There are countless restaurants in Japan, and it would take lifetimes to try everything out! To help you figure out where to eat in Japan and where to go for different Japanese dishes during your time in Japan, here are the most popular Japanese chain restaurants for you to check out! You can find these restaurants in a lot of the neighbourhoods in Tokyo and other big cities in Japan. When in doubt, check out one of these places for a delicious meal!
Before we start, since we have a whole other article going into the best ramen chains in Japan, we won’t cover ramen here. If you’re looking for ramen, you will love what you’ll find in this blog.
Japanese chain restaurants
We can’t talk about where to eat in Japan without mentioning izakaya. It is the place where people go to hang out, get drinks and share small plates of food. Here are some of the most popular izakayas in Japan.
“Tori” means “chicken” and as the name suggests, they serve chicken here. Although they mainly serve yakitori, which is chicken on skewers, they also have appetizers, side dishes, rice, noodles and dessert. Everything here at torikizoku is around 300yen (3USD) per dish. The quality and the portion is great and it is the go-to spot for people that want to get drunk and enjoy a few skewers.
If you cannot figure out what to eat, here is an overview on all the different types of yakitori you will find in Japanese izakayas.
Yakitori center is another popular yakitori izakaya. Besides yakitori, they offer a lot of side dishes as well as meat dishes other than chicken. They have a lot of seasonal specials happening all the time, with fusion dishes and all-you-can-drink deals. They also run lucky draw campaigns, where if your skewer sticks has burnt markings on them, you’d get another plate of skewers for free.
The price is a little more expensive than torikizoku but the range of dishes you can get here is also more extensive.
Isomaru is a huge chain that specialises in seafood. You can get fresh seafood here for a good price and the quality is exceptionally well. From sashimi to grilled seafood, baked seafood, you can get everything here. Most of the restaurants are open 24 hours, making it a great place for people to go at all hours. We would recommend you try out the crab miso shell here, it goes great with sake.
Ikkyu is another great izakaya chain restaurant that runs special discounts and promotions nearly every day of the week. Especially on weekdays, you will find deals to get drinks for a heavily discounted price. They have everything here from seafood, sashimi, sushi, yakitori, fried food and a lot more. They also offer special Japanese drinking games for you to play with your group.
Good quality sushi can be found in a lot of places, even convenience stores! Even if you are unsure about sashimi, many places offer fusion sushi and other interesting types of sushi. Let’s check out the popular sushi chain restaurants where you can go to eat in Japan.
Sushiro is incredibly popular because of its cheap price for delicious sushi. It is a conveyor belt sushi restaurant. The seasonal menus are constantly changing so you won’t get tired of the variety you can get here.
Kura sushi has a huge range of sushi options. They have a large number of discounted sushi sets, desserts along with a lot of popular desserts. Kura sushi holds regular campaigns with special sets with seasonal fish. One special thing about Kura sushi is, every 5 dishes you eat at the table, you can enter a chance to win a small prize, from a small gachapon to a free dish of sushi.
Sushi here at Hamazushi is sold for 100 yen (excluding tax) and 90 yen (excluding tax) on weekdays. There are 90 types of sushi, and also side dishes like miso soup, udon, salad, cakes etc. Many of the Hamazushi stores operate in the form of conveyor belt sushi, but some stores operate as regular sushi stores.
Kappa Sushi かっぱ寿司
Kappa sushi is a popular conveyor belt sushi chain restaurant and has popularity among adults and children of all ages. The price per dish is 100 yen except for some menus, and the side menu is widely spread from takoyaki, fried, ramen, steamed rice, and fried potatoes. They also have some all-you-can-eat options.
Tempura might seems imply, just deep-fried seafood or vegetables right? When you have good tempura, you will be able to tell the difference in the dough, the texture and the taste. Check out these tempura chain restaurants for some affordable yet delicious options when it comes to where to eat in Japan!
Tendon tenya 天丼てんや
Tendon tenya is a tempura fast-food chain restaurant, which offers speedy meals. They use special tempura powder to maintain quality and efficiency. The tempura bowl here is popular and you can get tempura shrimp, squid, squid, pumpkin etc with rice, soba and/or udon. Despite being quick and cheap, this is a delicious option and attracts a lot of people daily.
Tempura Shinjuku Tsunahachi 天ぷら新宿つな八
Tempura Shinjuku Tsunahachi opened in 1926 and is one of the most famous tempura shops in Tokyo. Using traditional skills and methods in making tempura along with carefully selected ingredients, the tempura here is authentic. Make sure to sit at the counter, where you get to see the tempura chef carefully make the food and serve you one tempura at a time.
Tensuke is a well-known tempura restaurant in Koenji, just a few stops from Shinjuku. They are famous for their tempura egg. With your tempura sets, you will get a huge variety of daily specials like tempura dish, shrimp and vegetables. This restaurant is small, only sits around 10 people, so make sure to come early so you don’t have to wait in line.
Japanese curry is sweeter than any other kinds of curry, and you eat it with rice. Most curry restaurants in Japan are relatively affordable and quick. Check out these curry chain restaurants for what to eat in Japan.
One of the most famous curry chain restaurants is Coco Curry. There is basically only one type of curry here but there are many different types of toppings you can choose from, including roast beef, cheese, scrambled eggs, tempura shrimp. You can choose your preferred spiciness here, although if you are used to spicy food, you wouldn’t find even the spiciest level here very spicy.
Go-go Curry is another popular curry chain restaurant in Japan and the curry here is thicker and richer than Coco Curry. The portion tends to also be bigger and the most popular dish to get here is deep-fried meat cutlets with curry.
Okonomiyaki is said to be originated from Osaka and Monjayaki is originated from Tokyo. Okonomiyaki has flour so the texture is a little more solid, whereas Monjyayaki has a more runny texture.
Okonomiyaki Dotonbori is an okonomiyaki chain restaurant that is popular and offers all-you-can-eat okonomiyaki and steak, with the concept of “deliciously healthy”. The classic style is the unique okonomiyaki that is famous in Dotonbori in Osaka, and you can even try fusion style okonomiyaki that use plums, tomatoes, cheeseburgers, and other ingredients.
Tsurugashi Fugetsu is a popular Japanese okonomiyaki chain. Besides okonomiyaki, they also offer a rich selection of sake snacks. Their most popular menu is called Fugetsu-yaki, a mix of squid, pork, prawns, beef and a variety of ingredients. This is an excellent okonomiyaki that you should definitely try.
Yakiniku is BBQ grilled meat, sometimes seafood and vegetables. It is incredibly fun to enjoy this meal with friends or family. Despite the affordable price, the quality is usually good. Because of the strong focus on meat, if you don’t like meat or don’t eat meat, you might want to avoid Yakiniku.
Anan is a great Yakiniku place that offers some of the cheapest and delicious options you can find. In Anan restaurants, you grill your meat on charcoal, bringing out freshness of the meat, adding a bit of a delicious aftertaste. Ordering individually, each beef plate costs around 3-5 dollars and chicken costs less. The quality of the meat isn’t the best you can get, but not bad at all.
All-you-can-eat here at Anan costs as cheap as 1900yen (around 19 dollars) for 100 minutes. You can pay an additional 1300yen (around 13 dollars) and for 30 dollars, you will get all you can eat and all you can drink!
Gyugaku is another great yakiniku option. It is one rank higher than Anan and costs a little more, but provides amazing deals with their all-you-can-eat options. The all-you-can-eat options start at 2,980yen (around 30 dollars). They have two more options, one with aging beef and one including seafood. If you are on a budget, the first option already offers some great meat for your meal so you don’t have to worry about paying more. Each branch is also a little different so make sure to check out your options.
Jojoen offers a more high-end style Yakiniku. It is a take on Korean yakiniku with Korean dishes on top of yakiniku. The price varies depending on the store and some of their stores will make you feel like royalty. Their menu features an incredible selection of Japan’s famed wagyu beef and other sumptuous ingredients.
Shabu Shabu is the perfect meal especially when it is cold outside. You usually have a lot of vegetables along with meat, rice and/or noodles in this meal, making it a healthy option.
Shabuha is one of the cheapest and most popular shabu shabu restaurants. It offers all-you-can-eat delicious meat and fresh vegetables. In addition to the regular menu, Shabuha offers limited-time all-you-can-eat menus, changing things up for its customers. For those that are interested, they also offer an all-you-can-eat sushi option.
Onyasi is a popular shabu shabu restaurant that offers high quality meat for an affordable price. Depending on the set you can get, you can grab their all-you-can-eat sets that come with different types of meat as well as vegetables. You can choose from their wide range of broth as well as seasonal items including broth and vegetables.
Udon and Soba
Udon and Soba are less well-known than ramen but incredibly delicious and usually more healthy. You can find affordable options to more luxurious options of these in different Japanese chain restaurants. Check out one of these places when you’re deciding where to eat in Japan.
Fuji soba is a udon and soba chain restaurant that you can find in a lot of places, especially around business districts. It is a fast food style restaurant that is quick and incredibly cheap, while the quality is surprisingly good. They serve soba and udon either cold or hot, with simple toppings and side dishes. They are usually open 24 hours, making them great places for people to visit at all hours of the day.
Hanamaru Udon is a step up from Fuji soba, with more toppings, including tempura seafood, tempura vegetables and sometimes inari sushi for you to choose from. It is also a Japanese fast food chain restaurant and here, they only serve udon. It is a popular place for both Japanese people and foreigners to visit.
Tsurutontan is known for being the fancy udon place with huge bowls of udon. When I say huge, they are bigger than your heads! They have a udon factory that creates their own style of udon and they offer a wide range of broth, including the traditional Japanese broths to fusion broths. Besides udon, they also offer side dishes that are equally tasty, including sushi, sashimi, rich dishes, salad and more.
The ultimate fast food! Donburi is basically toppings on rice. The toppings can range from beef, pork, chicken with different garments and ingredients. You might have even seen some of these Japanese chain restaurants overseas!
Gyudon chain restaurants
You simply can’t talk about donburi without mentioning the big gyudon chain restaurants including Matsuya, Sukiya and Yoshinoya. Although they are all slightly different, all have their menus and different styles, they all offer the signature gyudon.
Nakau is another big Japanese fast food chain restaurant where you can get a lot of quick Japanese dishes including donburi, soba and udon for very cheap. The portion tends to be a little small so if you are curious to try out different dishes, go ahead and get more than one dish for yourself.
Tonkatsu is deep-fried cutlet, usually pork. It is quite heavy so you usually get cabbage on the side with your set. Check out these tonkatsu chain restaurants.
Katsuya is a popular Japanese fast food chain restaurant that specialises in Tonkatsu. You can get simple and delicious tonkatsu on rice here, usually served with miso soup. It is great if you are looking to grab something cheap, quick and delicious.
Tonkatsu Wako is known as the first tonkatsu chain restaurant in Japan that started the trend that serves tonkatsu with all-you-can-eat rice, cabbage and miso soup. You can get different sets from the traditional deep-fried pork to deep-fried seafood, vegetables and different seasonal menus.
There are many restaurants in Japan when it comes to where to eat in Japan. We certainly love eating and exploring small restaurants and bars in Japan. However, it is always great to know that these chain restaurants are available and everywhere so we can easily go and check them out.
Which one of these Japanese chain restaurants are your favourite? Let us know in the comment section down below! If you have any questions about Japanese restaurants or want to get in touch, feel free to DM us on Instagram or message us on Facebook Messenger! We would love to talk with you!