Japanese Restaurant Review – Yoshinoya

Yoshinoya Japan

Photo by earthhopper on Flickr

There are few restaurants in Japan that I’m as excited to see as a Yoshinoya. When you’re feeling hungry and you don’t want to drop a lot of yen, Yoshinoya in the place to go!

What is Yoshinoya?

Yoshinoya prides itself on the basic Chinese-style rice and meat bowl or gyūdon. Its motto is “Tasty, low-priced, and quick”, and it certainly delivers with tasty meals with prices as low as 280 yen or around $3.00.

The restaurant was started in Tokyo by a Yoshino (near Osaka) farmer named Eikichi Matsuda. The believed origin of the name Yoshinoya according to Wikipedia is the kanji combinations of the letter 家 (ya) meaning “house.” The letter 吉 (yoshi) meaning “good fortune” and 野 (no) meaning “field.”


Photo by prunus on Flickr

What’s on the menu?

While the Yoshinoya menu may not be vast it gives you nice selection of meat and rice dishes that do a good job of filling up your belly.

Yoshinoya Japan

Set meals can be chosen which come with miso soup, rice, a raw egg etc. Or you can start with a basic beef bowl and add toppings or additions for only a dollar or so more. It works out to be a very affordable meal.

Yoshinoya beef and rice bowl

The restaurant will typically have a long bar like area and maybe a few tables. After you take a look over the menu you just need to grab the ever watchful attention of the waitress with a “Sumimasen” or a wave of the hand. She’ll take your order and almost within seconds your food will be at your table.

Chopsticks and toppings can be found in the communal boxes and jars in front of you. This is pretty common in Japan, so of you ever find yourself sitting there wondering when you’re going to get your utensils, probably start opening up the boxes that are sitting near you :)

Yoshinoya Japan

Our experiences with Yoshinoya

I was only able to go to Yoshinoya twice while we were in Japan, although I had friends who must have lived there. The first time we went was in the Den Den Town district of Osaka. Stacey and I couldn’t decide where to eat and ended up walking into to Yoshinoya for the first time. We we’re suitably impressed with the food we got for the price we got it at.

The second time I went to Yoshinoya was with my brother-in-law when we were hopelessly lost and starving in Tokyo. We had gotten ourselves lost after mistaking the Akasaka subway stop with the one we actually wanted at Asakusa. Easy mistake, right? After wandering around for an hour I spotted a Yoshinoya and quickly said “We’re going there. Now.” We were both worn out, cold and famished. It really hit the spot.

So what do you think of Yoshinoya? Got any good stories? We’d love to hear them!

One Response to “Japanese Restaurant Review – Yoshinoya”

  1. Japan Australia  on February 3rd, 2012

    Yoshinoya was one of our favourites when we first arrived in Japan and who can beat gyudon with a raw egg at those prices. Probably prefer Sukiya more these days.

    Japan Australia

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