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It’s really late at night, you’re tight on money, and you’re not sure if you can order what you want on the phone with your shaky Japanese…

There are many reasons to eat in at your hotel. Wherever you are in Japan, there’s a type of building that will be there – a convenience store! Here are 10 meals you can buy at whatever convenience store is nearby. Bon appetit! 

1. Rice Balls

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Ah, the starch meal of the Japanese stomach. Rice balls are cheap, from 100 ~ 200 yen, and keep you full for a long period of time. There are many flavors to choose from, which is always fun.

2. Sandwiches and Bread

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Sandwiches are placed in the cold corner of the convenience store. They are a little more expensive than rice balls, around 200 ~ 300 yen. There is also a bread section in the convenience store. Where it is varies by chain, but you will definitely be able to tell where it is from the huge variety of breads. 

3. Packed meals / obento

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Packed meals are meals such as curry rice or meatball spaghetti. Packed meals with rice are called obento (お弁当), as shown in the image above. Prices are around 400 ~ 600 yen. I personally recommend Natural Lawson’s packed meals. They’re healthy and tasty. 

4. Side Dishes

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Side dishes are placed along the packed meals. An example of a side dish would be potato salad, hijiki (ひじき), and so on. They are very small in portion size, since they’re side dishes. Always buy something for your main dish. Prices are around 150 ~ 400 yen. 

5. Salads

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Convenience store salads aren’t just only lettuce leaves and small tomatoes. They have seaweed salads, which are several different types of seaweed, and spaghetti salads, which pretty much tells you what it is from its name. You can also choose the salad dressing. Prices are around 150 ~ 400 yen.

6. Fried Goods

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Fried goods, such as fried chicken and fries are placed near the counter. You can choose from fried chicken bits, to a chicken drum handle. They also have corndogs. They come in small paper bags. Prices are around 120 ~ 160 yen. 

7. Steamed Meat Bun (Nikuman/Butaman)

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Steamed meat buns, Nikuman (肉まん) in Japanese (or Butaman if you’re in Kansai), are located near the counter. There are different types of steam buns, such as anman (あんまん), which has sweet bean paste inside. They come in small paper bags. Prices are around 120 ~ 200 yen.

8. Instant Noodles

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Instant noodles are located near the dry snacks. Convenience stores offer many different flavors and brands. If you don’t have access to hot water at your hotel room, you can use the hot water at the convenience store. Though, you need to hold the hot container without spilling the insides when you walk to your hotel room. Prices are around 200 ~ 500 yen.

9. Instant soups

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Instant soups are located near the instant noodles. A personal favorite is the bean-starch vermicelli noodles, or harusame (春雨) series. The soup comes in many flavors, and you can eat a small portion of bean-starch vermicelli. Prices are around 150 ~ 300 yen.

10. Oden

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Oden (おでん) is a Japanese dish where various ingredients are cooked in dashi soup. It’s a popular dish when it’s getting cold. You can choose whatever ingredients you want. Tell the store clerk what you want (or point your finger if you can’t speak Japanese). However, it’s hot, so you have to be careful carrying it to your hotel room. Prices vary depending on how much you buy.

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