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The best cheap eats in Tokyo

The best restaurants and cafés in the capital for great food and good value

Colourful and cheap eats at Nogata's Tamae Tent

While Tokyo life may not be getting any cheaper, the city's appetite for great value food has never been bigger. Tokyoites love to eat out – a lot – and this has made it one the best cities in the world for quality at a low price. We set out on a quest to find the very best cheap eats in the metropolis, and came back with far too many eateries to include here. The spots listed below are our top picks, and constitute a complete A to Z of where to dine on a budget.

Some of the venues in the list below are very traditionally Japanese, but they span a range of styles – ramen of course, but also yakitori, tempura, oden, gyoza, monja and okonomiyaki, curry-rice, soba and udon, and even (you guessed) sushi. We’ve also covered a range of styles of places, from workmen’s caffs to stand bars, izakayas to traditional tatami-matted unagi grills, suitable for a wide range of occasions. What they all have in common is a dedication to serving excellent food at extremely fair prices. You'll find dinner for no more than ¥3,000 at all of the venues that made our list, and many of them do lunch for under ¥1,000. Because nobody wants Japanese food for every meal – regardless of how cheap it may be – we’ve gone for as varied a range of venues as possible, so expect everything from vegan cafés to fish and chip shops (burgers and pizzas meanwhile, each have separate pages of their own).

If you’re not sure where to start, use our map to see Tokyo’s best budget restaurants by area. So grab some change and slip on your scruffiest shoes – these are the best cheap eats in Tokyo.

The full list

Afuri

The best ramen bar in Ebisu, in a side street out the back of Ebisu Yokocho. It serves dishes which are lighter than many, and attracts a hip young crowd who also appreciate Afuri’s sleekly industrial decor. 
Meal for two: around ¥2,000

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Ebisu

Akitaya

A classic stand bar near Hamamatsucho Station, serving grilled organ meats along with cheap beer, sake and shochu. The stews start from ¥450, the tataki dishes from ¥220. 
Meal for two with drinks: from ¥2,000

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Hamamatsucho

Anda Gyoza

The unorthodox dumplings delight at this charming little Chinese-influenced café near Yoyogi-Uehara Station. 
Meal for two with drinks: around ¥4,000

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Yoyogi-Uehara

And The Friet

Dutch-style chips/fries/friets, from a small and busy takeaway in Hiroo. Even with a side order you can eat well for under ¥1,000. 
Meal for two: around ¥2,000

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Hiroo

Antenna <> Wired Cafe

Commune 246 is a collection of food stalls and a self-proclaimed hub for disseminating alternative culture. The slickest café is Antenna Wired Cafe, which serves unusual hot dogs. 
Meal for two with drinks: around ¥2,500

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Aoyama

Buchi

Buchi is a casual pub that also happens to offer great yakiniku, but for those on a budget, the barbecued organ meat cuts are a snip. The deluxe sampler costs ¥1,050 for 180 grams of varied goodness. 
Meal for two: around ¥2,500

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Shibuya

Butayaro

Grilled pork over rice (butadon) is the speciality at this eatery just outside Ochanomizu Station. Available in small, medium, or far-too-large. 
Meal for two: around ¥2,500 

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Ochanomizu

Chuo Line ramen shops

Heading west into the western suburbs on the Chuo Line you pass by some great ramen bars. Read our guide to the best pitstops en route. 
Meal for two: from/around ¥1,500

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By: Time Out Tokyo Editors

Cori

You can veg out at this strictly vegan fast food stall, currently parked up at Commune 246 in Aoyama. 
Meal for two: around ¥2,000 

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Aoyama

Coutume Aoyama

Although primarily a coffee bar, this sleek French café in Aoyama does good breakfast deals before 11am. 
Breakfast for two with coffees: around ¥2,500

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Aoyama

Curry Up

This trendy Harajuku curry joint is popular for its Japanese take on international curry dishes, served at reasonable prices. 
Meal for two with drinks: from around ¥3,000

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Harajuku

Curry in Jinbocho

Japanese curry-rice is unlike no other, and Jinbocho has one of the highest concentrations of curry shops in Tokyo. Our feature lists 15 of the best. 
Meal for two: in most venues from around ¥2,000

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By: Time Out Tokyo Editors

Deva Deva Cafe

A vegetarian café in the western suburbs with a vegan menu and many dishes costing around ¥1,000 per plate. 
Meal for two with drinks: around ¥3,000 

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Kichijoji

Food trucks

Food on four wheels is often a fun and cheap way to fill up. Read our guide to some of the best food vans in Tokyo. 
Meal for two: from around ¥2,000

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By: Time Out Tokyo Editors

Fujiya Honten

This stand bar near Shibuya Station is an old-timer with affordable and filling bar snacks. 
Beers start at ¥450; the snacks are even cheaper

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Shibuya

Gindaco

A chain of takoyaki stand bars – find one at a station near you now. The delicious and filling fried octopus balls start from a mere ¥500. 
Meal for two with drinks: around ¥2,000 

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Harajuku

Harajuku Gyoza Lou

There are just two styles of gyoza dumplings available at this no-frills eatery – fried or steamed – and they're as tasty as they are affordable (just ¥290 for six). 
Meal for two: around ¥1,000

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Harajuku

Isari Juu Hachiban

An izakaya in Shibuya that’s always busy in the evenings, but has interesting dishes and great-value set lunches. 
Lunch for two: from around ¥2,000

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Shibuya

Iseya

This yakitori joint next to Inokashira Park in Kichijoji has good value sticks to take away or eat in. 
Meal for two with drinks: from around ¥3,000

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Kichijoji

Izu-Ei

One of the more expensive options on our list, this smart unagi specialist near Ueno Park is worth noting for the ¥2,160 set lunch. 
Set lunch for two: around ¥4,500

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Ueno

Jun-chan

One of a score of good and affordable late-night izakayas inside Ebisu Yokocho, Jun-chan is the first you encounter on your left, and specialises in dishes from Kyushu. 
Meal for two with drinks: from around ¥4,000

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Ebisu

Kadota

This mid-priced grill restaurant produces excellent value set lunches (teishoku) costing not much over ¥1,000 per head. 
Lunch for two: around ¥2,500

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Ebisu

Kaithong

This Thai chicken shop near Shibuya Station serves just one dish: Hainanese-style chicken rice. One plate costs ¥800. 
Meal for two with drinks: around ¥1,600

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Shibuya

Kameido Horumon

Take a few quick steps north from Kameido Station and you’ll notice the queue for this deceptively shabby eatery serving fine organ meats. Eat your fill from around ¥2,000 per person.
Meal for two: around ¥5,000

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Kameido

Kanda Yabu Soba

One of the smarter options on our list, it’s still possible to eat affordably at this traditional soba restaurant – for under ¥1,000 at lunch. 
Meal for two: around ¥5,000

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Awajicho

Kaneko Hannosuke

If you don’t mind a long queue – over an hour, more often than not – this tempura joint in Nihonbashi offers both quality and outstanding value. 
Meal for two: around ¥2,000

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Nihonbashi

Kikanbo

A fun and atmospheric 'devil ramen' bar in Kanda, with bowls of Sichuan-spiced ramen going for ¥800 and up. 
Meal for two with drinks: around ¥2,500

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Kanda

Kishidaya

This ever-popular neighbourhood izakaya in Tsukishima is famed for its gyu-nikomi – a soy sauce-based entrail stew, ¥500. Expect a long wait in the evenings as a queue forms. 
Meal for two with drinks: around ¥2,000

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Tsukishima

Kitchen Nankai

Curry-rice caff in Jinbocho with huge plates of hearty food costing under ¥1,000 per head. 
Meal for two: around ¥1,800 

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Jinbocho

Kushiwaka

Pricier than most places on our list, this yakitori restaurant near Mita Station is worth knowing about for the unusual dishes and English menu. 
Meal for two with drinks: from around ¥5,000

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Tamachi

Late-night ramen

Eating late doesn’t have to mean eating badly. Here are some of the best ramen bars for an all-nighter. 
Meal for two: from around ¥2,000

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By: Time Out Tokyo Editors

Malins

A proper British-style fish and chip shop, open 17 hours a day (11am-4am) on the weekends, in Roppongi. Expect to meet a few over-refreshed clubbers here in the early hours. 
Meal for two: around ¥2,800

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Roppongi

Manten

Anyone looking to expand their meat-eating pursuits should check out this Yoyogi organ meats eatery that serves 40 kinds of fresh intestines. We recommend trying the liver with onion. 
Meal for two: around ¥4,000

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Yoyogi

Maruken Suisan

This stand bar in Akabane is the place for piping hot oden stews and a glass of your favourite poison. The rich variety of oden ingredients gives you a wealth of choices. 
Meal for two with drinks: from around ¥2,500

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Akabane

Menya Hanabi

Arrive early (before 6pm) to beat the queues for this maze-soba (soupless ramen) bar. Bowls from ¥780. 
Meal for two: from around ¥1,600

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Shin-Okubo

Meu Nota

This vegan café in Koenji serves a varied menu of meat-free, international grub at a decidedly leisurely pace. 
Meal for two: from around ¥3,500 

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Koenji

Mimosa

A child-friendly café in Asakusa that heaps up the pancakes. 
Meal for two: around ¥3,000

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Asakusa

Minmin

A family-run gyoza joint that puts a new twist on dumpling traditions. 
Meal for two: around ¥3,000

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Nogizaka

Monja Kura

One of many monja and okonomiyaki joints in Tsukishima, this is one of the better ones, popular with both couples and larger parties. 
Meal for two with drinks: around ¥5,000

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Tsukishima

Motsukushi

One of many such places on Koen-dori (also known as 'Stew Street') in Asakusa. The popular mixed sampler menus are ideal for festive parties of three to four people. 
Meal for two with drinks: around ¥4,000

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Asakusa

Nakae

Curry specialists Nakae in Tsukiji boast a century of experience. The basic curry (¥550), cooked for two days in total, contains a wealth of onions and pork ribs. 
Meal for two: from ¥1,100

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Tsukiji

Nihon Saisei Sakaba

This motsuyaki stand bar in Shinjuku has plenty of unusual but delicious yakitori sticks costing from ¥150 per stick. 
Meal for two with drinks: from around ¥2,000

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Shinjuku-Sanchome

Nishiguchi Yakiton

Well respected among those who prefer their giblets grilled and saloons cheap, Nishiguchi Yakiton is an Asakusabashi gem. Find your place by the standing-only bar, and dig into some juicy pork skewers from ¥100 per stick. 
Meal for two with drinks: from around ¥3,000

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Asakusabashi

Nogata and beyond

The western suburbs on the Seibu Shinjuku line are happy hunting grounds for cheap eats, starting at Nogata Station. Read our feature for a detailed cheap eats day out.

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By: Time Out Tokyo Editors

Pita the Great

This shop's signature falafel sandwich (aka the ‘Big Pita') is a real gut-burster, filled with roughly-shaped patties that are fried to order, plus sauerkraut, salad, tahini and spicy sauce. It's a substantial meal. 
Meal for two with drinks: around ¥2,000 

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Tameike-Sanno

Pommeke

Belgian-style fries/chips/frites in Aoyama, the larger size costing ¥650, excluding dips. 
Meal for two with dips: around ¥1,600 

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Gaienmae

Pure Café

This vegan café in Aoyama does good breakfast deals costing ¥734; adding a soy latte will nearly double the cost of the meal, but it’s worth it. 
Meal for two with drinks: around ¥3,000

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Aoyama

Ramen bars

Looking for a hit list of Tokyo’s best ramen bars? Look no further, as we’ve rounded them up in one handy list here. 
Meal for two: around ¥1,800

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By: Time Out Tokyo Editors

Ramen Jiro

This original branch of Ramen Jiro in Mita churns out portions of ramen so huge you’ll not be able to finish the bowl, from a mere ¥600. 
Meal for two: around ¥1,500

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Tamachi

Ramen Koike

This ramen joint on the Keio line in the western suburbs uses innovative stocks, including a paitan (chicken stock) and niboshi (anchovies) mixture. 
Meal for two: from around ¥1,500 

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Setagaya

Rocco's New York Style Pizza

Rocco’s in Oji is an American-run pizza shop selling the good stuff by the slice (from ¥390) or in medium and large versions (14" and 18", respectively). 
Meal for two: around ¥3,000

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Oji

Sakaezushi

Looking for cheap, but good sushi? You won’t find a much better price to value ratio than at this stand bar in the eastern suburb of Tateishi. 
Meal for two: around ¥4,000

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Tateishi

Tatsuya

Ebisu's Tatsuya is a reliable place to stock up on that staple of salaryman cuisine, yakitori. It stays open from 8am to 5am the following morning. 
Meal for two with drinks: from around ¥4,000

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Ebisu

Tawan Thai

For a spicy, filling and cheap lunch in Takadanobaba, this Thai joint is hard to beat. The set meals start from around ¥800 and portions are best described as mighty. 
Meal for two: around ¥2,000

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Takadanobaba

Tempura Imoya

This tempura café in Jinbocho closes at 8pm, but serves a great-value, no-choice set lunch. 
Meal for two: around ¥1,500

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Jinbocho

Tempura Nakayama

The tempura bowl (¥1,100) at Tempura Nakayama in Ningyocho is also known as the ‘black tendon’ – the name is inspired by the dark colour of the tempura. 
Meal for two: around ¥2,200

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Ningyocho

Tateishi

Not a restaurant, but a neighbourhood in eastern Tokyo that’s packed with good budget places to eat. For ten of our tried and tested favourites, read our feature. 
Meal for two with drinks: varies by venue, but around ¥1,000-¥4,000

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By: Time Out Tokyo Editors

The 3rd Burger

A burger bar in Aoyama that cares about the provenance and quality of ingredients. The signature 3rd Burger costs only ¥638. 
Meal for two with drinks: around ¥2,500

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Aoyama

Tonki

There are two main options at this restaurant in Meguro – both breaded and fried pork with rice and trimmings, both costing ¥1,900 per set meal (teishoku). 
Meal for two with drinks: around ¥5,000 

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Meguro

Tsukemen Michi

There's practically always a queue for the tsukemen at Kameari's Michi. This is an orthodox, greasy variety combining tonkotsu and seafood soups to great effect. 
Meal for two: from around ¥1,500

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Katsushika

Tsukiji Market cafés

Tsukiji offers more than just sushi bars with long queues. The inner and outer markets are home to dozens of budget cafés serving many styles of dish. Read our guide to the best here. 
Meal for two: from around ¥2,000

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By: Time Out Tokyo Editors

Tsukiji Market street food stalls

Cheaper still than the sushi joints or cafés, Tsukiji has scores of cheap fast food takeaways, selling everything from omelette slices to fishcakes to taiyaki. Read our guide to the best here. 
Meal for two: from around ¥1,000

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By: Time Out Tokyo Editors

Tsukiji Sushiko

Tsukiji is still the place to head for good sushi, but good sushi is never cheap. Sushiko offers some of the best value in the outer market, with no queuing. 
Meal for two: from around ¥4,000

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Tsukiji

Tsukishima

Not a restaurant, but a neighbourhood with scores of budget restaurants, most of these specialising in monjayaki. 
Meal for two with drinks: varies by restaurant, but around ¥5,000 for dinner 

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Tsukishima

Uomaru Honten

‘Fish shacks’ are fair-priced seafood izakayas found all over town. This one is usefully close to Ginza – and is open 24 hours a day. 
Meal for two with drinks: around ¥5,500

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Yurakucho

Vampire

If you’re on an afternoon stroll through the narrow alleys right by Oimachi Station, this classic standing-only izakaya will be serving motsuyaki, deep-fried ham, oden, dumplings and so on, all for a few hundred yen a pop. 
Meal for two with drinks: around ¥2,500

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Oimachi

Yokochos – our guide to back-alley dining

Yokocho means back alley, where many of Tokyo’s most lively and affordable late-night dining takes place. Here’s our guide to the best. 
Meal for two with drinks: from around ¥3,000

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By: Time Out Tokyo Editors

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