An example of a Gusto store (Photo: Masoud Akbari / CC BY-SA 3.0)
An example of a Gusto store (Photo: Masoud Akbari / CC BY-SA 3.0)
- 3 min read

A Guide to Japan's Family Restaurant Chains

Easy breezy family dining across the country

If you're traveling to Japan with your entire family - particularly with little ones in tow - you may be wondering about quick, relatively inexpensive places to eat that cater to the whole crew. Family restaurants can be a great option, and Japan has a range of them to choose from. Here is an introduction to some of the main ones, and a peek into the menu offerings you'll find at each.


Saizeriya is Japan's take on fast-food Italian cuisine. You'll find plenty of traditional options like meat sauce spaghetti and penne arrabbiata, through to some more Japanese-inspired offerings like tarako (pollock roe) pizza if you want to branch out a little. The prices here are incredible value for money - the pizzas sit between 399 to 499 yen plus tax, and the pasta dishes range from 299 to 599 yen. Of course, you'll also find a host of other main meals and plenty of side dishes here, including soups and salads, right through to wine and dessert.

Saizeriya is Japan's answer to Italian fast food
Saizeriya is Japan's answer to Italian fast food (Photo: hiroshikato / CC BY-SA 3.0)


Gusto is a chain of family restaurants that have something to cater to just about anyone's palates, and there are both Japanese and Western style dishes on offer. The menu includes options like hamburger steak, pizzas and pastas, ramen, butter chicken and keema curries...the list goes on. The kids meals here come with choices like udon, a mini hamburger, or a pancake, with several side dishes. Early riser? They have a breakfast menu, too - which also comes with both Japanese or Western options.

Western...with a twist. Corn and mayo pizza at Gusto
Western...with a twist. Corn and mayo pizza at Gusto (Photo: Lombroso / CC BY-SA 4.0)


American readers might immediately hear the name Denny's and think the menu will be the same as the chain in the States, but while the name and the logo are familiar, the eating options are different. The Japanese menu can be explored in full here, but some of the main meals include the likes of ginger pork, karaage (fried chicken), marinated trout, or Sichuan-style dandan noodles. The kids menu is quite comprehensive, and even comes with low-allergen options. Handy!

Denny's have the same logo as the States, but a very different menu
Denny's have the same logo as the States, but a very different menu (Photo: Chelsea Marie Hicks / CC BY-SA 2.0)

Royal Host

When you look at the menu for Royal Host, it sounds decidedly more upmarket than your average fast food spot - Australian beef burgers, local pork from Hokkaido, Gunma, and Akita Prefectures, and Angus sirloin steak are just a few of their listed options. The kids menu is also extensive, and comes with low-allergen options like Denny's. You can also buy baby food at Royal Host - ultra family-friendly!

Royal Host has something for everyone
Royal Host has something for everyone (Photo: sinkdd / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)


Jonathan's is another chain which has such a wide range of options that even the fussiest eaters will find something they enjoy. Beef stew, fried Hiroshima oysters, tandoori chicken with rice pilaf, and a variety of sandwiches and pizzas are just the tip of the iceberg here. The kids meals choices include an onigiri (rice ball) set, a mini hamburger steak set, and a pancake set to name just a few. They come served with several sides and jelly cups.

Part of the menu at Jonathan's
Part of the menu at Jonathan's (Photo: Dennis Amith / CC BY-NC 2.0)


Bamiyan is a Chinese-style family restaurant chain with main dishes like mapo tofu, sweet and sour pork, xiao long bao, and gyoza. They also have quite a comprehensive dessert menu, including sesame dango and green tea chiffon cake to name just a couple. The kids meal options at Bamiyan include a fried rice set, ramen set, or curry and rice set, and they're priced between 399 and 499 yen.

Fried rice and soup at Bamiyan
Fried rice and soup at Bamiyan (Photo: iMorpheus / CC BY-SA 2.0)
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Elizabeth S 3 years ago
When I have a crowd in tow, and they're on a budget and famished, it's Coco's, the family restaurant, not the curry one. We also do Saizeriya in a pinch. Can't be beat for cheap eats.
Kim Author 3 years ago
Oh yes! I forgot about Coco's!
Sleiman Azizi 3 years ago
I used to live off of Saizeriya and Gusto. Ye gads they are cheap. Good news with Saizeriya is that they went completely non-smoking which is great for families.
Luca De Pasquale 3 years ago
I do see many families when passing by on my daily commuter route
Sander van Werkhoven 3 years ago
Not exactly my favorite kind of restaurant in Japan, but if all else fails (or it's just too rainy to look for something else), it's still pretty decent. Lots of variation and you just can't beat those prices. I'd say Saizeriya would be my favorite, though the tantanmen at Denny's is pretty good too.
Kim Author 3 years ago
They've saved me on so many occasions when I've been traveling with my little ones, since I know there's stuff at these places that they'll happily eat! Definitely not haute cuisine but they fill the belly and they're so wallet-friendly! Saizeriya is also probably my favorite!
Shinobu Ishikawa 3 years ago
I like Denny's, especially morning dishes are recommended!
Kim Author 3 years ago
I don't think I've ever had the breakfast there, but it's great to know that it's good! I used to live reasonably close to one in Tokyo, and we had lunch there a couple of times. It was good!
Luca De Pasquale 3 years ago
Now this is an interesting guide ! As a proud italian I must admit that i do not mind going to Saizeriya sometimes ! Prices are ridiculously low and quality is quite good as expected by japanese standard for food & beverage.

Focaccia and desserts are my personal favourites !
Kim Author 3 years ago
@Luca I feel like if you vouch for it, being Italian, then it's definitely decent!
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