• While it may be tempting to drop in at the closest convenience store for cheap eats, it's often much more cost effective to prepare your own food
    • Focus on rice, noodle, and vegetable dishes as they are often the least expensive foods in supermarkets
    • Instant curry and instant noodles are both very cheap
    • Meatless yakisoba, fried rice, and stir-fry can all be cheap options
    • If you don't have access to a kitchen then convenience store instant noodles and premade bentos/lunches are reasonable
  • Sushi lovers can find cheap sushi if they look in the right places
    • Convenience stores carry sushi for cheap
    • Supermarket sushi is often marked down to half price at the end of the day (around 7:30 p.m. at the Besia in Hikone)
    • If you want something of a higher quality try kaiten-zushi or conveyor belt sushi which is not only cheaper than high-end sushi but a fun experience a well
    • At sushi restaurants other than kaiten-zushi, order by the set rather than by individual pieces
  • It's true; Japanese ramen is often inexpensive
    • This goes for certain other noodle dishes like soba and udon
    • Many shops will post their prices outside--look for noodle dishes priced around 300 to 500 yen
    • CAINZ in Hikone has a food court that serves a dish called "Gakusei Ramen" or "Student Ramen" which is a large bowl of noodles for only 300 yen
  • "Sabisu Teishoku" or daily specials are lunch time deals that occur in many restaurants between 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
    • Note that these specials occur during standard lunch time for businessmen so expect crowds

The best strategy is to keep your eyes open. Look for restaurants with cheap prices and pay attention to where the Japanese people themselves are going. They've lived in Japan longer than you and they know where to find good, affordable food.