Nara is a town where many cultural properties have remained intact, including Todaiji and Horyuji temples. However, it is also home to many izakaya (Japanese gastropub) and restaurants that offer modern Japanese cuisine. Here are five shops where you can eat lunch for 1,000 JPY or less.
1. Ochakeya Kintetsu Nara Branch
Ochakeya Kintetsu Nara Branch is an izakaya that specializes in hibachi grilled food and Kyoto-style oden (a dish in which various ingredients are boiled in soup stock). Its shop that is designed like a typical Kyoto machiya (traditional merchant's house) is filled with a relaxing atmosphere, with guests loving its box seats that resemble large wine casks. For lunch, the recommended meal here is the Odenzen (730 JPY (excl. tax)) that is an assortment of this shop’s pride: oden. The Tempurazen (880 JPY (excl. tax)) that comes with a variety of tempura pieces is also a great meal. And while you’re at it, try the Higawarizen (daily special) (780 JPY (excl. tax)), which is made up of a small serving of oden and a main dish that changes every day, too!
2. Yamatoan Kintetsu Naraekimae Branch
Yamatoan is an izakaya where you can enjoy local dishes that use ingredients from Nara such as locally harvested vegetables and beef and chicken from animals raised in the region, as well as local alcohols. While it offers an extensive menu for lunch, the Wakadori no Tatsutaage (spring chicken flavored in soy sauce and sweet cooking wine, coated with batter and then deep-fried) (880 JPY (incl. tax)), which is named after the Tatsuta River that runs through Nara, is particularly popular among its customers. The Business Lunch (880 JPY (incl. tax)), in which customers get to choose from a meat or fish set and whose main dish changes every week, is also recommended.
3. Washokuya Happoh
Happoh’s shop is filled with a Japanese vibe thanks to the use of a lot of Yoshino cedar, a famous local specialty of Nara, and century-old trees in its construction. Aside from the traditional Japanese dishes, guests also get to taste a wide array of food here, including some creative creations. There are many lunch dishes and sets available at this restaurant, with the Higawari Lunch (daily lunch special) (800 JPY (excl. tax)) that is limited to 20 sets per day being so popular that it always sells out. For those who love pork, the Nara Go Pork no Jikasei Aburi Rosutodon (bowl of rice topped with roasted Go pork) (850 JPY (excl. tax)) that uses Nara's Go pork is also recommended.
4. Niku Bar Dakara Yamatosaidaiji Branch
Niku Bar Dakara is a bar of meat dishes that offers various rare parts of meat at affordable prices as it purchases delicious and popular Japanese Black Beef in whole. For lunch, the Kurogegyu 100% Teppan Hamburger (100% Japanese Black Beef Salisbury steak) (1,000 JPY (incl. tax)) is recommended. The refreshing Gyu Harami (Oukakumaku) Steak 120g (beef skirt steak) (900 JPY (incl. tax)) is also popular among customers.
5. Japanese Dining Kurando
Kurando is a restaurant with a mature, relaxing ambiance. Here, you can enjoy dishes that draw out the delicious flavors of vegetables harvested early in the morning by local contract farmers and carefully selected meats and fish from different regions. Its most famous lunch set is the Nigiwai One Plate (900 JPY (incl. tax)) that is an assortment of small plates of different colorful dishes. This is truly an excellent meal at a great price that will let you taste various flavors. Enjoy the rice that took a little extra time to be cooked after polishing!
There are many places in Nara where you can eat lunch using local ingredients at reasonable prices! Try some of these places for a delicious lunch!
*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.
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