Gyudon – Japan’s essential budget meal


Gyudon is to Japanese people what the burger is to Americans. Or what a fish and chips are to the British. Cheap, fatty and quick, they make for great food for those on the go who don’t want to spend too much. Gyudon, sometimes known in English as beef bowl, is a simple Japanese bowl of rice topped with beef and onion that has been simmered in a mildly sweet sauce.

Price: From 240 yen (about $2)

Name in Japanese: Gyudon/ぎゅうどん/牛丼

Where can I buy it?

Gyudon restaurants are everywhere and are very easy to find. The cheapest chains are Matsuya (松屋), Yoshinoya (吉野屋) and Sukiya (すき屋). Matsuya is the cheapest, but most people say Yoshinoya and Sukiya taste better. Here are the what the shops look like:


Just have a look for these, or ask someone where gyudon is, and it’s probably a 10 second walk away!

Published by Matthew Baxter

Matthew Baxter is a British travel author who has lived in and visited Japan for over a decade. Having traveled across the country, without much money, he has built up an extensive knowledge of budget travel here, and has also worked for many leading tourism companies. He also writes professionally for several websites and publications, such as the GaijinPot, All About and the Japan National Tourist Association.