In the past years I’ve been down on Tokyo sakura viewing. I mean when you can have a gorgeous castles in the background, see sakura on a mountaintop viewing regular sakura seems a bit boring? My mind really changed about how pretty Tokyo sakura viewing can be last year. One of my favorite spots was Nakameguro (中目黒). Nakameguro is famous as a destination for sakura because of its beautiful Meguro river that flows through it. The sakura drip over and its truly a gorgeous sight.

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The quintessential Nakameguro Sakura View (TM) and people free!

 

Nakameguro is a sought out place to live in Tokyo because of its hip but laid back vibe. It’s right next to fancy Daikanyama but not as expensive, so a lot of younger people live in the area.

Reasons I like Nakameguro Sakura:

Because it’s a river walkway you may be put off by the concrete of it all and lack of proper Tokyo sakura hanami viewing space, but these two things put off people so it’s much less crowded than places like Ueno Park, Yoyogi Park and Inokashira Park that get tons of drunk rowdy people. And it serves alcohol and lots of places to eat unlike Shinjuku Park. It’s also free unlike Shinjuku Park. If you can get a bench along the river it’s easy to spend several hours gazing and chatting.

 

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Sakura suits the river so well. I do think the Tottori river sakura are more beautiful but for central Tokyo sakura these are hard to beat. I headed out with Nicola and Linda.

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During a weekday the crowds are manageable and we were able to snag seats.

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The sakura do really cover all of Meguro river. Because of the shade and temperature differences theres a wide range when you can see sakura on just this one walkway.

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When we finally got seats this was our view. Pretty special right? The river really makes the crowds feel not so crowded. You can see one of the food trucks parked across the river. There were lots of tasty food options.

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The strawberry champagne was a big seller.

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We also got a bottle of pink sparkling wine to celebrate the season. Instagram worthy!

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Bonus! This super cute poodle we saw while enjoying an impromptu hanami.

 

Visiting Nakameguro for Sakura viewing:

Sakura season is finicky but even with buds or falling off the Nakameguro Matsuri is lovely to see. They do a light up as well for those seeking out a sakura light-up. It’s also an easy walk if you just want to put in an hour to view but not the whole day.

Nakameguro Station is a small station that can get super crowded during sakura season it’s on Tokyo Metro Hibiya and Tokyu Toyoko lines easily accessible through Shibuya. If you’re going at night or during the weekends I suggest getting off at Daikanyama Station of the Tokyu Toyoko Line (8 minute walk) or Ebisu Station on the Yamanote Line (14 minute walk) and walking to Nakameguro both of which are nice walks. Daikanyama has tons of cafes and cute food options in case Nakameguro gets too busy.

 

 

My first Sakura post of the year! I have more planned. I really got to enjoy sakura last year and I unfortunately can’t visit this year so hopefully posts on the blog turning pink will cheer up.  :hearts3:

 

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I came across an article in Model’s Press with a woman who works as “Press” in DRWCYS. Since Western apparel runs a bit differently I thought this article would be interesting to readers interested in the nuts and bolts of how Japanese fashion brands run. Model’s Press does a few of these interviews to show different career paths. I will try to translate some more to give people a better understanding of Japanese fashion brands work behind closed doors.

DRWCYS (ドロシーズ pronounced “Droshi’s”) is a brand I don’t speak about but it tends to be a bit older-skewing than this blog. It’s centered on 20-30 year old women and its keywords are “trend, casual, and bohemian”. It was created in 2008, but 2010 was its first shop so it’s been around for 10-13 years. It’s a brand that’s featured in Sweet magazine, JJ, Bijin Hakka, and VERY. So mainly 20-30 year old magazines.

This is not a full translation word for word as I’m lazy and I really need that Japanese refresher course I plan on taking Fall in Tokyo. So bear with me…

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photo by Models Press

 

Model’s Press interviews Press head Noriko Ikoma (生駒典子) a 32 year old who has been working as Press for three years.

Backstory of working Press at DWRCYS

Model’s Press (MP): How did you get started in the job?

Noriko: I entered the company as a sales assistant and after three months was sent to the head office. After that one of the people working in Press was taking maternity leave and they asked me to try it out. Since they usually never ask anyone without experience I jumped at the chance.

Models Press: Did you want to be part of the business side when you joined DRWCYS?

Noriko: Yes. I had previously worked as a shop staff of another company and wanted to get into the business side.

MP: But you didn’t plan to be Press per-se?

Noriko: While working as a shop staff I was a bit interested. A brand’s face and PR is really press so I was aware of it, and of course I could think of being it, but being almost 30 years old and not getting into the business side I didn’t think I had much chance.

MP: So you were happy when you heard you could join Press?

Noriko: I was happy. I thought this was my chance. Even though I had not worked long and had my worries, I wanted the chance to be up to the challenges.

MP: Did you have any worries?

Noriko: Even though I told myself “I can do this” my inexperience made my think “Can I even do this?” It made me grow as a person and in my own belief. Of course now I’m so pleased I was able to say yes.

What does being Press detail at DWRCYS

MP: What’s your job as Press at DWRCYS

Noriko: The main part of my job is corresponding with the company’s needs and getting those out to the magazines. Also four times a year we hold exhibitions and we’re doing the planning of those as well as budget planning, lease clothing for magazine shooting, catalog and lookbook planning and shooting as well. Along with dealing with the fashion shows of Kobe Collection and Tokyo Girl’s Collection. There’s a lot to do.

MP: A lot of Press seems to work outside of the corporate office?

Noriko: Quite a lot. Of course when working on magazine editorials as well as planning for fashion shows that involves dressing them and checking the looks. We also have to deal with other businesses for sales and promotional planning.

MP: Looking back, please tell us some of the hardship’s you’ve overcome?

Noriko: When you actually finish up a project such as a fashion show or a catalog or a magazine spread after all the planning, meetings and everything involved there is a real sense of accomplishment.

But at the beginning of each such project it feels like there are so many hurdles to get over to actually make the project a success. Discussing with the director and staff of how to make your ideas work and double checking all the photography, the caption and the credits. It can be a lot of trouble.

MP: How did you end up working at DRWCYS?

Noriko: A friend ended up inviting me to one of the exhibitions. I saw a piece of clothing and the design really spoke to me. I thought if I had to work I should work for a brand I really liked so I thought I should try for DRWCYS.

MP: What are your goals now?

Noriko: I have several goals I want to try to achieve but the overall point is I want to DRWCYS appeal to even more people.

DRWCYS Press Lifestyle

MP: Please tell us your beauty routine.

Noriko: I like to take long soaks in the bath while doing a mask pack. I also think it’s very important to exercise. I do yoga and pilates and I think sweating also helps my skin.

MP: How do you spend your days off?

Noriko: I do yoga and pilates. I also sometimes take a book to read in a cafe. I feel like being out and about helps me refresh.

MP: How do you usually get your fashon information?

Noriko: Usually through SNS (Social Networking Sites) such as Instagram and Pinterest. I really like looking at overseas snap style and overseas instagrammers.

In order to work at DRWCYS

MP: What kind of person is suitable to work for DRWCYS?

Noriko: Being a motivated person who is easy to work with is best. There are lots of jobs to do so being able to adapt to working in different jobs is necessary.

Also since Press involves visiting and dealing with other companies and other people being someone who is bright that can easily talk to others is a plus.

MP: Please tell us some tips to get through the interview process.

Noriko: Knowing yourself and showing off your own appeals and talents. I know it’s a basic technique but a nice friendly smile is so important. Dressing for the job you shouldn’t necessarily wear DRWCYS but knowing the brand’s style and showing off how you are stylish with a similar feel to DRWCYS is important. Of course looking your personal best is necessary.

The secrets of fulfilling your dream

MP: What advice could you give to women wanting to achieve their dreams?

Noriko: Whatever you wish for you must understand what it is you want, and knowing what it is the is how you start aiming to achieve it. Of course there will be tough times but you will savor the happier moments after tasting the bitterness of hard times.

MP:  Thank you very much

A day in Your Life

10:00 Arrive at the office and clean the press room, reply to mails and check the day’s schedule.

11:00 Lease out garments (to magazines etc…), check in returned garments

12:30 Lunch

1:30 Check the garments leased out, confirm magazine publication schedules and draw up materials for the release dates, read questionnaires submitted

8:00 Return to company

Ikoma Noriko Profile:

Got her first job in apparel in 2006. Started as a shop staff in April 2006. Moved to Drwcys in April 2014 as shop staff, started as Press in June 2014.

 

BONUS! Some DRWCYS looks for Spring 2017

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Brands aimed at 30 year olds don’t chase the trends as hotly as the younger brands but there are a few trend notes. The big one being with otona kawaii brands for the past few years is going NAVY. Snidel has also introduced a lot of NAVY options for ladies. Flat shoes are a big boom as well and the Spring midi skirt has been a big otona kawaii silhouette for several Springs.

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There’s so much PINK this season. Vibrant colors are a big comeback this Spring but this hue of PINK is really everywhere no matter the age range. Waistband details are another trend across all genres. Belts and sashes are on a lot of dresses and skirts this season. Oversized details like how big the sash size is, is another trend of the season.

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V Neck is a suprising trend for me. It’s really big overseas but as stated in my clothing standards post the check isn’t really a show off usually in mainstream Japanese styles. Again more waistband details. Pinstripes and gingham are the two popping prints of the season. This seems like a more relaxed pinstripe.


Mitsu word salad:

A trend report and translation. Two posts in one, right guys?  :regret:  I told myself I would aim for two posts a month lately and already the start of the year I’m cutting it close. I will try to rev up a bit more the closer we get to full Spring fashions and lots of sakura and Japanese travel photos to post just in case you need help planning you Spring vacations or need some florals across your screen.  :heart:

I’m using Instagram stories to do ootd and make-up looks and I tweet uselessly. If you wanna know where I’m at online, probably one of those two places. :eyelashes:

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Brand introductions are sparse around here, but I’d like to shout out Japanese accessories brand Memnon that does Larme style accessories.

The brand says they are a small accessories brand made for women who want girly things, and think of their pieces as “dessert in a bag“. This brand speaks to me about why I feel in love with Japanese fashion: quirky individual items that are at a solid price.

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Memnon (メムノン) started in 2010 by the clothing giant BEAMS. The brand which predates Larme, but it’s quickly become a Larme relatable brand. Actually I went searching for photos of Memnon in my Larme magazines and the first photoshoot I opened of the first magazine they were featured.

I think learning a bit about Memnon’s style is really at the core of Larme. They’re womenly but girly. They are inspired by retro items and make-up. It’s a mid-range price point. They’re a bit spicy sweet not the florals of girly items. Their palette is mostly pinks, reds, black and white with the occasional trend color popping in. A lot of ways I’d describe Larme style, but I’m only talking about Memnon.

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Here’s a shot from the Verybrain instagram (favorite of RisaDoll aka Risa Nakamura) with a VeryBrain set-up and Memnon record bag.

I was able to visit the Memnon pop-up at Shinjuku Isetan 2nd floor and took a few pictures and bought some bits. If you’re interested in Larme style, Shinjuku Isetan on the 2nd floor often holds a lot of higher price tag Larme brands.

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One of their most popular styles is the lip bag clutch. They’ve done it in velvet and lately patents for the current season’s patent trends.

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This was from their last year’s collection. I love their idea of a powder puff bag. All make-up is good make-up.

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Their lip love letter key cases, wallets and phone cases are very popular. They’ve also done their shoe pen case in several colors.

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Their possible second most popular style is their eyeshadow wallet clutch. They also did a quad eyeshadow mini wallet.

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The Memnon pop-up at Isetan Girls (2f Shinjuku) was laid out like a Larme brand. Sweet, girly and retro.

Memnon isn’t a brand with a full store, but if you’re interested in the brand you can always purchase online or check out their next pop-up! :makeup:

Social updates: They do not have a store and their website is constantly under construction. The best way to check for updates on the brand is their twitter: https://twitter.com/memnon_tokyo

Next time to buy in Tokyo will be at Cannabis Ladies in Shinjuku Lumine 2 from 11/24-12/04/2016.

To buy online webstore La Cuna del Flor sells most of the Memnon collection.

 

I didn’t intend to take as long between posts but real life, preparing for my trip and this //asmanyexpletivesasicanthinkof// election has take the fire out of my blogging. No worries some really interesting posts to come soon!

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I was talking with the beautiful Emi and Lea and we joked about all the stupid ways we’ve eaten cheap in Japan in order to afford all the clothes we wanted. One of the frequent comments I hear often is Tokyo is very expensive, and somewhat that’s true but I don’t think it has to be. I sometimes think about how much I would spend for my apartment in the states  along with eating the way I do (lots of veggies, very few carbs). It would be astronomical and impossible (Tokyo tears down old buildings unlike my 100 year old place).

This isn’t a post on eating healthy (although some things are) if you want to eat healthy I still like the post I made about eating healthy in Japan. This post is more about going beyond the tips I see everywhere else. I see the same tips everywhere, and they’re good tips, but I think we can do better! I’m going to talk about getting the most out of your money, even at the cheap places. It’s also about sample meals to get you started on how to eat cheap and stay cheap.

Some tips are for people with a stove but even without airbnb some hotels now have stoves or at least a microwave, so I am trying not to limit it to just long term residents.

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Eat plates of sushi on a budget? Sure thing!

Don’t travel to eat if you can’t bike or walk it or aren’t there already

Traveling on public transit in Japan adds up. Paying 1,000 yen ($10) to eat somewhere you’ve just thrown away $10. Even a trip like Shibuya to Shinjuku will still set you back 380 yen round trip. And Shibuya has tons of eating options.

Eat local, like hella local. If you can’t walk to it, it’s not worth it. Just start making a list of where food is near your hotel/airbnb/apartment and then main areas you’ll be in. Use this guide or google “cheap akihabara food” or anything like that. Some websites to note: time out tokyo’s cheap eats tsunagu cheap eats tokyo

Preparation is how people save money

Linked to the other tip above.

Gurunavi the website for restaurants in Japan is now in English. Start making a google map of where you’ll be of places you want to eat. Or just a list in Notes you can put on your phone. If you’re planning on visiting some area check their restaurants, you can find prices on Gurunavi without overpaying past your budget.

Also preparation is making yourself snacks for the day ahead. Instead of buying some stall food, you can eat a 79 yen banana you carried. More money for souvenirs. Or carrying your bottle of water so you don’t have to spend 120 yen on just water. These little costs add up, especially when a 400 yen meal = 3 waters bought.

Grocery stores – The cheap staples

When I read people’s how to save money on food in Japan posts it’s always saying go after 8:00pm and they mark down items. And it’s a great tip, but it’s not enough. Mark downs are fine, but let’s talk cheap staples.

But before I get to that. NOT ALL GROCERY STORES ARE THE SAME.  Chances are if you’re shopping under a department store you’re paying more and more = too much. Seiyu is the cheapest chain but that only matters if one is close to you. Other than that just stay away from department store grocery stores. They’re fancy, but they cost more.

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Eggs I bought in Japan along with some tiny pack bacon for a little protein and fat.

Eggs – are incredibly cheap and wonderfully delicious in Japan. They do use a different chicken than the US and their yolks are much darker and gorgeous. Yes I called an egg gorgeous, I love eggs!

 

Spinach, Carrots, Cabbage – Usually the cheapest vegetables no matter the season. I eat carrots as breakfast or snacks in Japan. 54 yen for a single carrot. That’s some cheap food with vitamins. Man I try to get away with saying just healthy things, but we need our veggies! A simple cheap breakfast is a piece of toast and scrambled eggs with spinach.

Bananas and in season Mikan- Often in season and often the cheapest fruit. Full of vitamins and fructose for energy. Mikan season can make oranges very cheap and I can eat a bag a day, but definitely be choosy about the season because the prices can really get expensive.

Frozen meals – Frozen meals are found within grocery stores along with frozen veggies. While they are not necessarily cheap if you’re the type of person who keeps saying they’ll cook at home but rarely does, they’re so much cheaper than always throwing out food. Or ordering that pizza when you’re tired or hungover. Always keep one frozen meal in your place if you’re staying longer than a week. What if you wake up sick? Heading sick to shop is horrible!

Tofu and Konjac – Tofu is cheap, plentiful and filling. Just find a sauce you like and nibble. Although my staple meal in language school was: scrambled tofu, one egg, spinach, and a pork/beef mix with spices. Filling, cheap and always available. Konjac is a great cheap food made from yams. It’s low carb, filling and can be shoved in soups, stir frys or anything you feel like fixing.

Late sale meats – Don’t pay full price for meats you rich kid of instagram! Discounted meat or stay veggie because meat is quite pricey in JP. Or gyudon (below)

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A spinach bakery bread plus some cheap meat along with shishito and onion.

Stop buying expensive drinks – There’s so many fun drinks on the market. Healthy ones, horrible ones everything. But it can really add up and not good filling calories. Always buy cartons of drinks. You can pour them into bottles if you’re out and about that day. But a paper carton the size of 3 drinks is usually cheaper than one bottled drink. I buy carton coffee, juice, and tea in Japan. Even in konbini they’re usually 140 yen.

Caffeine = Sun Tea or Coffee – If you bring tea bags from home or just buy in bulk in Japan you can just make sun tea (leaving a tea bag in water out for a while, preferably in the sun but it works overnight in the fridge too). Tea bags are always cheaper than buying lots of tea. Cold coffee which Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts have been advertising so much is just coffee left to steep. You can buy coffee “tea bags” and do the sun tea way. All cheaper options than Starbucks or even canned coffee. If you aren’t into this, then cartons are always cheaper than individual bottles.

Convenience stores – You’re usually paying too much

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Oden the exception. That puffball is actually an egg.

Everything including that soda you want is usually 10 yen cheaper in a grocery store. Convenience doesn’t mean cheap. The rare exception is oden season (fall to spring) or snack needs. Oden is a soup made with a ton of things, but it’s incredibly cheap and filling (rocketnews on Oden). The other good reason to be in a convenience store is quick fried chicken, corn dogs (American dogs) and weiners on a stick. No not healthy, but quick and cheap.

I also make an exception for 7-11’s “salad chicken” it’s herbed and precooked. It’s really easy to use a chicken breast for two meals without clean-up. I tended to make chicken sandwiches with the herbed chicken, an egg and some spinach.

Gyudon restaurants are heaven for the poor

Gyudon chains and beef bowl restaurants that are great and battle it out for being the best, most and cheapest. The three big chains are Sukiya, Yoshinoya, and Matsuya.

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And these do get mentioned in eating cheap in Japan, but what about hacking the Gyudon?

Hack one: Order the largest gyudon and split it between two people (take out) or save the rest for tomorrow for yourself. Gyudon does keep decently. A regular size set at Matsuya is 580 yen, you can get the big size for 890 yen. Split between two meals or people you just spent 445 a meal or just $4.20.

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Hack two: Add on! Topping sets are usually cheaper than set – by – set toppings so get a topping set. Most include an egg (good for you). You may find

Hack three: Their seasonal special is often cheaper. Ultra onion? Yup it’s usually cheaper than just ordering more onion toppings.

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I got gyudon to go the night before and I am using their side kimchi the next day for lettuce wraps (bacon + kimchi in lettuce).

Gyudon is incredibly cheap. Not the best thing for you, but $5.00 meals are possible thanks to gyudon!

Tenya – Tempura on the cheap!

Tempura places in Japan can be really fancy ordeals. It’s not just a side order you find in a sushi restaurant. Instead a lot of Michelin starred restaurants in Japan are tempura places with pricey menus. However, Tenya (site) is a fabulous cheap chain in Japan.

Again you can use the big size takeaway hack to eat for two on the cheap. Their sets are their big value meals. I prefer their 上天丼 (link) with shrimp and lotus root. One meal is 670 yen or $6.50. Again a super cheap meal. They have a one coin bowl priced for 500 yen, but the extra 170 is worth it for the extra shrimp.

Tendon Soba Udon is another tempura cheap chain.

Sushi can be done on the cheap!

Before I lived in Japan I never thought sushi would be a way to eat cheap in Japan, but it is! Discount sushi at grocery stores after 8 p.m. is definitely some place to get your easy cheap sushi fix on. However there are a lot of conveyor belt sushi (kaiten sushi) chains that thrive on being cheap.

Kaisen Misakiko (海鮮三崎港) is my favorite cheap sushi chain in Tokyo. I eat in their Koenji restaurant a lot.  You can eat a good meal for 800 yen and their hot green tea is included. They have a lot of locations around Tokyo in some great areas like Nakano, Koenji, Shimokitazawa and Shinjuku (some of my favorite places in Tokyo). English menu screens so not much interaction required.

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Family Restaurants

It’s such a odd topic, but family restaurants are so random to Japan. Saizeriya, Dennys, Johnathon, Gusto, Royal Host, Bamiyan, Bikkuri Donki to name a few. Rocketnews survey puts Ootoya at the top and I’ve written how much I like it. Saizeriya which does basic Italian-like food and Bikkuri Donki which does hamburg are my favorite cheaper side ones.

Family restaurant tips:

Get the sets. More filling and more food for a less. If you’re really broke head for the Saizeriya Doria. It’s 368 yen with an egg. Enough to get you through a meal without hurting your bank.

Don’t be swayed by the drink bar. It’s just money not being spent on food.

If you need vegetables get them here. Family restaurants lately have main course salads that are actually filled with things like avocado and tomatoes and other healthy goodness that is hard to find on the cheap. Saizeriya has a 599 main course salad. Also they have a few decent vegetable options in the side menus for 199. Main salad and a veggie side for 800 yen? Yes please. For my low carb people even a big size antipasto meat plate and side of spinach is 900 yen.

Near Shibuya 109? Try Black Brown!

Not exactly a family restaurant but I couldn’t figure where to put it. Black Brown (google) is an incredibly cheap pasta place located just behind Shibuya 109. Just after electronics store Labi in the basement of the next building. When I lived in Shibuya I ate here once a week because it was cheap and so close to shopping. Their pasta is good as well as their sandwiches. They have a ramen-style press button ordering system and then cook the surprisingly decent food in front of you. Pasta or a sandwich can be 500 yen. You can also bring a pitcher of water to your table and hydrate. Seriously it’s cheap and good.

Bakery Meals

If you don’t want to cook and are okay with bread life, Japanese bakeries are amazing and do little sandwiches or weiners with bread or bunches of items that run around 300-500 yen. If you add some spinach at home or make a salad you aren’t doing too bad for yourself. (see photo above)

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On sale baked goods. 88 yen plus brewed coffee. You can start your day for 150 yen only!

Don’t drink, and definitely don’t drink outside your place, and definitely predrink

Alcohol is expensive and it makes (me) make expensive choices. Best way to avoid all that tomfoolery is just don’t drink. But Japan is a drinking culture, so be cheap. Buy drinks at your grocery store (konbini more expensive) and drink  at home before. Or at least pre drink and save some of the alcohol cost. One drinking night can ruin all your cheap saving during the day.

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Three drinks in for 500 yen or three drinks out for 3,000 yen?

How much should I be spending on food a day?

Personally I like average my food spending at 3,000 yen a day. That’s including eating out somewhere fun with my friends. I spend 300-400 yen on breakfast (toast, spinach, egg, coffee). Lunch could be ramen or kaiten-sushi, since I hunt for cheap places maybe 800 yen. Which leaves me with 1,800 yen to eat with friends.

I can go over that, but it’s a pretty standard point to think eating for 3,000 yen or $30 a day and you’ll eat some good food! Now I do like to drink with my friends so I will spend more on days with that, but if you’re smart 3,000 yen is a good point. Lowest maybe 1,500-2,000 yen but it does become tricky if you’re not eating at specific places. I’ve done some examples of super cheap below to get you started if you’re in a spending crunch.

 

Three examples of eat cheap in Japan days 1,570-1,800 yen ($15-$18 dollars):

Here are some examples using the places I listed to get you started on how to eat for cheap especially as a tourist.

 

Bakery bread and coffee – 400 yen

Tenya – 670 yen

Black Brown – 500 yen

Total – 1,570

 

Egg and Toast – 300 yen

Sushi – 800 yen

Saizeriya – 700 yen

Total – 1,800

 

Coffee and Banana – 300 yen

Gyudon – 450 if split or 600 alone for smaller

Grocery store past 8am ready made food – 700 yen

Total: 1,450 or 1,600 yen

 

Three meals a day. Not skimping on food and boom, you’re fed for cheap! Mostly I didn’t list cooking at home. Again if you eat at home it’s usually always cheaper so eating breakfast at home and heading home for dinner is your cheapest tourist option. Or if you’re a late riser, I suggest eating lunch right before you leave and only eating dinner out. You can get closer to 1,500 daily if you eat two meals at home.

 

What’s your discount hack to eat cheap in Japan or favorite cheap meal in Japan?