When it comes to Japanese style fast food, Yoshinoya Beef restaurant chain has taken the best parts of traditional cuisine and infused it with efficiency. Its restaurants can be found in most cities throughout Japan, and it is the largest 24 hour beef on rice fast food chain in the country.
When I first came to Japan I spent the first 2 years cooking in my apartment because I had not been told about the great range of fast food restaurants that were available. When you are traveling or living here alone the cost of cooking nutritional meals can cost a lot more than eating fast food.
If you are in Soja City visiting one of the many tourist sites and need a quick meal, then think about going to Yoshinoya, which is about 2km from Soja Station. You can easily walk to Yoshinoya by going directly down the main road in front of the station and then turn right when you see Sushi-O restaurant (written in English). From here just walk straight again for about 500 meters until you get to another main road, turn left and walk straight. You will see Yoshinoya to your left.
At Yoshinoya the menu is minimal but you are sure to find something appetizing. You can usually get a good meal for around 500 yen, which is an attractive price point for anyone. During the year there are some seasonal additions to the menu. In July it is considered important to eat eel on rice (unagi donbori), which, it is said, will give you that extra stamina to get through the hot season and prepare your body for the remaining months. Of course the main meat dishes have beef but you can also choose pork instead. The most popular dish is beef on rice and you can add pickled ginger or shichimi (seven spices), giving an extra bite to the dish.
There are a number of side dishes such as miso soup, coleslaw, pickled cabbage, kimchi and poached egg. There are also set courses that change during the day. One of my favorite courses is the beef and grilled salmon accompanied by miso soup and pickled cucumber.
If you are in Soja City, Okayama Prefecture or anywhere in Japan for that matter, stop by Yoshinoya and give it a try.