Who doesn’t love a good rice bowl, or for that matter, a good teishoku set lunch? These are the heart and soul of casual Japanese midday eating. Come lunchtimes, Tokyoites set out in droves to their favourite local restaurants for a quick donburi or teishoku set, depending on their mood du jour.
角煮丼 Kakuni-don - braised pork belly rice bowl with an egg, and a smear of Japanese mustard. - image © Florentyna Leow
Teishoku consists of a main dish – meat or fish, usually – that’s served alongside rice, pickles, and miso soup. A donburi, on the other hand, usually has the main protein served on top of the rice in a single bowl. There’s usually miso soup on the side too. Not only are they fast and convenient meals, they’re also super affordable, making it a great option if you’re eating on a budget.
There are literally thousands of restaurants that serve teishoku and donburi lunches, all well-loved by local Tokyoites. These are just some of our favourites in Tokyo. Go on and check them out when you’re in the area!
- Buta Daigaku (Shinbashi; budget)
Travelling on a budget? You’ll love the wallet-friendly Buta Daigaku – delicious pork rice bowls can be had here for as little as JPY500. To go the whole hog, shell out JPY1080 for a donburi topped with 1kg of pork slices.
- Ippei (Tokyo Station; budget to moderate)
Even with hundreds of lunch options around Tokyo Station, Ippei is a clear favorite with many office workers in the area. Hearty, solid, inexpensive set lunches of Japanese favourites that arrive within 5 minutes - what’s not to like?
- Nakajima (Shinjuku; budget)
At JPY800, Nakajima is one of the cheapest Michelin-starred meals in town that’s a favourite with locals and tourists alike. Head to Shinjuku for this delicious bargain of a sardine lunch.
- Nihonbashi Kaisendon Tsujihan Kagurazakaten (Shinjuku; budget to moderate)
Tsujihan serves one of the most iconic and beloved bowls of kaisendon or sashimi rice bowl in Tokyo. Their shop in Kagurazaka replicates the winning formula of the original shop in Nihonbashi - go on weekdays for a relatively fast turnover.
- Echigoya Sandayu (Shibuya; budget)
Echigoya Sandayu is a tasty, inexpensive teishoku lunch spot that’s open all afternoon in Shibuya. You can’t argue with that!
- t.shizen (Harajuku; budget)
If you’re looking for a healthy lunch option for a reasonable price in Harajuku, then head to t.shizen, an unassuming neighborhood teishoku (set lunch) spot that’s popular with the local office workers.
- Ohitsuzen Tanbo Omotesando (Harajuku; budget)
Wander down Omotesando’s backstreets for solid set meals at this hole-in-the-wall teishoku restaurant.
- Sake no Ana (Ginza; budget to moderate)
It’s not easy to find a sake bar open during the day. Luckily, at Sake no Ana in Ginza, you can have a full sake tasting along with lunch.
- Kaisentango Ami no Shokudo (Ueno; budget to moderate)
Kaisentango Ami no Shokudo in Ueno serves up a hearty sashimi and egg rice bowl fit for a fisherman. Venture further afield from the station for this quiet cozy neighbourhood restaurant.
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Tokyo Vacation Checklist
- For all the essentials in a brief overview, see my First Time In Tokyo guide
- Check Tokyo accommodation availability and pricing on Booking.com – usually you can reserve a room with no upfront payment. Pay when you check out. Free cancellations too
- Need tips on where to stay? See my one page guide Where To Stay In Tokyo
- You can buy a Japan SIM card online with Klook for collection on arrival at Tokyo Narita or Haneda airports. Or rent an unlimited data pocket wifi router
- See my comprehensive Packing List For Japan
- Compare airline flight prices and timings for the best Japan flight deals.
- If you're visiting more than one city, save a ton of money with a Japan Rail Pass – here's why it's worth it
- A prepaid Suica card makes travelling around Tokyo much easier - here's how
- Get esssential travel insurance for Tokyo – World Nomads is well-regarded (and here's why)