Fast Food in a Fast Lifestyle

We’ve all had it before where we’re missing the taste of fast food from our home countries. I know I have craved some late-night salty fries or a good ole sandwich here in there throughout my six years in Japan while being a stressed-out student and tired full-time employee. As an American from the south, I miss the natural heaven-sent foods that come from the likes of Zaxby’s and Chick-fil-A. Unfortunately, I don’t think those are available in Japan, BUT I am lucky enough to have other food cravings taken care of when I’m in my apartment in the Umeda area.

Of course, there are numerous fast food restaurants located in Japan that one can find in the West or other countries, such as Wendy’s, Burger King, and more. However, I would like to show you three favorites and some of the differences that exist between these American and Japanese fast-food restaurants.


There are so many differences when it comes to McDonald’s in Japan and America. I was completely caught off guard when I wanted to order chicken nuggets with sweet-and-sour sauce (which is basically what I have always ordered since I was five years old) only to find that sweet-and-sour sauce is nonexistent here. On the other hand, I have had the chance to try a variety of different sauces as they change it so often here! I learned to replace my sweet-and-sour addiction with sour cream lemon sauce and their zesty black pepper and garlic sauce when they offer it. If not those two, then the mustard sauce is the way to go!

The burger options are different as you can get teriyaki burgers, shrimp burgers, and even a moon burger which is given every season when (月見)Moon Viewing day comes around.

Another reason Japan’s McDonald’s is extremely unique is because of their toy selection. A lot, if not all, of the toys are based on anime/manga in the kid’s meals. As a diehard Spy Family fan, I was not going to miss the chance to order a kid’s meal and get this Spy Family coloring book. I have no regrets. (I had to throw in the picture of the beautiful macaroon strawberry lattes my friend and I got)

I recommend that everyone eat at McDonald’s when they’re in Japan at least once just to order a specialty that you can only get in Japan. It’s fine to take a break from trying authentic Japanese food just to try their fast food in my opinion. I promise you won’t be disappointed.


This actually isn’t a fan favorite of mine but is a recommendation from my good friend. Every time we go to the city, she always asks if we can stop at KFC so that she can eat their fried chicken or one of their sandwiches. I’ve personally never been a big fan of places like KFC or Popeye’s, but I know a lot of people love these places. Her current go-to meal set is the spicy chicken sandwich with fries and a Coca-Cola. Nothing too extreme, though it should be noted that there are certainly differences in not only the menu but how Japan views KFC during the holidays.

If you know you know. KFC is all people eat on Christmas day as it is viewed as a delicacy during Christmas time in Japan. People literally reserve weeks in advance to eat the wonderful KFC food in the restaurant or have a pickup order ready for them. I still have yet to find out why KFC is a special food to eat on Christmas here, all I know is that I want to partake in the festivities during Christmas time.


And now, the best for last.
I rarely go to Subway, but this is a delicacy I have loved since my Osaka Uni. days (in the Suita campus hospital I practically lived at the Starbucks/Subway there)
My typical order in America was the foot-long ham sandwich with salt, pepper, oil, and a bag of chips on the side. When I got here and saw what I had to work with, I knew it was time for a change.

There is one thing that didn’t change though. If there is anything to know about me it is that I will eat potato based food any time of the day. Japan is famous for their potato wedges! At all of these fast food places, I devour the fries before moving on to the main part of the meal. Whenever I go to Subway, I always get the herb potato fries. GET THEM. You will thank me later. They are probably some of the best fries I’ve had since coming to Japan. The only bad thing is that they come in such a few amount.

A Smile for Your Face and Stomach

All in all, I think these three fast food restaurants are absolutely delicious and are commonly found throughout all prefectures in Japan. Anytime you are looking for a cheap meal that might remind you of home, I suggest these places to fill you up!

Remember, if you’re going to any of the places mentioned above, make sure to download the apps on your phone or tablet in order to see the coupons/deals that they have going on at the time you’re trying to go. I’ve saved a good amount of money by using the apps!