Eating in Japan can be somewhat intimidating if you do not know how to speak or read Japanese, but with a little looking you will always find yourself surrounded with several options for your meals. Exploring Japan on foot, by train, and bus can leave you hungry, tired, and stressed. Traveling in Japan requires you to be on budget. I usually set aside 2000 yen for meals for the day. Breakfast and Lunch at 500 yen each and splurge at Dinner for 1000 yen. If you are able to stop by convenience stores such as Family Mart, Sunkus, 7-11, and Lawsons for breakfast and lunch, your 500 yen will buy you a bento and a drink. Purchase your bento and eat it at a local park, or some convenience stores have tables setup where you can enjoy your meal. These convenience stores are safe, clean, and have most everything available for you to eat: chopsticks, forks, spoons, straws, and napkins. Dinner time, you can stroll through the big supermarkets such as Daiei or Sanwa after 5pm and purchase their marked down Sushi meals or even Soba set bowls and take them back to your room to enjoy.
Another lunch option is the local fruit stands. Fruits and vegetables along with baked Japanese sweet potatoes over hot stones provide a refreshing and energizing option when you don't want a heavy bento meal from a convenience store or a hot bowl of ramen. You will see local fruit stands in every community throughout Japan and find the prices and quality very good.
You may be thinking that it is extreme to eat your lunch and breakfast from a convenience store, fruit stand or enjoy a marked down bento meal after 5pm but this is acceptable and common practice among Japanese, as everyone is looking to save money. Enjoying Japan like a local is even better, and what better way to do this and save money at the same time?
You can enjoy some of the best meals in Japan like a local by following these ideas and staying on budget to have money set aside for souvenirs and more exploring through this great country.