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What do Japanese eat for Breakfast?

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What do Japanese eat for Breakfast?

Many who have come to Japan will realize that there are not a lot of traditional breakfast shops in Japan. So, ever wondered what do the Japanese eat for breakfast?

Nikky

Nikky

Published on 08 May, 12:00

Japan is known as one the busiest and having the fastest pace in the world and also well known for the healthy meals, so let's dig in deeper in finding out what the Japanese eat for breakfast.

1. Convenient store

Many people work till late evenings and need to leave their homes early, especially single people who don't have kitchen or cooking facilities in their apartments will choose to buy their breakfast the night before or the next morning while on their way to work.

The most common combination is an onigiri ball (rice ball) and a fresh juice or bread with carton milk. Reason for this combination being so popular because it's fast and easy to buy as well as being more affordable.

Onigiri would be 90-150 yen (depending on the inner filling) and milk/drink being 100-180 yen, so one could buy breakfast for 200 yen on average.

Japan Style Ongiri
Japan Style Ongiri

2. Bread

Talking about bread, although it is a commonly well known western type of food, bread is something really enjoyed by the Japanese.

One will realize that bread is sold in supermarkets, convenience stores and most train stations have a bread store at the exit.

This again is useful to Japanese to buy their favourite bread as breakfast the night before on the way home or the next day on the way to work. Usually, breads are sold individually and usually range from 120-250 yen, depending on the shop, given it is not in the higher range.

Bread store inside Tokyo station for people on the go to grab a croissant on the way to work
Bread store inside Tokyo station for people on the go to grab a croissant on the way to work

Bread & Ongiri I bought from the convenient store to prepare for a few days
Bread & Ongiri I bought from the convenient store to prepare for a few days
One of my experiences with coffee and Bagel breakfast at a cafe 480 yen meal
One of my experiences with coffee and Bagel breakfast at a cafe 480 yen meal

3. Set meals at chain stores

Many chain stores in Japan such as Yoshinoya, Matsuya and Sukiya are known for fast, good on a budget and offering traditional Japanese set menu breakfast such as Natto with rice or Miso soup with noodles.

If time permits, a lot of Japanese prefer to sit down and eat their breakfast at these stores, but from my experience working and studying in Japan, especially in Tokyo, the morning rush can be really hectic for any sitting down.

However, weekends are very busy around 10-12 am, during the brunch hours, many Japanese prefer to sit down and enjoy a more relaxing breakfast/brunch time.

Breakfast sets are usually 300-600 yen per meal, advantage is that you get a relatively healthy balanced breakfast and the disadvantage of these meals is that more time is needed to sit down and eat.

Typical breakfast meal at one of the chainstores in Japan
Typical breakfast meal at one of the chainstores in Japan

People who want to enjoy a more luxury breakfast, usually found at hotels or luxury cafes or traditional Japan Ryokan (Japan style hotels) can find nicely laid out traditional breakfasts for 900-1200 yen.

More expensive breakfast set I had at a Ryokan
More expensive breakfast set I had at a Ryokan

Toast at a chainstore cafe
Toast at a chainstore cafe

4. At home breakfast

For some Japanese, especially those with a family, consider breakfast time as quality time to spend time with their children, especially for those who return home after their children have gone to bed. Usually, natto and rice, bread or cereal are very popular choices for homemade breakfast.

Some families who are fortunate to have a stay home full-time mother/wife will also sometimes prepare grilled fish to be served with their traditional breakfast.

My partner is Japanese and 80% of the time, if I ask him what he would like for breakfast, the answer is always natto! On some occasions, he will eat break, but usually, he still prefers a very typical grilled fish, miso soup, rice and natto. Natto is usually 100 yen on average for a pack of 3, which makes this breakfast very affordable!

My partner is Japanese, so this is our most common breakfast at home
My partner is Japanese, so this is our most common breakfast at home

Usually for a person who makes an average income in Tokyo, spending 200-300 yen on breakfast for one person is considered normal, however, for lower-income people or people who are on a budget, natto or onigiri is definitely a very good option for budget-friendly and balanced healthy meals.

I and my partner are office workers and we usually budget 100-300 yen for our breakfast, sometimes going more luxurious over weekends.

Due to my background, growing up in the west, I am a big fan of bread and toast, but living in Japan has also made me enjoy Natto, egg and rice a lot!

In my home country, South Africa, people eat cereal and milk, toasts and sandwiches for breakfast which is very common in Japan too. Cereal has not been a typical choice for Japanese, but gradually has become an option, especially for weight-conscious office ladies.

However, given my eastern background too, China/Taiwan eats warm dumpling soups or toasted sesame dough bread which aren't really common in Japan.

For those living in Japan, feel free to share some ideas on what breakfast you have had in Japan?

1
Nikky

Nikky

Born: Taiwan Raised & Education: South Africa Background: Int Telecommunications. Currently living: Tokyo, Japan. Studied @ Waseda university. Current Job: @Tokyo in Technology Consultancy. Interests: Love exercise, Food, travels! Follow me for more insight into Japan life!

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