The cost of living in Japan is high: this is the impression most people have about life in Japan. Visitors to Japan who are unfamiliar with the expense of living here may find it confusing. But just because it’s expensive compared to other countries, that doesn’t mean that everything here in Japan is expensive; you can find some amazingly cheap items too.
Our Favourite Cheap Items in Japan For Under $1
Maybe you’re in Japan or planning a trip here, but you’re not sure what cheap options are available. I can tell you from my personal experience that there are a lot of great cheap shopping experiences. I’ve found great quality food, kitchenware, gifts, souvenirs, and more.
In this article, I introduce some cheap food and drink you can buy for less than $1. There are so many more cheap and accessible yummy snacks to try, so I can’t cover everything, but I choose a few things you might need day to day.
In most places of Japan, instead of visiting a coffee shop, you’ll see coffee vending machines on practically every street corner. Black Coffee is popular among the Japanese people. If you drink lots of coffee every day, you can save money by sticking to cheap but delicious brands. After all, “simple is best”. You can buy affordable coffee from anywhere, in the stores, or vending machines for around 0.50$ .
If coffee isn’t your thing then how about tea? In Japan, you don’t have to wait in line at a Starbucks to get a fancy beverage. If you are out and about, you can grab a drink from a vending machine or convenience store. There are so many different types of tea to choose from, one of our recommendations, if you like something sweet, is milk tea. It looks similar to coffee but is much sweeter. It comes with a range of price from 0.90$ but less than 1$.
In Japan, one of the easiest and cheapest convenience store snacks to eat on the go are onigiri, or the humble rice ball. To make an onigiri, ice is molded into a triangle shape, stuffed with a variety of different fillings, and wrapped with a crispy seaweed sheet. You can find it easily by looking for its distinct shape in the refrigerator section. You can find onirigi for around 100~130 yen in the convenience store.
A Teriyaki Burger may sound like it an American food, but was actually first made by Japan’s MOS Burger. Many Japanese people eat MOS Burger for their lunch or afternoon snack. The burger is similar to McDonald’s other burgers but has a distinct BBQ taste. What makes it different is the fresh, crispy lettuce drizzled with teriyaki sauce and mayonnaise. There are many varieties of burger, some of them like the Teriyaki Burger are a cheap, convenient food to eat on the go, found for under 120 yen.
Dango are small, round dumplings made from rice flour. You can buy plan dango, without sauce or dango covered in yummy, sweet miso. This Japanese dessert has a unique texture and are chewy yet soft. You can buy the from any convenience store, often found near the register. It’s also one of the best desserts you can eat while in Japan and price comes around 0.49$.
Japan has many kinds of instant ramen on the food shelves of all convenience stores. With cup ramen you can enjoy a ramen meal in a super convenient, time-saving form. If you overslept and are about to miss your train, eating cup ramen instead of having to prepare a meal could save you time and being scolded by your manager. We recommend keeping at least a few on your food storage shelves. About prices of such noodles, You can buy around 120-135 yen in any shops.
You can buy bread in your supermarket, this one I found for as cheap as 127 yen! Great for breakfast or lunch, available from any store or convenience store near your place.
If you are a soda lover, you can buy sugar-free Soda from the store for a surprisingly good price. In Japan, Coca-Cola bottles can be bought for less than 110 yen, and there are cans too! It’s almost too convenient! You can find them in most beverage vending machines.
Chocolate Ice cream
During the hot summer, ice cream can cool you down from the heat, and it’s super cheap too! It’s only around 100 yen and really helpful in chilling our mouth.
Cheap Goods From 100 Yen Shops in Japan
Daiso or Japanese 100 yen shops are popular for their high-quality cheap goods and can be found in large varieties. You can find all kinds of daily necessities such as kitchen utensils or items, washing or cleaning supplies, electronics, gardening tools, interior decors, and more! Exciting right? Did you know that before? If not, make sure to visit these stores at least once.
You can buy just about anything here!
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- The Best Buys From Nitori For Under 1000 Yen!
- 10 Money Saving Tips for an International Student in Japan
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Article Photo Credit: All other photos within the article were taken by the author