Nakau: Kyoto’s Fast Food

I’m currently on a trip where I don’t have to the luxury of time and money. Travelling to Japan can be quite expensive but don’t get me wrong, it’s still worth it. Being a budget traveller, I always try to save money every chance I get without sacrificing my time. That would mean long, brisk walks and having meals while on the go. So the first thing I asked the hostel staff when I got to A-yado Guesthouse was if there were any cheap food in Kyoto, not necessarily close to the hostel as long as it’s cheap. So I took out the map and he pointed to the area not too far away from the guesthouse, about 2 corners away. But it was quite late so I was saving it for the next day.

At first I thought it was really pricey when I checked on their menu so I just walked out to find some other place to eat anyway I wasn’t really that hungry yet . After a couple of hours biking around the city, I stopped to check on different convenience stores like Family Mart, 7-Eleven and Lawson’s but all their pre-prepared food on the chillers are priced between 300-350JPY. That’s when I realized that the price range for a meal here is about 250-400JPY.

Nakau Kyoto

Nakau Kyoto

Now I’m convinced that I’ve found a place where I could save both time and money at the same time. It’s called Nakau. If there’s 1 word I could use to describe the Japanese practices, it would be “Efficient”. They have a knack for simplifying things and with the help of their technology, every just seems easier and faster – The epitome of smart-working, not hardworking people.



Orange Temple Gate Kyoto

Once you get to Yasaka-Jinja Shrine, look directly to your left

If you go to Kyoto, I would suggest you stroll around the Gion area, it’s like the historic part of the town where most houses and stores were old but well-preserved. Once you get to the Gion area, You will most likely come across Yasaka-jinja Shrine, the one with the orange gate. If you’re facing the gate, look to your left and you’ll find small store in the corner of the block. That’s Nakau.



They serve typical Japanese food like Japanese Chicken Curry, Katsudon, Beef Teriyaki and Udon Soup. The usual price for a medium-sized serving for any of these can range between 300-400JPY. Not bad considering their hefty serving sizes. They also have set meals for about 700JPY but I never even tried ordering it because I know I wouldn’t be able to down it all. It’s a combination of a rice meal and a small serving of soup in one set. Maybe when I’m hungry enough I’ll give it a try. They also serve Karaage(Deep fried chicken) in 3-piece servings for 100JPY. Even with all these choices, my favorite thing about this diner is the unlimited cold Matcha Green Tea. I could drink at least 5 cups of that refreshing drink.



Nakau Beef Teriyaki Bowl

Nakau Beef Teriyaki Bowl

I might be a little biased on this but the Beef Teriyaki Bowl would be number one on my list since it is one of my favorite Japanese foods. But to be fair, their Beef Teriyaki is just over-the-top delicious! The high-quality Japanese beef thinly sliced and tender, the rice perfectly cooked and the sauce wasn’t too sweet or too thick. All the flavors were perfectly blended. It’s simply heaven in a bowl.

(Writing this right now isn’t really the best idea as I’m currently in a bullet train right now travelling to Tokyo and I still have about 45 minutes left in this trip. I hope my growling tummy won’t wake my seatmate up.)

Nakau Beef Udon

Nakau Beef Udon

Another one you should definitely try is the Beef Udon(Yes, I’m beef deprived). The same tender beef but this time on a soup paired with thick noodles that would almost slide down your throat after just one or two slices from your hungry teeth. Please don’t let me describe the dish any further since I’m not a chef and sadly, I can’t even cook. If you ask me, I’d just say, aside from the noodles and the beef and the broth, there are some round green things(scallions maybe), and a flat white thing possibly soy-based, a different kind of noodle and some caramelized onions. HA! How’s that for a description?! But seriously, I love this flavorful dish and the serving is more than enough for a traveller with a huge appetite. Oh and by the way, don’t forget to SLURP!



Nakau Orders

Ordering Station

Didn’t I say that the Japanese just makes everything easier for themselves? Well here’s why. When you step in the diner, you will find two computers where you will order from. You can check out the menu with their English names along with mouthwatering photos. Just drop your coins or insert your bills into the machine and tap on the photo of the food you want to order just like a vending machine. After you’ve made your order, a small piece of paper will drop, along with your change. Just take that piece of paper and have a seat, the waitress will come to you to collect that coupon and your food will be ready in two minutes. That’s right, just two minutes! Now that’s what I call fast food!

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  1. […] my hostel in Kyoto had free coffee and a huge slice of bread everyday. On top of that, Kyoto has Nakau, a cheap and delicious vendo-resto. Bonus Tip: Stores in the food courts offer discounts starting […]

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