, then don’t eat at a restaurant. In Japan, one of the cheapest and easiest ways to eat is to go to the conbini—a short for convenience store—which can be found in every corner of a metropolitan city. And don’t worry, conbinis are still numerous in the outskirts of the city. But a pro at minimizing expenses while in Japan knows to avoid conbini altogether—and go straight to the supermarket.
Supermarket held discount near the closing time everyday. So make sure to take advantage of this! Depending on how much you eat or how much you dietary need intakes, you can budget each meal for as little as 300 Yen in total. Budgeting 500 JPY for each meal would already set you off comfortably. The key is to plan! Here are some of the most convenient food in Japan supermarket that would fill you nicely throughout your trip.
Toasts are priced between 100 JPY to 400 JPY. The prices of course, depends on how many slices inside one pack, the ingredients, as well as the brand. Toasts from Life Supermarket costs just a little over 100 JPY. With a toaster or an oven in the kitchen of the place you’re staying in, a breakfast is taken care of!
Bento, bento, bento. What more should I say? It’s the easiest meal you can enjoy and also super affordable. Wide varieties, very filling, and often beautifully arranged. Just make sure to come during the closing hours of supermarket if you want to find the best deals!
Fruits in general are often rather expensive. However, cavendish bananas are generally affordable. And they can be found rather easily. One pack often consists of three bananas. They cost around 200 – 300 JPY. This option is nutritious, delicious, and affordable. They’re a staple in my everyday diet.
Okonomiyaki and Takoyaki—frozen! You can enjoy these delicacies without having to make them from scratch! They only cost approximately 200 JPY more or less. Just one pack of okonomiyaki is already quite filling! They can be eaten at any time of day. You can buy several packs and store them in the fridge. Eating okonomiyaki or takoyaki together along with slices of apples is one of my favorite ways to begin the day.
Ready to eat Hamburg steak. Ahh, the ever-versatile hambaagu. Put them on top of your rice bowl or eat them with your bread; whichever you choose, this meal is one of the easiest to make, the most filling, AND dirt cheap. All you have to do is heat it up. It already has seasonings that seeped to the insides of the steak. One pack of three is priced around 300 JPY. Prices depend on the brands as well, but generally, that’s how much you can expect to pay.
Cooking is the way to go! You’re already planning on saving on food expenses in Tokyo—chances are, you’re already prepared or even had a solid plan on saving for accommodations as well. Make sure to book accommodations with a kitchen facility. It’s fairly easy to find kitchens in rental homes or rental apartments such as airbnb. Whether it’s a private kitchen or a shared one, both work well. You don’t have to worry about having to queue to use the kitchen.