Tokyo Cheap Eats: McDonald’s

July 3, 2019

Paul Kay


These are the McDonald’s, which are all over Tokyo, we’ve sampled in our travels to Japan's capital city.

You might be asking why out of all the Tokyo restaurants we’d eat at a McDonald’s, and then review it. Here are a few reasons we go to McD’s while abroad.

  • It’s a great place to people watch. And many McDonald’s are near hot spots of local traffic or tourist locales. You can observe locals in their natural environs or other travelers from around the world.
  • McDonald’s are convenient. If you have a big day of sightseeing, sometimes it’s nice to be able to pop into a restaurant where you know the menu for a quick bite. You know, recharge the batteries before heading out for another amazing sight.
  • Sometimes you want a little taste of home. As much as we love to sample local food, there are times when we're a little homesick. McDonald’s gives us that little bit of Americana we need. And it’s always fun to see how other countries interpret an American icon. Did you know the Happy Meal is called the Happy Set in Japan? Fascinating!
  • It’s cheap! A city like Tokyo can be expensive. A few visits to McDonald’s over the course of your trip can save you money, giving you the opportunity to see more of Tokyo.

We also have posts for barscaféscheap eats, medium priced and high end restaurants.

Also check out our other Tokyo posts.

Shibuya

This is a great spot for a quick bite and fun people watching.

Probably the most famous spot for people watching is Shibuya Crossing. You probably have seen this crossing in a movie or documentary.

Shibuya Crossing, Tokyo, Japan.

Pedestrians scramble across Shibuya Crossing

The main intersection in Shibuya is called a scramble, because all traffic stops and then pedestrians cross in every direction all at once. It’s tightly organized chaos in which to watch or participate.

McDonalds View Of Scramble Crossing Shibuya Tokyo Japan

Looking out onto Shibuya Crossing

The McDonald’s in Shibuya is small, but like so many McDonald’s in Tokyo, there is an upstairs you walk to and you eat your food. If you get a window seat, you can take it all in.

McDonalds Asking Where We Are From At Shibuya Tokyo Japan

We put a sticker on for Texas!

This McDonald’s is popular with tourists. It’s so popular, in fact, it has a map where people can pin their hometowns.

Sign For Proper Behavior In English At McDonalds Shibuya Tokyo Japan

You can find English all over Tokyo, especially in the McDonald's

You won’t have any trouble ordering here. If it’s obvious you’re Westerner, the staff will flip the menu from Japanese to English before you have a chance to ask. You’ll also recognize most of your favorites from home as a picture. We had no trouble ordering and enjoying a quick lunch break.

TCAT

If you want a quick bite either before you go to Narita or when you arrive, there is a McDonald’s in TCAT, or Tokyo City Air Terminal, located in Nihonbashi. Depending on where you are in TCAT, you can ask anybody where the restaurant is. And there are many signs to follow. TCAT is large, but the Japanese with who I spoke were incredibly friendly and helpful.

McDonald's Sign Tokyo Japan

Is this the most familiar sign in the world?

Like other McDonald’s I’ve been to in Japan, this one is incredibly friendly. You probably won’t have to ask for an English menu—they’ll turn it over for you or give you a new one. Many of the same standard meals are available here as they are in the United States, including a Quarter Pounder with Cheese. You’ll see some Japanese items not on the American menu, but you’ll still find plenty of old favorites. Enjoy!

Asakusa

If you visit Asakusa, you might want a familiar meal at McDonald’s. 

McDonalds Restaurant Near Asakusa Tokyo Japan

Take a rest from all that noren shopping

This restaurant is close by. When we went to Bengara to go shopping for noren, we stopped for a snack.

Kuramae

This is a standard McDonald’s but off the beaten path. It’s another good one for people watching. 

Kuramae McDonalds Tokyo Japan

Kuramae is great for shopping for handmade gifts—and eating

Kuramae is located between Asakusa and Asakusabashi. We found it because we had to transfer between train lines, and this time we ended up exiting to the street to walk a couple of blocks to the new station. There are many handicraft businesses in Kuramae, so there’s lots to shop for.

Minami Shinjuku

This McDonald’s is very close to Shinjuku Station.

McDonalds Restaurant From Street Near Shinjuku Station Shinjuku Japan

This McDonald's is near one of the busiest train stations in the world

We wanted a cheeseburger, fries, and Coke Zero after touring the Shinjuku area. This is one of several McDonald’s in the area, but we liked how close this is to Shinjuku Station.

McDonalds Restaurant Sign With 2nd Floor View From Street Near Shinjuku Station Shinjuku Japan

McDonald's as street food?

Here you order outside on the sidewalk, and then take your food up to the second or third floor to eat. You’ll find many school kids there but there’s enough seats for everyone. Of course, we sat and ate by the window, seeing more of the Shinjuku experience.

Akihabara Showa-dori

For an IT guy, Akihabara is the place to go to check out the latest technology. The Japanese are always on the cutting edge of technology. It’s fun to see what the American marketplace might see in the months or year ahead. However, doing research in Akihabara can work up an appetite!

McDonald's Akihabara Tokyo Japan

An ice-cold McShake will help after looking at advanced electronics all day

This restaurant has an English menu, and the staff speak English. You’ll recognize the basic menu. It’s nice to get a bite before or after your Akihabara shopping trip.

Burger King Akihabara Showa-dori

Okay, it's not a McDonald's. But if you prefer a Whopper over a Big Mac, this one's for you.

Burger King Akihabara Tokyo Japan

You don't see this kind of ads for American Burger Kings

Yes, I’ve been to Akihabara more than a few times. Madeline and I went to this Burger King on one of our visits to Akihabara. We got off the Tokyo Metro’s Hibiya Line and walked toward Electric City and found this close to McDonald’s. You can get a Whopper meal or simply a cheeseburger that reminds you of home.


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