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5 Best Japanese Fast Food Chains to Get Your Money’s Worth – Hamburger Steaks, Gyoza, Gyudon, and More Await!

Japan is full of cheap and tasty fast food chains, and there are plenty of types of food to explore, from your standard hamburgers to local favorites like gyudon (beef bowl), soba noodles, and curry. Read on for the five best Japanese fast food restaurants.

1. First Kitchen

First Kitchen is a Japanese hamburger chain mainly found in the Kanto region, but with around 70 stores in total around Japan. Their main focus, in addition to the 11 varieties of hamburgers and sandwiches, is on their pasta range (from 590 JPY (incl. tax)*). You should definitely try the First Classic Burger (550 JPY (incl. tax)*) with its umami flavor. The 100% beef burger has the added flavor of kombu (kelp) dashi and is sandwiched in a tasty bun flavored with a hint of soy sauce. Also popular is the Flavor Potato fries range (200 JPY (incl. tax)*). Choose your favorite from a range of tastes like salt, consomme, and butter with soy sauce. If you’re eating in, you get free rein at the Dip Sauce Bar where you can customize your meal with ketchup, cheese sauce or avocado sauce.

*Price including tax when you eat in (10% tax)

1. First Kitchen

2. Matsuya

Gyudon is a Japanese fast food staple, made from thinly-sliced beef and onions simmered in a salty-sweet stock and piled on top of a bowl of rice. Matsuya is a large-scale gyudon chain that has more than 1,000 restaurants in almost all prefectures of Japan. What makes it different from other chains is the free miso soup you get when you eat in. On the menu, you'll find the classic Gyumeshi (320 JPY for a regular bowl (incl. tax)*), as well as dishes like yakiniku or hamburger steak that come in a set with rice, salad, and miso soup (from 600 JPY (incl. tax)). You order by buying a food ticket at the ticket machine when you go in.

*Some shops offer Premium Gyumeshi (380 JPY for a regular bowl (incl. tax)).

2. Matsuya

3. Fuji Soba

Soba noodles are a popular Japanese fast food often eaten while standing. Fuji Soba is a well-known chain in the capital with more than 100 restaurants in central Tokyo. Usually open 24 hours and located close to stations, they are an easy place to make a quick stop at in between sightseeing stop. Their hot and cold noodles (both from 310 JPY (incl. tax)), and katsudon (pork cutlet rice bowl) (500 JPY (incl. tax)) are popular choices here. Touches such as firming up the noodles in cold water and the use of sauces made with fresh dashi stock means you can enjoy cheap, delicious soba that doesn’t cut corners.

3. Fuji Soba

4. Gyoza no Ohsho

As the name suggests, Gyoza no Ohsho is a Chinese restaurant chain that serves gyoza as its signature dish. Starting out in Kansai, since its founding Ohsho has expanded to around 730 restaurants around the world. Grilled on a specially-made iron plate, these crispy gyoza are so popular that they sell more than 2 million every day (from 220 JPY (incl. tax)). Their chewy outer and flavorful, juicy filling makes a delicious match. Another feature of Ohsho is that each restaurant offers its own original dishes on the menu. Food is made to order, so you can enjoy freshly-prepared, piping hot Chinese food here.

4. Gyoza no Ohsho

5. CURRY HOUSE CoCo ICHIBANYA

CoCo Ichibanya is a chain of curry restaurants that boasts around 1,300 locations in Japan and 170 overseas. Here you can choose from four different base sauces, pork, beef, vegetarian, and hashed beef (from 514 JPY (incl. tax)*). Of these, one of the most popular options is the Pork Katsu Curry (809 JPY (incl. tax)*) featuring curry topped with a pork loin cutlet. This curry comes with pork sauce as a standard, but you can swap if you prefer. You can customize your curry by choosing the amount of spice, serve of rice, and what additional toppings you'd like. You can also find certified halal branches in Tokyo’s Akihabara and Kabukicho, Shinjuku branches.

*Price including tax when you eat in (10% tax)

5. CURRY HOUSE CoCo ICHIBANYA

If you're not sure what to eat in Japan, we hope you'll use this article as a guide to your next meal!

*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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