Mmmm. Japanese Fast Food. You already know how superior McDonalds in Japan is, but did you know Japan is full of their own Japanese fast food chains (rather than just the upgraded, cleaned up American ones)? Although I can’t cover them all, I wanted to go over the best Japanese fast food chains in Japan so you can get your eat on in a pinch while you’re over there. Actually, some of these have even made their way over to the United States and other parts of the world – which ones are they? What makes each of these fast food chains so delicious? Read on to find out.

Japanese Fast Food Chains In Japan

Now, when we talk about fast food chains in Japan, I don’t mean imported fast food chains like McDonalds, KFC, Burger King and so on. I’m talking about home-grown fast food, where some Japanese person was inspired by the speed, unhealthiness and cheapness of a Big Mac, and said “hey, I want to do that too, but Japanese style.”

Sometimes that means creating something that’s not-Japanese (food-wise) but then making it Japanese (style, culture, and so on-wise). Alternatively, it can also mean someone took something Japanese (food-wise) and just made it faster and cheaper. Doesn’t matter.

I’m going to go over my “favorite” (and I say “favorite” in quotes because I’m not particularly a fan of any of these places, or any fast food in general) Japanese Fast Food Chains and share the cool stuff about them. Let’s start with delicious hamburgers.

MOS Burger (モスバーガー)

MOS Burger’s motto is “Making people happy through food.” So, if you’re depressed and eating food makes you feel better MOS Burger was, like, totally made for you. You pronounce it like “Moss” Burger, so it’s not actually a burger joint owned by a “Mo” (at least, not that I know of). Actually, the MOS stands for “Mountain Ocean Sun” … which I suppose are three things that tend to make a lot of people happy. It’s Japan’s second largest fast food franchise, only behind (you guessed it) McDonalds.

One thing I’ve noticed about MOS Burger is their burgers. They’re freakishly perfect looking, especially on the menu. Normally you see the menu and think… “okay, it’s not going to look like this in real life.”

But, when you get a MOS Burger in real life, they’re kind of suspiciously nice looking… Not perfect like the menu, for sure, but still very shapely.

Most Burger In Real Life

Their menu includes things like Hamburgers, hot dogs, rice dishes, and (my favorite) MOS Rice Burgers, where instead of having a bun made of bread, you have a bun made of rice.

MOS Rice Burger With Kalbi

MOS Rice Burger With Kalbi

If there isn’t any rice anywhere, it’s not really Japanese. I’ve never actually had a MOS Rice Burger, but just thinking about it in my mouth makes me hungry. Looking at the other Rice Burgers, I think they’ve picked good insides that match rice well. Not all that strange when you think about it in terms of loose rice. This rice bun just makes eating it faster and more convenient. [MOS Burger’s Website]

Sukiya (すき家)

Oh how I love you so, Sukiya. This place serves gyuudon (beef on rice), kind of like Yoshinoya (see below), though I’d say they do a better job at it (just my preference, Yoshinoya’s all kinds of awesome too). While they have the standard beef-bowl combination (i.e. beef, onion, ginger, rice), they also have plenty of other tasty options as well. Though they don’t look anything like this in real life, the commercial below will give you an idea.

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Mmm, looks delicious, right? And, like many Japanese fast food places, Sukiya is open 24hrs a day. It’s such a perfect place to pop in at four in the morning after you’ve been working all night. Nice and warm and goes nicely with some tea.

Sukiya Traditional

There are over 1,000 Sukiya restaurants in Japan and some in China and Brazil as well. Their motto is “Save Time And Money.” Now there’s something (delicious) I can live by. [Sukiya’s Website]

First Kitchen (ファーストキッチン)

First Kitchen

First Kitchen, owned by Suntory (they make beer and soft drinks, mostly), is a fast food chain in Japan that is mostly concentrated around the Kanto region of Japan (that’s the prefectures around Tokyo). They serve burgers (most popular, apparently, is the Bacon Egg Burger, which sounds amazing because it has bacon in the name), fried chicken, pasta, pizza, and more.

They’re pretty standard in terms of American-Fast-Food-Turned-Japanese places go. There are interesting (but kind of normal) things like croquette burgers, shrimp burgers, and katsu burgers.

The most interesting about First Kitchen, I think, is probably its name, which, when shortened, comes out to “ファッキン” (fakkin)… They’re apparently pushing for people to use the abbreviation FK instead, because Fakkin sounds nothing like First Kitchen and a lot like some other word I can’t think of at the moment. [First Kitchen’s Website]

Yoshinoya (吉野家)


You can’t write an overview of Japanese Fast Food Chains without including Yoshinoya. Yoshinoya (like Sukiya) is a gyuudon (beef bowl) place. There’s a special place in my heart for Yoshinoya – it’s fed me many-a-late-nights and also many-a-not-late-days.

Seriously highly recommend cracking an egg into your gyuudon – makes things 10x better.

There are several things that set Yoshinoya apart. First, there are some in America, so you have a chance to find it (though, I gotta say, doesn’t feel the same to me). Second, compared to other places, they’ve been around a really really long time (1899).

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One interesting thing about them is that in 2003, when Japan stopped importing American beef because of Mad Cow Disease scares, they stopped serving their beef bowls (that’s like, their main bowl! 0_o). People lined up in giant lines (that’s what Japanese people do for fun, line up) to get one last taste of wonderful beef goodness before they switched over to pork. Finally, in 2006 they were able to get American beef back again, and all of Japan celebrated (because, who wouldn’t?).

Oh, and if you go to a Yoshinoya, stack up on the ginger. It’s free and delicious. Yum. [Yoshinoya’s Website]

Coco Ichiban Curry (CoCo壱番)

Like Japanese curry and want it fast? Like your curry with lots of stuff, like natto, tonkatsu, and chicken, in it? Well, have no fear, Coco Ichiban Curry is here.

Personally, I can’t get enough Japanese Curry (it’s so easy for a terrible cook such as myself to make). I only put boring things like onions, carrots, and sometimes meat in mine, though. The first time I went to Coco Ichiban I was amazed by all the options. I think I got a combination of katsu and croquette – it was giant and awesome.

There are a bunch of these in Japan as well as some others around Asia and California/Hawaii. But, if you’re looking to get a quick curry fix, Coco Ichiban is your place. Just don’t be overwhelmed by all the available options. [Coco Ichibanya’s Website]

Pizza-La (ピザーラ)

Now THAT’S a crust

Pizza-La is the most successful pizza company in Japan… but when I say “Pizza” don’t think I’m talking about the stuff you’re used to. Japanese pizza has “different” ingredients. I’m not saying they’re bad… in fact, they’re delicious… but there are a lot of ingredients you probably aren’t used to.

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Shrimp Mayonnaise

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Roast Chicken, Mozzarella, & Lemon

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Bob Sapp flavored / SUPER Italian

Anyways, those sound pretty good, right? Other pizzas include Bulgogi, several things with mayo, hot dogs, and all the normal pizza things I’m not mentioning because you’ve seen it before. Their motto is “All the taste and toppings you want on a pizza, straight from our oven to your door!” and their mascot is a person with a pizza for a head. He makes good faces.

pizza la kun

There’s just no “neutral” when it comes to Pizza-La-kun. [Pizza-La’s website]

Ichiran Ramen (一蘭ラーメン)

Delicious fast-food ramen. Even though Ichiran is pretty close to fast-food status, I don’t think I’ve ever had ramen outside of Japan that’s as good as this stuff. It’s tasty – not something I’d compare with McDonalds or something like that, despite calling it “Fast Food.” Maybe it’s the nostalgia, but if I had to choose any Japanese fast-food place, this would be the one.

At Ichiran Ramen, you sit in solitude. You’re in a booth, and it’s just you and your ramen.

To buy the ramen, you don’t even have to talk to anyone either. Just go to the machine, pay there, and turn in the ticket it spits out.

You can concentrate 100% on your (awesome) ramen. If you finish your noodles but want more, just put your plate on the button in front of you and a bell will ring in the back. Someone will grab your bowl and fill it with some more noodles as long as you still have the soup to go with them, making it a pseudo-all-you-can-eat style place.

Now, I know it’s not supposed to be fun eating alone, but I think that’s because most places make you feel bad (i.e. most tables are a table for at least two, if not more people). This place is made for being alone which gets rid of the guilt and the judging. Just you and wonderful ramen.

Let’s Not Forget…

There are plenty of other Japanese Fast Food Chains that exist that I haven’t added to the list. There are probably some that I’ve totally missed (whoops) – but, here are some I didn’t really want to talk about a lot but ought to be on the list, along with a little about them.

Beard Papa’s is a dessert place, so I’m not sure if it counts as fast food, but it’s fast, and it’s food, so we’re going to include it. Their focus is cream puffs, and they’re located all over the world (most of their stores are in Japan, though). You definitely have a pretty good chance to find this place in your own country though, at least compared to some of the other Japanese fast food joints.

Becker’s is owned and operated by JR (that’s Japan Railways, the people who do a lot of the train stuff in Japan). I’m guessing they thought “hey, we got tons of people coming into our stations on trains, I bet they’re hungry for burgers” so then they just made a burger place. They’re all about freshness here, too – if a bun gets more than 1.5 hours old, they toss it (so wasteful, though!). Still, it’s pretty tasty.

Freshness Burger, as you can probably tell by the name, is also all about freshness. They stress the organic / fresh ingredients side of things, which is what differentiates them from the other burger fast food joints out there.

Lotteria Just another fast food burger chain – there isn’t much that differentiates it from the other places, though it tastes fine, and I’d rather go here than McDonalds (though, McDonalds Japan is kinda good).

Pepper Lunch is a “fast-steak” fast-food restaurant in Japan and Asia that has a pretty interesting cooking method. The founder, Kunio Ichinose, wanted to make a place that served high quality fast food that didn’t require a chef (cheaper and faster that way, I guess). They use metal plates that are heated to 500 degrees Fahrenheit by an electromagnetic cooker. The meat, vegetables, and other things get cooked and the customer decides when to eat them.

What Will You NomNomNom?

Now, I’m sure there are a bunch of other Japanese fast-food places I’m missing, but I’m pretty sure those are the main ones. Which ones caught your fancy? Which ones made you hungry? For me, it was definitely having to remember Ichiran Ramen and it’s deliciousness (I’m writing this at dinner time, arrghsddjkfd).

One thing I do know, though… writing this article reminds me how terrible most American fast food chains are. Where are our standards? :(

P.S. If you’re “hungry” for more, you should follow Tofugu on Twitter.
P.S. Totally full now? Hit us up on Facebook or Google+ instead.

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  • kuyaChristian

    Typo: You typed ‘guyudon’ instead of ‘gyuudon’ on the Yoshinoya bit. :]

  • Kat Clay

    This site is so much fun! I love MOS burger too… their milkshakes are great.

  • John

    Fixed! Thanks :]

  • Chris Taran

    Raw egg. Eww.

  • John

    It’s actually pretty good. And a lot safer with Japanese eggs from what I’ve heard.

  • koichi

    delicious mmm

  • koichi

    thanks to you for fixing it!

  • koichi

    MMMMyum agreed

  • hatt

    I had soyburger and stuff at MOS Burger once. Tastes great!

    Pizza-La mascot would fit nicely in a Rage comic.

  • Jin


  • Jin


  • Miss N’Donna

    …seriously, I want a MOS burger now.  I need to get to Japan!

  • Ekaterina

    Are there any vegetarian fast food meals like simple soba?

  • Ian Smith

    Probably the most notable thing about First Kitchen is the flavor fries. Their “seasoning” selection is, well, shocking when you see it for the first time. (Aside from some places using peanut oil, or simply “seasoning”, where in the US can you tell them what kind of fries you want?)

    Also, for those traveling to Japan and really missing just a regular American burger– Freshness Burger can’t be beat (they also have the most American hot dogs– if you’ve had a hot dog pretty much anywhere else in Japan you’ll know what I mean). Wash any remaining homesickness down with any of the natural sodas, smoothies or whatever you like.

  • Layla Nascimento

    At least Sukiya’s here in Brazil (and it’s cheaper than MC Donald’s o/)
    Oh… and that Crab Pizza looks so delicious :D~~~

    Damn… now I’m reeeeally hungry (ToT)

  • Anonymous

    Is that Moss from IT crowd in the window of the MOS burger?…

  • ロッキじゃない

    You’ll never be a boxer with dat attitude, kid!

  • portia

    NOTHING, I repeat, nothing could sound more disgusting than natto currie….

  • Mike

    It IS! I thought the same too. Surely there must be some sort of copyright thing here?

  • koichi

    Not sure who it is, but it’s under a Creative Commons 2.0 license:

  • Anonymous

    The bacon egg burger also has egg and burger in its name, and neither of those is something I want to eat.

    Though, eating a mos rice burger has been on my “things to do when i go to japan” list for a long time now. It doesn’t have an actual bread bun or any of the other things that are put on burgers that I don’t like.

  • Ludi

    I went to a fast-food place called Fuji Soba with my husband in Akihabara. 24 hours a day of pure delicious Japanese fare. Buy the meal ticket, hand it in, and you barely have time to put your butt down on the chair before you’re being called to pick up your food. Amazing!

  • Drew Mitchell

    In the first picture of Mos Burgers, I SWEAR that’s Maurice Moss from The IT Crowd.

  • *bj*

    I am so hungry now >_> craving some Sukiya goodness! Quite incredible that you can be fed and watered for under 500yen!

  • Michael A. Robson

    Looks delicious… and the Ichiran Ramen Urinals are pretty funny too!

  • Missingno15

    Funny that you put this article up cause over Thanksgiving break, I went to NYC with my Japanese friends and we ate at a Yoshinoya in Times Square and our conversation went something like this:

    Me: ねぇ、吉野家に行ったことないけど、こんな感じだっけ?
    Friend: いや、全然違う。

    Also what about GoGoCurry?

  • ジャック (Jack)

    The ONLY beard Papa in the whole of england closed down and I had a emotional breakdown in the middle of oxford street and scared everyone T_T
    But on a side note, another good place for japanese fast food in the UK is
    they do awesome green tea ice cream nd curry.

  • Kwok Leuih

    Interesting to see which of these chains keep it real abroad. Coco Ichibanya is a standby when I’m in Korea and need a break from pickles and stone bowls. It tastes just like the ones in Japan. Beard Papa’s puffs in China are also unadulterated, although the selection is smaller.

    I’ve never tried Yoshinoya in Japan, but in Hong Kong the experience was memorable; a congealed, gray wheel of seafood-themed silicone over twenty second-rate rice. It smelled like warm manufacturing.

  • kevorz

    where’s hotto motto ]:

  • Michael Ball Tazer

    Whoa those looks soo good. Probably go to all of these once i get the time

  • Julian Sy

    Have you had MOS burgers on Japan Airlines? That was probably my best airline meal ever.

  • Lillian

    There is ONE Pepper Lunch in California! In Milpitas … for some bizarre reason. It’s been there for years and shows no signs of expanding. (We have Ajisen Ramen in the area, too, but there are multiples of that.)

    And yeah, it’s tragic that our fast food is so lousy and unhealthy even for what it is. In-n-Out is the top of the heap and it’s … well … limited.

  • Lillian

    (Oh, we have Beard Papa too.)

  • Meow • Japan & Urbex

    Though I love Yoshinoya and Pizza-la, I have to admit that I really don’t like the “common” Japanese burgers found at MOS Burger (what’s Maurice Moss is doing here btw? :p) and Lotteria. The meat is horrendous (except if you never had a real burger maybe, or… meat!), the bread is boring, the sauce generally not that tasty… I’ve been trying for 3 years to like them, but really can’t. There is a good burger-chain restaurant though, it’s “Kua ‘Aina”. This one is a delight. And the best burgers are to be found in the private restaurants. For the rest, I’d add GoGoCurry to the list, the menu is quite limited but the curry is really tasty. 

  • Patrick Mobley

    I remember my friend was talking about Coco’s when he came back to Cali from Japan. Said it was the best curry ever. He managed to find one of the few in Cali, go there, and tried to pay with yen!!! (he still had some from the trip) The waitress asked the manager came back and said “If you really have nothing else then we can take the yen…”

     He was just playing tho. He paid will American dollars and let with a smile. Although I don’t know if the waitress got his sense of humor. Anyway, he said it was just like what he had in Japan. Tasty as hell!

  • mashimaro7

    My favourite was Mos,but you missed Hokka Hokka and it’s brother Hotto Motto!I didn’t really like Hotto Motto,but Hokka Hokka was pretty good.

  • Kiriain

    I really wanna go to Ichiran. But I’m not in Japan nor can I afford a plane ticket just to go there. Maybe I can swim there…
    But I do know of a ramen place in Portland, OR. It’s called Happy Bowl and it’s at SW 5th and Salmon I think. That’s the only that serves ramen that I think would be even close to what’s served in Japan. Sadface.

  • Monica Ai (桃仁香・愛)

    Matsuya? :O

  • WOTDsctoo

    Mos Burger –> (^.^)b   but kind of expensive / not much food (welcome to Japan??)

    Yoshinoya –>  !!!!!! yes
    First Kitchen –>  …meh
    Japanese McDonalds –>  not as bad as US…but more expensive, and still meh v.v

    FRESHNESS BURGER is absolutely amazing though.

    And I heard Lotteria is Korean??

  • koichi

    could be! If you click on the image it’ll take you to the photo page on flickr, which I imagine will solve your mystery, mr. holmes!

  • koichi

    could be! If you click on the image it’ll take you to the photo page on flickr, which I imagine will solve your mystery, mr. holmes!

  • koichi

    mmmm, I know, right! so hungry.

  • koichi

    haha, ewwww, don’t ruin my image of ichiran ramen! I love them too much!

  • koichi

    ]: I’ve never heard of that one, and didn’t find it when I was doing my research ]:

    That being said, I’m sure it’s awesome!

  • koichi

    eat a lot of lettuce now to expand the size of your stomach so you’re ready!

  • koichi

    whaaaaaat? nooo, I haven’t. THat sounds awesome, though. I gotta fly JAL now.

  • koichi

    oooh, +100 for in n’ out and burgervilles

  • koichi

    haha, kua’aina’s awesome! I go there when I visit family in Hawaii, though I’ve never been to the (Tokyo, I think?) one.

    I totally forgot about GoGoCurry – maybe in a future revision, after everyone tells me what I’ve missed :/

  • koichi

    lolol, that’s nice of them to kind of agree to take it! Good story!

  • koichi

    Never heard of Hotto / Hokka – will have to take a look / add it in some revisions after everyone tells me all the fast food chains I’ve missed! :/

  • koichi

    haha, that name must not do it justice ~ I would have never thought!

    I’m always disappointed in Portland Ramen… I thought Mirakutei was okay… Biwa’s sometimes good, though I’ve had it go both ways, so I’m not sure yet. Wasn’t impressed with Shigezo even though a friend said it was “the best ramen in portland.” Couple of new supposedly good places opened up recently, though, right? I can’t remember what they are at the moment…

    Oh, and Yuzu is awesome, though that’s sort of the Beav. Go there if you haven’t yet!

  • koichi

    Mos Burger → Haha, you summed it up perfect
    Freshness Burger → One of the few I haven’t tried :( Will have to try it next time!
    Lotteria → Owned by Korean company (Lotte) but founded in Japan, so I let the Koreanness slide… for now… dun dun dunnn.

    P.S. Hey man, long time no see! :D

  • koichi

    whaaatttt, don’t like bacon!? Unfathomable D:

    Rice burgers are cool, though… they’d do better with bacon! dun dun dunnnnn.

  • koichi

    mmmm, soba’s delicious!

  • koichi

    Yeah, I’ve never been impressed with American Yoshinoya :( Just not the same…

    Totally missed GogoCurry – will do a revision later when I get all the things I missed together :/

  • koichi

    Aww :( I’m sure if they knew it was about Beard Papa they’d have understood

  • koichi

    Yeah – lots of these make their way to Korea / China / Taiwan … cool to hear they stand up! It’s only when they come to America that they lower in quality and stop tasting as good :( We have such low standards, here :(

  • koichi


  • koichi

    Finding vegetarian in Japan is sooooo hard :( You folks are definitely not catered to at all (though if you can eat fish you might make it).

  • koichi

    gooo goooo – get to your Sukiya, quick!

  • koichi

    Is Matsuya a fast food chain?

  • koichi

    haha, yeah, natto anything :(

  • mashimaro7

    Hmm, maybe it’s only in Osaka, but I did see a lot of Hokka Hokkas!

  • Scott

    You left out my favorite takoyaki chain,  Gindako !!
    And you should see the crazy things coming out of McD’s lately: Like the KBQ (Korean BBQ Burger), Gurakoro (croquette) sandwich, and my favorite: the McTuna muffin.

  • Viet

    Korean BBQ Burger? Is it anything like the Bulgogi burger they serve in their Korean McDs? Burger was pretty tasty.

  • Scott

    The KBQ is basically a quarter pounder with a few thin slices of bulgogi on top. Speaking of.. Subway has a pretty good bulgogi sandwich. There’s a big Korean food fad in Japan right now. I hope it sticks.

  • Joseph Lindsay

    Now I’m hungry.

  • Monica Ai (桃仁香・愛)

    Hmm I thought it was.  It was the only gyuudon place near my Uni

  • KiaiFighter

    Yes, I live right beside a matsuya! I love that place. Mostly because of convenience, but the gyuudon is damn good too. They also have pork bowls and curry sets which rock.

    I can’t believe you’ve never tried matsuya koichi!

  • Daviekun

    I’ve been to all of these places with the exception of Pizza-La. They are all quite delicious, but I am both surprised and saddened to see that Tenya is not on this list…

  • Anonymous

    I do like bacon. I just don’t like eggs or burgers. At work I prefer to snack on pepperoni or sausage before bacon though. Or cheese. Mmmmmm, mozzarella goodness.

    I suppose rice burgers are just different to me. I don’t like buns or tomatos or mustard, and I’m picky about cheese. There wouldn’t be much left to eat. Plus I’m not a fan of hamburger patties either. That rice burger fixes all that.

  • Brandon Inoue

    Pepper Lunch FTW!

    I’ve had the yakiniku rice burger.  Tastier than regular fast food but I
    think the Rice needed to be seared a little more.  It fell apart!

    I really do miss Japanese Fast Food.  Everyone has their favorite Gyuudon place.  Mine was Matsuya.

  • John

    I flew JAL once but the flight was too short for a meal :(

  • koichi

    so I think what you’re trying to say is… if MOS burger made a rice bun with bacon, sausage, & pepperoni in it, you’d be in heaven? :P

  • koichi

    ooh, nice! Another to add to the ever growing list of missed fast food places!

  • koichi

    don’t be sad! I’m collecting all the ones I missed for a future revision!

  • Hashi

    Right? I had a hard time reading this post without watering at the mouth a little bit.

  • Eric Evangelista

    Layla what do you think about Sao Paulo Sukiya quality standard? The last four times I’ve been there the service was hopeless. Yes, I know, four times even with bad services. Beef addiction. :-) On 23th I should arrive in Tokyo, so let’s try all these delicious options. Tofugu: Better than Michelin Restaurant Guide. :D

  • Fan of IT Crowd

    It certainly is Moss, the character from that British sit com which I am a fan of.. ~_~ Looking forward to trying a Mos Burger

  • Anonymous

    Exactly! :P

  • Anonymous

    Exactly! :P

  • Monica Ai (桃仁香・愛)

    Oh, thank goodness. I thought
    they might have gotten rid of it or something. :P

  • Jenny

    I love Pepper Lunch. Hard to find though. Oh, I agree with Koichi that finding vegetarian or even vegan places are extremely difficult, but I have seen a few restaurants in the popular foreigner areas that serve this type of menu. You’ll have to google it to find it.

    The one beef I have with McDonalds is they don’t serve the larger salads like you can get in the states. Their Big America burgers were wonderful though. Who knew that the Japanese could best capture American themes?

  • Scott

    So true about the large salads. And most salads I come across are made with cabbage instead of lettuce. Guess it’s easier to just make your own.  

    There’s also lots of Indian restaurants around the Kanto region.. another vegan option. 

  • irmoony

    Jesus Christ, those burgers look bigger than anything I’d be able to put in my mouth

  • JakesVersus

    There is an Ichiran Ramen is opening in Brooklyn soon.

  • JakesVersus

    Wow.. english much? Try to forget about that second “is”.

  • Drew Mitchell

    Thanks! Mind = blown.

  • Obliviousboy1o6

    dude where’s Nakau and Matsuya? lol

  • Bruce Smith

    If you don’t like raw eggs then best you forget about Japan ;-)

  • Bruce Smith

    One of the things I really miss about Japan is Yoshinoya. Cheap, filling and delicious. Magic !

  • Bruce Smith

    Crikey ! Well spotted !

  • Anonymous

    Beard Papa, Mos Burger and Pepper Lunch = YUM YUM YUM! Yoshinoya not so much. I don’t know why but their food doesn’t taste as fresh as it looks in pictures. 

  • Meredith

    I lived in Japan for three months as a vegetarian, it is insanely hard. I am expecting to move back next year, and I am preparing to eat meat in the 3 months before I leave, so I can eat it when I’m there.  I’ve been a vegetarian for 18 years in the U.S., but it’s a different culture over there, and it’s just too hard.

    That said, Freshness Burger had great vegetarian options, and Saizeriya (another fast food place not mentioned here) had a good plate of vegetarian pasta.

  • Alex

    Isn’t Lotteria from Korea? I’m pretty sure it’s owned by Lotte, the Korean food and drink company.

  • JP

    I miss Sukiya.. spent eating almost all of my weekend lunches there, for a year, coz the place I’m staying don’t serve food on weekends.

  • Hashi

    From what I can tell, Lotte is a Korean/Japanese company. At least, that’s what the Wikipedia article says.

  • Fauline Simanjuntak

    OK, we have MOS burger, yoshinoya, lotteria, pepper lunch, even beard papa’s in Jakarta. But somebody need to bring that pizza-la here!

  • Anonymous

    Now I want to eat Gyudon. Thanks.

  • Joyfie

    Haha! Brilliant.. A little bit of our silly comedy made it into Japan.. I saw a Japanese advert for Peep show a while back.. Can’t wait to watch the dub!

  • Leafy

    Omg. Literally I have so much love for this post. I 100% agree with the awesomeness of Japanese fast food –> WHY have they not exported these places to the UK (or I guess anywhere other than Japan) yet? They would 1) make a load of money 2) very likely make a noticeable impact on like obesity statistics.. haha.. 

    Probably sukiya and coco ichibanya are my number one favourites. Sukiya wins by being cheaper though. I would love to go to Mos Burger more often but it’s pretty expensive for the size of the burger you get. First Kitchen is also super tasty but mayo overloaded. 

    I have not yet tried Pizza-La or Ichiran Ramen yet. I can’t wait to try them! Thank you for your post :)

  • Mali

    NOW I’m really hungry…

  • K-tofuku

    I have to recommend Nakau

  • David Chang

    When I was in Japan last month, they had pork belly rice bowl at Yoshinoya! It was the most beautiful thing ever.

  • Hyperichigo

    Thank you for this!!!!! Ah I cannot wait to try these places the next visit to Japan I make! 

  • thatlumberjack

    Lotteria is actually a Korean fast-food chain that has spread to Japan.  I guess we can chalk up fast food to the “Korean Wave” now, as well.

  • Rudyhou

    this post is mind blowing.  don’t know why i didn’t check it out a couple of months ago.  my mouth watered just reading this.  if this doesn’t inspire people to go to japan, i don’t know what.  i for one am itching to go back.  we too here, in jakarta, have yoshinoya and many ramen places, BUT they are never as good as one can find in their country of origin.  ok, better plan my next trip.

  • belgand

    Ajisen is totally around in the US and a good chunk of the world. It looks like you’ll need to be in the SF, LA, or NYC areas in the US though.

  • エジプト人

    I like Sukiya :) Mos burger is cool too, but I haven’t tried the others yet.

  • Johnny LoveFive

    Mmmmm, mmmmmm, mmmm, good shrimp semen!

  • Umeshuu

    Matsuya! Their gyu yakiniku are mind blowing!! Sukiya also delish, but to me Matsuya is superior.