Hey guys! As some of you might already know, traveling or living in Japan can be extremely expensive. Having lived in London for a few years, I was shocked at first when I realised that living expenses in Japan rival that of London. You pay a great price for a closet-sized room in a shared apartment, transportation in Japan costs one human liver, and since we couldn’t cook at our airbnb, we had to eat out and that was mounting up to be very expensive as well.
Thankfully, Japan has a multitude of convenience stores such as 7-Eleven, Lawson, and Family Mart, where we can find inexpensive meals starting at ¥200. In Japan, these convenience stores are referred to as “combinis” (short for “convenience stores”) and the Japanese have a real love for these shops that are open 24/7.
In this post I will show you why, by taking you with me on a full day of eating only affordable 7-Eleven meals. Let’s first take a look at what there is!
Aside from food there are also a variety of goods — clothing accessories, stationery, household products, etc. — that you can obtain here at 7-Eleven Japan. You can also pay your bills, top up your mobile phone credit, and rent a bike here!
To start the day, I chose my all time favourite: onigiri. The normal price for an onigiri starts from 130 yen (with tax). During that time, 7-Eleven had a special offer of two onigiris for 200 yen and needless to say, I was sold! We chose two onigiris — one salmon, one beef.
We also chose two large pork buns and one pizza bun because we were super curious about what the pizza part of the bun contains! Turns out, it was tomato sauce and mozzarella, and surprisingly, it was much better than I thought.
I wanted to try 7-Eleven’s store brand coffee so I chose one from the hot drinks aisle. Important tip: the cans and bottles are actually really hot so be careful when you pick one up!
Cost breakdown: two onigiris (¥200) + two large pork buns (¥170+¥170) + one pizza bun (¥128) + one black coffee (¥118)
Total cost: ¥786
Around lunch time I was in the mood for soupy broth to warm myself up from the cold outside. I took a look around and it wasn’t long before I found myself with a bowl of chicken soup dumplings and vegetables. The bowl of soup dumplings comes with a packet of sauce and you just need to add hot water and mix them together. Convenience unlocked! This entire bowl cost ¥360 and it was more filling than I thought it would be.
J was feeling the cold too because he chose a cup of instant miso soup. Just like the soup dumplings, you only need to mix the miso paste (inside cup) with some hot water and mix them together. There’s even a sachet of dried seaweed, green onions and tofu cubes that expand as they soak in the hot water! This warm cup of miso costs ¥100.
J also wanted to try one of their bento boxes. He chose this simple but classic chicken karaage bento box with rice and pickles. This filling box was ¥470.
Cost breakdown: One bowl of soup dumplings (¥360) + a cup of miso soup (¥100) + one bento box (¥470)
Total cost: ¥930
You guys didn’t think I would go a day without snacks in-between, did you? For our little pick-me-up, I opted for savoury snacks whilst J, true to his sweet tooth, chose a sweet snack. I took two round onigiris this time: fried rice onigiri and omelette and rice onigiri. Again they were only ¥200 because of the super deal!
Being the huge anime fan that he is, J chose a melon pan. Despite its name, melon pan doesn’t actually have any melon in it. The ‘melon’ part actually refers to how it’s shaped like a melon. The ultra sweet bun is made from enriched dough and covered with a layer of crisp cookie dough. This sugary rush cost ¥118.
Cost breakdown: Two onigiris (¥200) + one melon pan (¥118)
Total cost: ¥318
When dinner time rolled in, I was famished from walking around all day. I remember seeing a fried food section and I had been craving for some crispy and crunchy fried chicken all day. I chose a box of chicken karaage that cost ¥300 and of course, a bowl of 7-Eleven instant ramen! The cover was in Japanese so I wasn’t sure what the flavour was, but the ramen broth tasted like peanuts and sesame oil. MMMH!
J chose a different bento box this time. It consisted of rice, fish, meat and japanese omelette. The whole box was only ¥470.
Cost breakdown: A box of chicken karaage (¥300) + a bowl of ramen (¥278) + one bento box (¥470)
Total cost: ¥1048
That concludes a whole day of eating at 7-Eleven! As you guys can see, eating in Japan does not need to be very expensive. The 7-Elevens Japan, or convenience stores for that matter, offer really yummy and wallet-friendly options for your belly. Give it a try the next time you’re in Japan and let me know how it goes!
If you’re interested in eating well and affordably during your travel in Japan, check out my entire post on how to eat for cheap in Japan.
Until next time!