Affordable Japan: Part 1 Food

Affordable Japan - Part 1

Before planning my trip to Japan, I read a lot about how expensive Japan was to travel. So I made sure to take with me little extra savings, in case I found this rumor to be true. 
When it comes to comparing the price of things like food, attractions, and accommodation, traveling around Japan was actually quite affordable.  


One of the main reasons why I wanted to travel to Japan was because of the food. Tasting the cultural Japan was a must. For some reason, I got the impression that eating out in Japan, was one of the things you had to fork out for while traveling there. But I found this not to be the case.
Tempura Set!

Restaurants in Japan surprised me the most. The Japanese hospitality ended up being the most comforting and surprising thing I managed to experience while eating out. When you walk into any type of family restaurant, all the staff welcome you, the waiters and the chefs! When we finished eating at the restaurants, every time the waiting staff and the chefs would thank you very politely for choosing their restaurant. That kind of hospitality does not happen so much in New Zealand. One thing we did find expensive was the tempura style restaurants outside the main skirts of any town or city we visited. Though we found that eating at local and city train stations ended up being the most affordable places to eat. Also the selection to choose from was larger, and as we found on the days we used the bullet trains, eating at the train station was the most convenient place to choose. Donburi set meals cost around 1000 yen to 1500 yen. Which compared to New Zealand lunch and dinner meals, thats a bargain for quality food and great hospitality. For the real budget traveler, ramen ended up being the most affordable and quickest meal to order while on a tight scehdule.
Sweet Treat

Street food was affordable at times, just had to be a bit weary of how much food we were getting for the price . Local street food was a little expensive, like the meat buns we ate in Takayama, or a Taiyaki like snack we had at Kurashiki. I traveled to Japan to taste those kinds of things, so spending a little extra was worth it. In some places, we found street vendors selling the same type of snack or food for different prices and that was just a bit of trial and error on our part, also quite fun!
WORD OF CAUTION: We did have to be a bit more vigilant buying street food, as we found that prices for things like chestnuts and baked sweet potatoes were weighed and the price per weight was a bit heavty at times. So it is up to you whether or not its a good buy. 
Sweets and Deserts
I have a huge sweet tooth, so when I heard about matcha ice cream, crepes and Japanese sweets, I was all eyes and ears once in Japan. There were was a huge selection to choose from whether looking for a sweet snack, or finishing off your evening with a parfait after tea, there was plenty to choose from. I was a fan of the parfaits. In each town or city in Japan, there seemed to be a local parfait to try out. In Kurashiki, the place was known for its white peaches, so we had to try their famous white peach parfait. Local seasonal sweets and deserts ended up being a bit more expensive and at times the same price as the meal you order for dinner that night. While, sometimes deserts like sundaes and drinks were rather affordable at other restaurants. Again, with the selection on offer in Japan, its pick and choose. For me again, it was worth the price. For the more budget traveler, I think it's defintely worth indulging in a Japanese sweet treat once in a while.
To conclude, when it came to the price of food in Japan, the selection they had on offer when it came to restaurants, street foods, snacks and deserts, Japanese cuisine always had an affordable option, aswell as an expensive side. So the idea, that every meal out like when travelling to Europe would put a hole in your wallet, did not seem to be the case in Japan. So whether or not your planning a budget, middle range or expensive trip to Japan, there is a great variety of things to choose from, so just have fun with it!
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Ksenia Smith