Is cooking significantly cheaper than eating out in Kyoto?

Although this depends, in general cooking for just one person at home in Japan is more expensive than eating out. Eating out in Japan is surprisingly affordable.

  • Cheap meals such as noodles and rice bowls from chain restaurants cost less than 500 yen.
  • A sandwich from convenience stores costs around 200-300 yen and a rice ball costs 100-200 yen.
  • A full meal (such as large ramen, sushi set, pizza, sukiyaki, soba, etc) will cost about 1000 yen.

No more than 1500 yen should be needed to get a tasty, fulfilling meal from a chain restaurant, cafe, local restaurant, eatery, noodle shop, or sushi store. An average day’s budget for meals in Kyoto is just 2400 yen.

Of course, eating out at a kobe beef wagyu steak houses, traditional kaizen restaurants, and high end sushi restaurants will cost much more.

If you prefer not to eat out but rather to eat prepared meals (on the go or in your room), simple food items such as drinks, bento boxes, cup noodles, salads, sandwiches, hot fried food, coffee, candy, and rice balls can be bought at convenience stores.

Convenience stores can be found everywhere and are slightly more expensive but much more convenient than grocery stores. The three major chains are 7-Eleven, Family Mart, and Lawson.

Supermarkets in Kyoto include everything you’ll need for grocery shopping at a pretty cheap cost. Typical supermarkets sell produce, meats, fish, bentos, processed food, sushi, and more. Many are housed in shopping malls.

In addition, Shotengai, or market streets, often have small local grocery stores and other local shops such as bakeries, sushi shops, sweets shops, butcheries, fish stores, and dairy shops.

Are there any hostels in Kyoto that offer cooking facilities?

Many hostels in Kyoto have cooking facilities. These usually include a large kitchen area complete with sinks, ovens, microwaves and fridges, and also usually include a communal area for eating. Hostels with kitchen facilities include:

  • Bird Hostel
  • Kyoto Morris
  • Piece
  • Tsugu Hostel
  • Ryokan Hostel Gion
  • WeBase Kyoto.

Are there any recommended restaurants in Kyoto for the budget conscious?

Most restaurants in Kyoto are fairly inexpensive and have high quality food. Whether it be the local ramen shop or sushi bar, or the mall’s food court or the large family restaurant, 1000 yen should be enough to get a full meal.

If you’re really tight on a budget, affordable fast food chains such as Kura Sushi, Sekiya, Yoshinoya, MOS Burger, Yayoiken, and Koko Ichiban Curry will get you by for 500-1000 yen.

Even overseas chains such as Starbucks, McDonald’s, Domino’s Pizza, and Subway are quite cheap and usually higher quality than their overseas counterparts.



1. Tofu
2. Pickles
3. Matcha
4. Wagashi, Traditional Japanese confections
5. Sake


Where can I find good street food in Kyoto?

Kyoto’s best street food can be found at the Nishiki Market, the centuries old marketplace in the northern center of Kyoto.

The market features many vendors who sell tofu, sweets, meals, fish, tea, fruits, snacks, and more. 1000 yen should get you most items.

Also the nearby Fushimi Inari Shrine is famous for having many food stalls which sell grilled chicken, grilled meat, ice cream, sweets, tea, and bean curd. These are also quite inexpensive, but do close by sundown.

The monthly flea market at Kitano Tenmangu Shrine (25th of each month) has a wide array of street food options, and the annual Gion Festival, the millennia old festival celebrated in July, features thousands of vendors and 66 floats.

Any vegetarian food or restaurant that comes recommended?

Finding a completely vegetarian meal can be harder in Japan due to the commonplace of seafood.

However, many noodles, tofu dishes (which are absolutely delicious), rice bowls and yoshoku (fusion western food) options are meat-free.

Many vegetarian options include tofu, which is a cornerstone in Kyoto’s diet, commerce, culture, and history.

Some of the best restaurants include Fucha, Tosuiro, Biotei, Mumokuteki Cafe,  Yudofu Sagano, and Choice.

Is street food in Kyoto safe?

Street food is very safe.

It is less safe than restaurant food, but considering Japan’s annual food poisoning rate is 1 in 40,000 versus 1 in 6 in the U.S., street food should be fine.

Is street food in Kyoto inexpensive?

Street food is very inexpensive. Meals such as takoyaki, okonomiyaki, yakisoba, fried potato, namafu dengaku, wagashi, ice cream, yatsuhashi, tamagoyaki, and croquette can be purchased for 100-700 yen.