15 Fast Foods Chains to Go in Japan

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Gyudon
Source: Hajime NAKANO

While in other countries fast food is considered a low-grade dining option that you only resume to when you are in a hurry, the situation is different in Japan. Japanese people managed to take fast food to a whole new level. They adapted everything to match their culture and the results will leave your mouth watering! We present you 15 Japanese fast food chains that you definitely have to go to!

1. Mos Burger

Mos Burger is a fast food chain originated in Japan and then spread overseas. It serves conventional dishes as well as unique ones to fit the Japanese people’s taste. You definitely have to try one of the following menu items: Teriyaki Chicken Burger, Natsumi Fish, Hokkaido Croquette Burger, Natsumi Beef,  Kakiage Rice Burger, Yakiniku Rice Burger and Wagyu Burger Demi-glace.

2. Freshness Burger

Freshness is a popular fast food chain which sells hamburgers, salads, sandwiches and drinks. Its name comes from the fact that the chain concentrates on fresh food. This is also the reason why there are many vegetarian items on the menu. Delicious burgers include the Classic Cheese Burger, the Fish Burger, the Teriyaki Chicken Burger, the Crispy Chicken Burger and the Bacon Omelet Burger.

3. Tenya

Tenya is a store specializing in tempura (battered and deep fried seafood or vegetables) and it is one of the most affordable such places in Japan. The store mainly serves tendon bowls (tempura over rice). Every dish usually includes tempura prawn next to vegetables such as lotus root, squash and beans. Their rice bowls are served with various sauces, from sweet to spicy ones.

4. Lotteria

Lotteria is a fast food chain that first started in Tokyo and then spread through various Asian countries. Its menu includes hamburgers, fresh sandwiches and desserts such as frozen cake sticks, shakes, apple pies and crepes. Interesting dishes you should try are the Wild Shrimp Burger, the Hot Crispy Burger, the Rib Pork Sandwich, and the Honey Mustard Grilled Chicken Burger.

5. McDonalds

Everybody heard of McDonalds. There are probably such stores in almost country in the world. Why is such an ordinary restaurant on this list? Because the McDonalds in Japan has a different menu than those in other countries. The are so many interesting burgers you will have a hard time choosing. You have to try the Cheese Tsukimi Burger, the Mega Tamago Burger, the Cheese Fondue Chicken Burger and the Chicken Tatsuta Burger.

6. Yoshinoya

Yoshinoya is a chain that specializes in gyudon dishes (beef over rice). The food is very affordable and no matter what you choose to eat, you will have a delicious experience! Besides normal gyudon, Yoshinoya also served pork rice bowls, curry rice, unadon (eel bowl) or bejidon (vegetables bowl). You can choose to buy just the meats separately, in which case they are served on a plate without the rice.

7. First Kitchen

First Kitchen is a popular fast food restaurant which is owned by Suntory Holdings, the well known drinks company. It first started as a hamburger restaurant but it slowly started to include other dishes in the menu. At the moment, First Kitchen serves hamburgers, fried chicken, pizza and pasta. The restaurant’s highlight is represented by the “Flavor Potato” French fries that have a very deep and rich flavor.

8. KFC

The famous Kentucky Fried Chicken that has stores worldwide is also much loved in Japan. Just as McDonalds, their menu has many variations compared to the global stores. You must try dishes such as soy sauce fried chicken, grilled onigiri (rice balls), the Wa-fu Chicken Cutlet Sandwich, the Teriyaki Twister and the Pepper Mayo Twister. All these foods can be of course accompanied by French fries.

9. Sukiya

Sukiya is another chain that specializes in gyudon, rice bowls and curry. Originating from Yokohama, it has spread throughout Japan, Asia and in a few western countries. Popular dishes include Kimchi Gyudon, Three Cheese Gyudon, Katsuobushi Okura Gyudon, Ontaman Curry, Karaage Curry and Raw Tuna Bowl. They also serve dishes for kids and desserts such as strawberry sherbet and ice cream.

10. Mister Donut

Mister Donut is a popular store that centers around donuts, muffins, pastries and coffee. It is the largest donut chain in the whole country. Originally they used to sell the same donuts as in the USA, but now they changed the menu to fit the Japanese taste. The number one selling donut is Pon De Ring, a chewy and fluffy donut which comes with various toppings such as glazed, chocolate frosting or brown sugar.

11. Subway

Subway is also a popular fast food chain that was imported from the west. Like with the other such chains, there are special items on the menu that can be only found in Japan. The most delicious sandwiches include the Shrimp Melt, the Shrimp and Avocado, the Sausage Roll with Cheese, the Cheese Roasted Chicken and Mushroom, the Herb Sausage and the Cold Smoked Raw Ham and Mascarpone.

12. Matsuya

Matsuya is a restaurant chain similar to Yoshinoya and Sukiya. They mainly serve gyudon, rice bowls and curry dishes. The beef bowls are of two types: premium and normal. The premium type is mainly sold in Tokyo and the areas around the city. Other dishes you should try are Extra Green Onions and Sliced Pork Bowl, Bibim Bowl, BBQ Beef & Kimchi Bowl, and Original Curry with Beef.

13. Pepper Lunch

Pepper Lunch is a fast food steak restaurant popular in Tokyo. The meat is cooked in front of the customer and there are two types: rare and well done. There are four main categories of dishes on the menu: Premium Steak, Pepper Rice, Sukiyaki&Teriyaki and Cheesy Omelet Steak. Each category has delicious variations of steak dishes.  The restaurant also sells several types of soft drinks and salads.

14. Curry House CoCo

Curry House CoCo specializes, as the name says, on curry dishes. The best part about this restaurant is that they let you customize your dish. You start with a basic curry and add the ingredients you like. Then you can choose the spice level, from mild to very spicy. The ordering goes like this: you select a sauce, then choose the quantity of rice, choose the spicy level and the toppings.

15. Krispy Kreme

Krispi Kreme is another doughnut chain store with many branches throughout Japan. They sell all kinds of doughnuts that are not only tasty, but also look adorable. Besides the usual ones, Krispy Kreme also adds more items to the menu depending on the season, like bunny and chick shaped doughnuts during Easter. One of the store’s main highlights is represented by the doughnut ice cream sandwich.

Bon appetit! Have a good trip and travel!

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Asia, Japan