Cheap(er) Groceries to Buy in Japan


No matter where you're living or what lifestyle you're leading, there are just certain foods you depend on for daily living. Some people choose to carry the same diet from their home country into Japan.... but I think adapting is way more fun! And drastically way cheaper.

Not including super unhealthy artery clogging snacks.
Not including super unhealthy, artery clogging sweets.

So! Foods I most often found myself grabbing from the supermarker in Japan were:

1) Natto

If you're on this page, I think you know what Natto is. Everyone seems to either hate or love it. There's no real gray area. But honestly, natto is an extremely affordable, healthy and convenient option. Three to four packs for 60 cents? Add in some rice and you're eating for a day at about 150 yen/$1.50. Or hey, if you really want to splurge - add in some raw egg, spring onion, soy sauce or mayo.

With that strong flavor, mixing it with the included mustard and sauce really make for a great snack that won't greatly impact your calorie count, girls! Seriously, when you get those snack-y pangs, anything with a strong flavor will help. Natto's got your back.

If you really can't stand it, try those convenience store rolls! The rice and nori seem to neutralize natto's strong flavor and texture.
2) Tofu

Talk about cheap. The lowest price I've gotten tofu was definitely 26 yen for a huge pack. And again, you can pretty much put anything on it or put it in soup.
3) Spinach, leafy greens like nira or matsuba

Again, these are wonderful for adding in soups. I personally enjoy the flavor of nira in eggs, so that was an incredibly lazy option for rushed mornings.

4) Sweet potato

If you're lucky, you might actually be able to get these for free in Japan. So many people outside of the larger cities who have their own land tend to grow things. A lot of things. And sometimes they might be feeling generous enough to gift you with some! I went to an event by a local Cultural Exchange group where we were helping a woman dig up all the potatoes and unintentionally by the end of it, had been continuously offered more and more to take home!

But sweet potatoes are everywhere in Japan and they're much more delicious than those back in the States, they even have various sweet potato desserts..!
5) Eggplant

I'm not entirely sure but I do remember buying eggplant a lot. Usually they came in packs of three long, smaller ones - so that's probably why I remember having a lot. Another healthy option!
6) Eggs

This might be pretty general for most countries, but you can do so much with eggs.
7) Kaki (persimmon)

Again, the people in the area I was living in just had so many kaki fruit in season. Buying them from a local (trust) stand was fun and cheap - 4 or 5 for 200 yen!


  1. I think you should also include MOYASHI! They are soooo cheap and really delicious. Well, they don't have much flavor alone, but they suit just about any kind of sauce/flavoring and add a great texture to stirfry, ramen, etc.



About Us!

Hey there! We're Taiki and Andrea - a Japanese/American couple who love traveling and learning about other people and cultures. We've been to India, Thailand, Korea, France, Germany, Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic, Greece and Italy (as well as the US and Japan of course!)

We started a blog to preserve our memories while encouraging and motivating others to travel or learn English!

Popular Posts

Twitter Updates