If you visit Japan for the first time you may find it hard to choose somewhere for lunch, especially if you're limited for time. If the language is not your skill then most of the restaurants with their signs in Japanese may prove to be a barrier. In many places you will see plastic models or colour photos of the served dishes in windows. This, of course, is very helpful, but there is often the unfamiliar factor involved.
During my trips I discovered many 'family restaurants' with convenient service, affordable prices and English menus. A good example of such places is the SKYLARK group featuring restaurants like Gusto, Bamiyan and Jonathon's. Again, these restaurants are all over the country with each 'specialising' in one kind of cuisine or another. Gusto and Jonathon's have a Western theme while Bamiyan's is Chinese. At these places, you choose from the large menu on your table and then press the button on the table to call the staff over to order. Payment is at the cashier after your meal.
Another system available at many places is of the self-service type where you simply choose a dish from a ticket machine by the door and pay at the machine. The machine will give you a ticket which you then pass on to a staff member. A hugely popular example of such a place is the gyudon chain store YOSHINOYA. Whether on Takeshita street in Tokyo's Harajuku or on Jozenji Dori in Sendai, Yoshinoya's beef-on-rice bowls are literally everywhere. For only a few hundred yen you get a simple but satisfying meal. Variations and extras are available.
Japan overflows with cheap and convenient places to eat. So whether you prefer the self-service ticket style often found with Japanese foods or the large, colourful menus of the family restaurants, eating in Japan is very easy.