January 11, 2024

How much should I budget for food in Japan?

In this article, we have talked in detail about the food budget in Japan. If you are a first-time traveler to Japan, then you must read our blog. Read our other blogs in Japan like famous water parks in Tokyo Japan and the top 10 famous monuments in Tokyo Japan

It's thrilling to go on a food adventure in Japan, but managing your food expenses well is the secret to enjoying every second without going over budget. It's crucial to find a balance between staying within your means and taking advantage of Japan's diverse culinary scene when planning your meal budget. 

From street food vendors to Michelin-starred restaurants, Japanese cuisine provides a delightful variety of options, each promising a distinctive culinary experience. Budgeting carefully is necessary to navigate Japan's culinary scene, but it's also a great way to experience the amazing diversity of Japanese food without going overboard. 

Budget for street food in Japan

The cost of a meal in Japan can vary depending on various factors such as location, personal preferences, and portion sizes. Generally, street food in Japan is known to be reasonably priced compared to restaurant meals. Here are some approximate budget guidelines:

Low Budget: You should budget between ¥500 and ¥1,000 for each meal if you're on a tight budget. Items like grilled chicken skewers, takoyaki (octopus balls), and different kinds of onigiri (rice balls) may fall under this category.

Moderate Budget: You can eat a greater range of street foods, including some regional specialties if you have a slightly higher budget, say ¥1,000 to ¥2,500 per meal. With this budget, you can experiment with different foods and maybe have a heavier dinner.

Greater Budget: Spending more than ¥2,500 a meal gives you the chance to sample more specialty or premium street food options. You may splurge on things like fresh fish, sushi of the highest caliber, or fine-dining street food.

Budget for restaurant food in Japan

Low Budget: You can find many affordable options in Japan, such as fast food, conveyor belt sushi, and casual restaurants. A meal there will likely cost you between ¥1,000 and ¥3,000 per person.

Moderate Budget: A meal at izakayas (Japanese pubs), mid-range restaurants, or smaller specialty shops may set you back ¥3,000 to ¥7,000 per person. This spending limit enables a wider variety of eating experiences.

Higher Budget: Upscale and fine-dining restaurants in Japan can cost up to ¥20,000 per person, which is a higher price range. Michelin-starred restaurants, classic kaiseki eateries, and other upscale dining options fall under this category.

It's important to note that these are rough estimates, and prices can vary based on factors like location (Tokyo tends to be more expensive than smaller cities), the restaurant's reputation, and the type of cuisine.

Food budget in Tokyo

The food budget for a trip to Japan can vary widely depending on individual preferences, dining choices, and travel styles. However, here are some general guidelines to help you plan your food budget:

Low Budget: If you're on a tight budget, aiming for inexpensive options like street food, budget-friendly eateries, and grocery stores, you might spend around ¥3,000 to ¥6,000 per day.

Moderate Budget: For a more balanced mix of dining experiences, including mid-range restaurants, occasional splurges, and trying different local specialties, a budget of ¥6,000 to ¥12,000 per day per person should be reasonable. Here you can get the best affordable sushi in Tokyo. 

Higher Budget: If you plan to dine at upscale restaurants, indulge in premium or specialty cuisines regularly, and enjoy fine dining experiences, you might need a budget of ¥12,000 or more per day per person. 

These estimates cover the cost of meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner), snacks, and non-alcoholic beverages. It's worth noting that alcohol, if consumed, can significantly increase your daily expenses.

Final Thoughts

Planning a food budget for your travels in Japan is a crucial aspect of ensuring an enjoyable and financially sustainable trip. Keep in mind that Japan offers a diverse culinary landscape, ranging from affordable street food to upscale dining experiences. Your food budget will depend on your personal preferences, travel style, and the level of culinary experiences you seek.

For those on a budget, exploring street markets, trying local snacks, and opting for budget-friendly eateries can provide authentic and delicious Japanese meals without breaking the bank. If you have a moderate budget, striking a balance between casual and mid-range dining will allow you to savor a variety of flavors without overspending. Travelers with a higher budget can indulge in premium dining, regional specialties, and fine dining experiences.