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    How To Find 300 Yen Steaks In Japan

    By thomas | October 9, 2007

    Steak in Japan.  You can get it for 300 yen!  yum!Relative to other places, the cost of living in Japan is high. Rent is expensive. Transportation is expensive. Clothes are expensive. Food is no exception. Just the other day I saw a single mango selling in the local grocery store for 3000 yen (I bought bananas). Steaks often clock in at over 700 yen and watermelon is notorious for being expensive.

    We don’t have to give up eating our favorite foods though. We don’t have to pinch pennies by eating instant ramen all week either. There’s a nice workaround when it comes to buying perishable food: hangaku stickers.

    Hangaku Stickers

    Japanese steak.  Look at the price.  300 yen!Hangaku (半額 [はんがく]) means “half price”. As a rule, grocery stores don’t like to throw food away if they can help it. As perishable food approaches it’s throwaway day, stores will start putting discount stickers on the packages. Typically they will start with a 10% off sticker, then 20%, 30% (pictured right), 40% and finally the magical 50% hangaku sticker!

    A 3000 yen mango reduced to 1500 still isn’t a very good deal. You’d have to really be into the mango-tasting experience to buy that one. But 350 yen for a steak? Sold. Have you ever had a steak for breakfast? It’s awesome.

    The key to finding the half-off stickers is timing. Every store is a little different so you’ll need to stake out your grocery store in order to figure out the best time to buy. Here are a few tips to help you find the right time.

    You can even get the expensive Japanese steak for a reasonable price.
    Japanese steak.  Even the expensive ones can be bought at a reasonable price.  Half off!
    As a final note, please be aware that expiration dates are there for a reason. It is recommended that you eat discounted food within one day of purchase to avoid food poisoning.

    Do you have any tips for saving money at the grocery store? Drop me a comment!

    Like this post? Give me the Thumbs Up!

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    Topics: Japanese Food | 26 Comments »Trackback

    26 Responses to “How To Find 300 Yen Steaks In Japan”

    1. Jonneh Says:
      October 9th, 2007 at 7:23 pm

      Wow, I have to say, this site is getting cooler and cooler every update!

    2. thomas Says:
      October 10th, 2007 at 12:59 am

      Thanks for the kind words Jonneh! Please help spread the word.

    3. Amy Says:
      October 11th, 2007 at 2:34 am

      What a great blog! Thank you for all the money-saving tips.

      I do a lot of after-work shopping and have started to get the hang of the late-night discounts. One thing I’ve noticed is that supermarkets with in-store bakeries offer good deals on bread and pastries: the bakeries generally close before the supermarket does, and when that happens they will put discount stickers on any remaining items. An especially good deal is when they stuff several buns and pastries into a bag and offer it for a ridiculously low price.

      If you find out what time the bakery closes you can plan your shopping trips accordingly. But watch out– other people do it too. At my local supermarket there is always a small crowd milling about waiting for the discounted pastries, and come discount time there is a mad dash to grab the best ones!

      One caution about discount stickers: be careful with discount sushi and sashimi. Maki-zushi, chirashi-zushi and anything made with cooked or marinated fish is fine, but avoid nigiri-zushi with raw fish. And pre-cut sashimi is risky if you plan to eat it as-is, but will be fine if cooked.

    4. thomas Says:
      October 11th, 2007 at 8:31 am

      Amy: Thanks a lot! I hope you’ll come back to visit soon.

      That’s a great tip about the bakery! Especially since many of us foreigners are used to eating bread with every meal back home. I’ll make a follow up post about it, soon.

      What time does the bakery close at your store? I just need a ballpark figure so I can try it out.

    5. Get Cheap Bread at the Grocery Store | Says:
      October 12th, 2007 at 3:54 pm

      […] How To Find 300 Yen Steaks In Japan […]

    6. Plan Your Trip With JR Odekake Net | Says:
      October 28th, 2007 at 12:13 pm

      […] How To Find 300 Yen Steaks In Japan […]

    7. Plan Your Trip With JR Odekake Net | Says:
      October 28th, 2007 at 12:13 pm

      […] How To Find 300 Yen Steaks In Japan […]

    8. rico Says:
      October 29th, 2007 at 1:19 pm

      Not bad, but if you don’t have a kitchen to cook, try these restaurants that got giant portions for relatively cheap prices

    9. Shari Says:
      November 12th, 2007 at 3:31 am

      Though not everyone can visit one, Costco in Japan carries very cheap food relative to most Japanese markets. Steaks are regularly available for prices akin to the cut rate prices you’re only getting at the end of the day at Japanese markets and they are far less fatty so you’re getting more protein for your yen. Most people would find half of a huge, thick Costco steak ample for a meal. (I have a picture of one on my blog in an old post if you want to see the cut. They average about 580 yen per steak. If half is enough for you (and it would be for most people), that’s 290 per meal.

      This is a very interesting concept for a blog and I’m adding you to my links. I’ll be looking forward to seeing what you come up with in the future.

    10. thomas Says:
      November 12th, 2007 at 3:33 pm

      Rico: Clever tie-in for the link. I’ll allow it :)

      Shari: Thanks for the kind words and the link. I don’t think I have a Costco near me, but you just gave me a good reason to double-check. I prefer the less fatty variety of steaks myself, cooked in a Weber grill. If you have any other hacks/tips, don’t hesitate to write in and share it.

    11. Justin Says:
      November 14th, 2007 at 11:10 pm

      I didn’t know the Japanese were serious steak eaters.

    12. Daily J » Topic » How the NihonHacks idea was born - an exclusive interview Says:
      November 26th, 2007 at 4:39 am

      […] is your favourite post so far? And why? Thomas: My favorite post is the one about 300 yen steaks ( I had actually planned to post it weeks earlier than I did, but I had trouble getting pictures. […]

    13. Karla Says:
      December 24th, 2007 at 3:12 pm

      I am a late night shopper (oh to be single) and if I see something reduced I will buy it and put it straight in the freezer when I get home.
      That way, if I want to make something I just need to defrost and use STRAIGHT AWAY. Handy to have a freezer stocked with various things as well.

    14. Karla Says:
      December 24th, 2007 at 10:51 pm

      PS- people who like costco but aren’t near one

      it’s all the stuff from cosco, but they will deliver to your door. saves the hastle of buying in bulk and lugging it back if you don’t have a car or if there isn’t a costco near you.

    15. Memories of Japan - 100 Yen Store « A typical Life Says:
      January 10th, 2008 at 7:58 am

      […] still was a bit shocked to see 3,000 yen mangoes as Thomas at Nihon Hacks describes in his post on how to find 300 yen steaks in Japan. I wish he had been blogging 10 years […]

    16. ShaneS Says:
      January 10th, 2008 at 8:10 am

      Thanks for the hack – I have been lurking for a while but do enjoy your tips. I hope to put this one and some of the others to use when I hit the streets of Chiba next month.

    17. Kitarist Says:
      February 21st, 2008 at 7:28 am

      Wow your blog is really great. Planning to visit Japan one day. Really great post man. Also take you time and please visit my blog If you want we can review each others blog


    18. john k Says:
      March 23rd, 2008 at 1:59 pm

      I buy my fruit on those sheds/shacks that are littered along the side of the road everywhere, well outside of the cities anyway.
      I can buy around 3kg of bananas, for example, for 400yen!…all good quality too. The ones they can’t sell, the brown ones, go for 100 yen…but these are great in fruit shakes!

      I also walk around to those smaller shed, again i’m not in the city, to where locals sell their over produce from their own plots. Can but sack fulls of veggies on the cheap…decent quality too, all organic. I buy about 10 cucumbers, for example, for around 100 yen. Makes great relish and also salads mixed with mint and vinigar in spicy meals.

    19. Memories of Japan - 100 Yen Store Says:
      May 20th, 2008 at 1:35 am

      […] still was a bit shocked to see 3,000 yen mangoes as Thomas at Nihon Hacks describes in his post on how to find 300 yen steaks in Japan. I wish he had been blogging 10 years […]

    20. Jason Says:
      July 9th, 2008 at 11:24 pm

      Haha, fruit is the most expensive thing in Japan I swear. I only buy discounted steaks too. haha

      I got 10,000 yen strawberries as a gift. What a freaking waste of money give me the money. Tasted like crap too. They were too big and most where deformed ones i.e. two strawberries that grew as one. How can that be a prize strawberry?

    21. sully Says:
      January 5th, 2009 at 12:54 am

      if people can’t work out how to do this by themselves (i.e. if they have to rely on online drivel to make it through life) then they should never have had thier umbilical cord cut (and certainly shouldn’t have come to JP!)

    22. peter Says:
      January 5th, 2009 at 2:07 am

      Not everyone can be the genius that you are, sully.

    23. japanese words Says:
      March 14th, 2009 at 10:09 am

      These are great tips for anyone living in Japan and especially for those on a tight budget. People often thin of Japan as one of the most expensive places in the world, but it can be pretty cheap if you know how to shop (and when).

    24. chad Says:
      July 10th, 2009 at 12:39 am

      Actually, “sully” is correct. This is a pretty obvious “tip”, don’t you think? Discount stickers are not a secret – in any country.

      December 26th, 2009 at 7:12 am

      I only buy discounted steaks too. haha

    26. DoeJohnson Says:
      August 6th, 2011 at 10:13 am

      “Chad,” I actually find this tip very useful. Obviously grocery stores usually have discount stickers. But that is not the big picture. The real tip is on which food items have discounts at which times and in which stores. Give credit where credit is due.