Japanese take their cuisine very seriously. This can be
seen all over in Japan, from the popular television show
lron Chef (where famous chefs battle it out) to a popular
comic-book (mange) series featuring a chef and his cuisine.
This love for fine food is reflected in the wide variety
restaurants in Japan.
On the low end of the price scale are the ramen Japan restaurants
from 500yen to 1,000yen. Large fast food chains are also
scattered throughout Japan, especially near the train stations,
so you¡¯re set if you ever get a craving for McDonalds¡¯ French
fries (in Japan called ¡°Mac fry potato¡±). Many restaurants
display plastic replicas of their offerings in their windows,
so you can see what they serve before you enter. This also
makes it easier to order if you do not speak Japanese. Higher-priced
restaurants usually do not have plastic displays, but menus
(with prices) are often displayed by the door.
Make sure you check the prices before entering a Japan restaurant
because some are unbelievably expensive, and prices may
be (confusingly) written in kanji rather than Arabic numerals.
Japanese aced variety of items at a lower price. If you
do not like the set menus you can order a la carte. Although
Japan has excellent foreign restaurants such as Chinese,
Italian, Korean, Indian, French, and American, do not ignore
the local cuisine. There are all different kinds of Japanese
dishes at all different price ranges, so experiment a little
and try something you have never seen before.
The service you get at Japanese restaurants is usually prompt
and gracious, even at the fast food places. Additionally,
there is no tipping at Japanese restaurants! There is, however,
a 5 percent sales tax; the more expensive restaurants and
upscale bars may also charge a table fee.
Popular Restaurants in Japan
- More affordable restaurants abound in downtown office
building basements, the dining floors of department
stores, urban shopping centers, and the underground
malls of the busiest railway stations.
- At lunchtime, office workers crowd these dining
spots. Many order teishoku, a low-priced complete meal
on a tray. Most restaurants in the moderate to inexpensive
price range have realistic plastic models of their dishes,
with prices, in a showcase outside the entrance. If
you don't know what to order, point to the dish you
want to try. Some restaurants have bilingual (Japanese
and English) menus, and you can use JNTO's Tourist's
Handbook as a handy phrase book for dining out. Paperback
guidebooks to inexpensive Japanese dishes are available
at major bookstores.
- For people in a hurry, noodle stands, coffee shops,
fast-food outlets and vending machines provide a variety
of food and drink at very low cost.
At most restaurants, you receive a bill and pay as you
leave. A few have you buy a meal coupon in advance and
hand it to the waiter or waitress. Payment is made in
cash except when credit cards are accepted. Inexpensive
restaurants, coffee shops and fast-food outlets accept
cash only. No tipping, please.
- Other places to eat Japanese Dishes
- ¡¤Box lunches, some unique to a particular area,
are sold aboard trains.
- ¡¤Dinner on a cruise ship during an evening bay cruise
lets you see city lights from the water.
- ¡¤Street side yatai stalls, some with stools, offer
inexpensive taste treats.
- ¡¤Dinner-shows at deluxe hotels combine fine food
and live entertainment for an evening you'll never forget.
- ¡¤Convenience stores have sandwiches, box lunches
and other cooked dishes you can take out.
- ¡¤Department store basements are great places to
sample many kinds of food for free.
- ¡¤Kaiten Sushi: Customers sit at a round counter
and receive low-priced sushi on a circling conveyor