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Cheap but Good!One-Coin Meals! <Restaurant Chains>|安くてうまい!ワンコイン飯特集!<外食チェーン店編>

Updated: Jun 13, 2022

Japan has a huge variety of fulfilling and inexpensive meals, guaranteed to be tasty and fill you up. Meals that are priced at or below JPY500 are called one-coin meals, since you can enjoy a meal with just one JPY500 coin.

So, today we’ll introduce Japanese restaurant chains that offer affordable one-coin meals. Of course, many offer cashless payment, so you might not even need a coin. ;-)

Disclaimer: This article is based on information as of April 4, 2022. Some prices may have changed since that time. 日本には安くてお腹いっぱい食べられるワンコイン飯がたくさんあります。ワンコイン飯とは、500円で食べられるご飯のことです。今回はワンコインで食べられる外食チェーン店を紹介します。 ※情報は2022年4月4日時点。一部の店舗では価格が異なる場合があります。

1. Gyudon (Japanese Beef Bowl) |牛丼

"Cheap. Fast. Good." This summarizes gyudon. A nami-mori (standard-sized) gyudon will actually cost less than JPY 500. Every major gyudon chain offers a variety of toppings, so you can get creative and try different toppings. There is a service called tsuyudaku, which means extra broth. If you ask for it (it’s free!) the gyudon comes with extra broth and will be a bit soupy. The rice soaks up the broth and it tastes wonderful to the last bite! 「安い・早い・うまい」と言えば牛丼。牛丼の並盛サイズは500円でおつりがきます。トッピングは各社バラエティー豊富で選ぶのも楽しいです。ちなみに「つゆだく」とは無料で牛丼のつゆを多めに入れてもらえるサービスです。ご飯につゆがしみこんで、最後まで美味しく食べられますよ!

Gyudon Nami-mori: JPY 400 (Incl. Tax) / Omori (Large Size): JPY 550 (Incl. Tax)

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The nami-mori was bigger than I expected, which got me very excited! Sukiya's gyudon seems to me to have more meat compared with other beef bowl restaurant chains, and their simmered beef tastes great on rice with moderate seasoning. It’s a great value for you guys, too! I went during lunchtime without a pre-order but my takeout was ready around a minute after ordering. That's impressively fast, isn't it?



Gyudon Nami-mori: JPY 426 (Incl. Tax) / Omori: JPY 613 (Incl. Tax)

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Yoshinoya's broth is very tasty with a good balance of sweet and savory flavor; I request tsuyudaku every time. The beef also tastes good because it's well balanced with fat and lean meat. The sliced onions that are simmered with beef soak up the broth and are a perfect complement to the beef. The onions are sprinkled among the meat slices and their soft texture matches well with the tender beef. The rice is cooked soft and fluffy and absorbs their special broth. Thanks to the tsuyudaku, the rice is a sweet and savory delight, which always entertains me until the last bite.

However, on top of this delicious treat, one can add my favorite beni-shoga (red pickled ginger). Yoshinoya’s ginger pickles are not too spicy nor acidic, but perfectly sweet and sour, and tastes awesome. It makes the meal refreshing and adds a nice crunchy texture as well. Yoshinoya's beef bowl and pickles are probably the best of all the gyudon chains.




Gyumeshi Nami-mori: JPY 380 (Incl. Tax) / Omori: JPY 530 (Incl. Tax)

(Note: For those who eat-in, Matsuya's Gyumeshi comes with miso soup.)

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Matuya's takeout gyumeshi is provided with separate containers for the rice and simmered beef, so both are maintained in perfect condition until you eat it, which is a very thoughtful consideration. The beef is sliced into large pieces and I like that the onions soak up the broth and still has good texture without dissolving. Matsuya’s gyumeshi has the perfect quantity of broth, absorbing the umami flavors of the beef and onions, while the rice soaks up the soup and tastes fantastic. The ratio of the beef to rice is also good, which makes the bowl delicious until the last bite.

牛めし並盛380円(税込)、大盛530円(税込) ※店内のお食事に限りみそ汁サービス



2. Kaiten-zushi (Conveyor Belt Sushi)|回転寿司

Kaiten-zushi restaurant chains are very popular because their prices start from around JPY 100 per plate. They also have excellent side dish menus with a variety of items including deep-fried foods, noodles, and desserts. Some chains have lunch menus that offer even greater value. For example, Kura Sushi has a super-inexpensive lunch set, which includes a main dish (Nigiri-sushi), with kaisendon (sashimi bowl), and a soup dish (steamed egg soup or akadashi miso soup)-all for just JPY 580.

一皿100円から 食べられる人気の回転寿司チェーン店。サイドメニューの揚げ物・麺類・デザートなども充実していて人気です。さらにリーズナブルなランチメニューがあるお店もあります。くら寿司では、メインのにぎり寿司や海鮮丼に、お椀(茶碗蒸し or 赤だし)がついて、580円というコスパ抜群のメニューもあります。

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The quality of Sushiro’s sushi toppings is exquisite, which leads me to think, "Sushiro is the best among kaiten-zushi chains."

Tuna is one of their specialties and they put much effort into serving quality pieces. Sushiro’s tuna tastes really fantastic. There is no fishy smell and the more you chew the more it gives you the pleasant taste of tuna.

Another specialty of theirs is their varieties of shrimp. Not only is their Namaebi (fresh raw shrimp) incredible, but their Akaebi (red rice prawn) is perfect, because it is huge and tastes sweet, with a nice crunchy texture.

While the scale and design of their restaurants vary between branches, but Sushiro is very popular, so their restaurants tend to be crowded even during lunchtime on weekdays.

ネタの味は間違いなく、回転寿司チェーン店ではNo. 1だと思っています。




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On weekdays at Hama Sushi, you can eat a plate of sushi at an incredibly low price, JPY 90. It is exciting just to look at their menu with a variety of items that include not only sushi but their side dishes and many kinds of desserts.

Weekdays at Hama Sushi are a special bargain. Their regular sushi is JPY 90 per plate. Their regular menu is mind-blowing, with a variety of items that include not just sushi but a great many side dishes and different desserts.

Hama Sushi restaurants are brightly lit and clean, with spacious box seats that are well-suited for families and small groups. Counter seating is also available for solo diners. Sanitation issues are practically nonexistent, because the sushi never stays on the conveyor, but are delivered after each order is made via a touch panel device that is set at each table.

Although Hama Sushi’s toppings might be a bit small, it is quite reasonable when you consider their prices and food quality. I like their hikarimono: silvery and blueish hued fish such as Japanese horse mackerel and pacific saury.

To try a variety of things, their JPY 150 plates are a treat, with three pieces of different sushi. When I visited Hama Sushi, my greedy side made me order lots of these plates to eat different varieties of sushi at once! On weekends, Hama Sushi is packed but weekday evenings are a good time to visit since it is relatively less crowded and you can usually get a table without a long wait.





Reference Image from Shareview

Kura Sushi has a lot of appeal. In addition to its wide range of menu items, the chain has unique services including the dome-shaped plastic covers for dishes that are often seen on TV, and the lottery-like game, Bikkurapon.

Many dishes on offer are basic items priced at JPY 110, so it is easy to find something you like at a cheap price. Salmon, iwashi (sardine), and engawa (turbot fin)-which I always order first wherever I go to a kaiten-zushi restaurant-are sliced in large pieces, and their shari (sushi rice) is very nice. They taste so good!

What amazes us is that Kura Sushi even has fantastic lunch sets with large portions. Or, if you order Katsuo (bonito) ramen, the authentic soup and toppings are very impressive.

Now, what is Bikkurapon? — After putting five plates into a collection slot, a lottery-like game starts on the screen of the touch panel device used for making order. There are several different video games that play and, if you win, a gachapon-style ball rolls out of the dispenser that sits over the conveyor counter. (You can opt out by selecting "Not Play" when you are first seated and initiate the touch panel ordering system.) The game is a creative idea that helps to keep your table free of empty dishes and enjoy a game while you are eating. I love that it keeps the table clear of empty dishes, because an organized table always makes me feel comfortable. This service is loved by kids and just another reason for people to visit Kura Sushi. It is a pleasant entertainment value for a sushi restaurant.



単品メニューだけではないボリューム感のある豪華なランチセットまであって驚きです。かつおラーメンはスープも具材もかなり本格的! そしてずっと気になっていたビッくらポン!食事中のお皿をどんどんさげて 更に5枚ごとにゲームが出来るとは本当に画期的だと思いました。大人でも楽しめますね。私はどちらかというとお皿をさげられるシステムがめちゃめちゃ嬉しいです。食事中はテーブルを常にキレイにしていないと落ち着かないから物凄くよかったです。何よりこれは子供が喜ぶし行くきっかけになるのでは?お寿司でアミューズメント要素があるなんて素晴らしい。

Reference Image from Shareview

You won't see sushi going round on a conveyor at Kappa Sushi any longer, because now they are delivered only after an order is made on their tablet device. This ensures that every piece of Kappa Sushi is really fresh. Kaiten-zushi(sushi-go-round) that don’t go around may seem a little odd, but these days sanitation has become more important, so the new system is quite welcome.

The dishes Kappa Sushi offers are quite satisfying, tool. Toppings are sliced into moderate sizes and their shari (sushi rice) tastes well-balanced between sweetness and the vinegar's tartness.

Selecting dishes from their menu is also fun. They don't stick to the standard JPY 100 per plate for 2 pieces of sushi but offer food at a wider range of prices, such as JPY 50 for one piece of sushi. And they offer other plates at JPY 200 or JPY 300.

Of course, Kappa Sushi offers noodles and desserts, as well as special items limited that are only available for a short time. Kappa Sushi has evolved the services it offers in many ways for several years. お寿司はレーンには流れておらず、タブレットで注文するとその都度レーンを滑って提供されるのでとても新鮮でおいしかったです。回転しない回転寿司なので違和感もありましたが、衛生面が重視される今はこういう新形態もアリですね。





3. Ramen and Gyoza (Japanese Chinese Dumplings)|ラーメン・餃子

Ramen noodles are loved by many people-from kids to adults. Sadly, these items are priced a bit outside of "one coin," but they are still a bargain and worth a try. JPY 300 is generally enough for gyoza, and eaten with ramen you should be more than satisfied.

In particular, the JPY 390 Chuka Soba (ramen noodles) and JPY 230 gyoza at Hidakaya is a phenomenal value, setting you back a total of JPY 620. 小さなお子様から大人まで大好きなラーメン。ラーメンはワンコイン(500円)+100円あれば、紹介したお店の定番メニューが食べられます。餃子は300円以内で食べられます。ラーメンと一緒にオーダーすれば大満足な食事になります。


Gyoza no OHSHO (餃子の王将) Shoyu Ramen: JPY 528 (Incl. Tax), Gyoza: JPY 264 (Inc. Tax) 醤油ラーメン528円(税込)、餃子264円(税込) Korakuen(幸楽苑) Kiden Ramen: JPY 580 (Incl. Tax), Gyoza Kiwami: JPY240 (Incl. Tax) 喜伝らーめん580円(税込)、餃子極240円(税込) Hidakaya (日高屋) Chuka Soba: JPY 390 (Incl. Tax), Gyoza: JPY 230 (Incl. Tax) 中華そば390円(税込)、餃子230円(税込) Bamiyan (バーミヤン) Bamiyan Ramen: JPY 598 (Incl. Tax), Gyoza: JPY 274 (Incl. Tax) バーミヤンラーメン598円(税込) 、餃子274円(税込)


4. Udon|うどん

Udon noodles are a great value, usually at lower prices than ramen. JPY 500 is enough to have udon with one topping such as an egg or tempura. Handmade noodles are worth a whole lot more than their cheap prices suggest! うどんはラーメンより安く食べられてコスパ抜群!卵や天ぷらなど、トッピングを1つしても500円以内に収まります。こだわった自家製麵は値段以上の価値がありますよ!

MARUGAME SEIMEN (丸亀製麺) Kake Udon Nami: JPY 340 (Incl. Tax), Kama-age Udon Nami: JPY 290 (Incl. Tax) かけ並340円(税込)、釜揚げうどん並290円(税込) Hanamaru Udon (はなまるうどん) Kake Udon (Middle Size): JPY 360 (Incl. Tax), Kama-age Udon (Middle Size): JPY 460 (Incl. Tax) かけ中360円(税込)、釜揚げ中460円(税込)

Nakau (なか卯) Haikara Udon: JPY 290(Incl. Tax) はいからうどん290円(税込)


5. Soba|そば

In addition to their soba (buckwheat) noodles, soba chain restaurants offer a variety of rice dishes, such as curry with rice and katsudon (pork cutlet bowl). I recommend that you have a soba set meal that comes with a rice dish, that will fill you up and make you happy.

The chains listed here used to be stand-up restaurants called "Tachigui Soba", now most of them have table seats so customers can sit and eat without feeling rushed. そば以外にもカレーやかつ丼などのご飯ものが充実しています。そばとご飯もののセットでお腹いっぱい食べるのもオススメです。


Yudetaro (ゆで太郎) Kake Soba JPY 360 (Incl. Tax) かけ360円(税込) Meidai Fuji Soba (名代 富士そば) Kake Soba JPY 340 (Incl. Tax) かけ340円(税込) Komoro Soba (小諸そば) Kake Soba JPY 320 (Incl. Tax) かけ320円(税込)


So, which one-coin meal is most appealing to you? Talk about what you like and make recommendations in the community! あなたはどのワンコイン飯が好きですか?好きなワンコイン飯やオススメをコミュニティで話してみましょう!

96 views3 comments


May 30, 2022

Hanamaru is my go to when I struggle with appetite and lack of energy to cook. It's cheap and noodles with broth loaded with lots of wakame and ginger pick me up!


I'd never heard of tsuyudaku before. I want to try it next time I have gyudon. Thanks for the tip!


Yes, I have been to several of these places and have enjoyed the food and as stated in the article all were one coin and tasted good.

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