May 29, 2016

Comparing Famous Food Courts in Japan

Comparing Famous Food Courts in Japan photo

If you’ve ever been to a suburban shopping center in Japan on a Sunday, you’ll have likely witnessed the mad feeding frenzy that takes place at the food court. The lack of available seats is a solid testament to the nation’s fondness for out-in-the-open (although still indoors) eating.

The people over at magazine 日刊 SPA (Nikkan SPA) recently went out into the field to compare Japan’s famous food courts  … and IKEA.  

The complete list of food courts: Aeon / Ito-Yokado (Ario) / MEGA Don Quijote / Daiei / IKEA

They broke down their evaluation into 3 categories:

居心地の良さ / igokochi no ya sa - degree of comfort

オリジナリティ / orijinaritie - originality

メニューのコスパ / menu no kosuopa - menu cost-performance

So let’s get started … 

Aeon / イオン 

Location visited: Hashimoto, Kanagawa Prefecture

Arguably the most famous food court in Japan, with locations nationwide.

Degree of comfort - 2 out of 5

Originality - 3 out of 5

Menu cost-performance - 4 out of 5

Taking everything into consideration, taste, scale, menu, this is a food court is an ‘industry’ standard.

Ito-Yokado (Ario) / イトーヨーカ堂(アリオ)

Location visited: Hashimoto, Kanagawa Prefecture

For this piece, the food court boasting the most eateries, seating, and facilities.

Degree of comfort - 4 out of 5

Originality - 4 out of 5

Menu cost-performance - 2 out of 5

Good for smokers, apparently, as there is a smoking space. Seating feels far from the store fronts, but there is plenty of space and it’s easy to move around while holding your food tray.

MEGA Don Quijote / MEGAドン・キホーテ

Location visited: Hasuda, Saitama Prefecture

In contrast to the regular Don Quijote, these MEGA versions more resemble a supermarket in shopping options and style. This was the smallest of the food courts visited.

Degree of comfort - 5 out of 5

Originality - 2 out of 5

Menu cost-performance - 4 out of 5

The ramen here offers a taste of home-cooked food. On the downside, rather than being handed a buzzer to let you know when your order is ready, the store staff call orders out. This could be a little uncomfortable for some.

Daiei / ダイエー

Location visited: Omiya, Saitama

Now a wholly owned subsidiary of Aeon. The Daiei flagship operation in Tokyo has closed.

Degree of comfort - 3 out of 5

Originality - 4 out of 5

Menu cost-performance - 3 out of 5

Like the Aeon in Hashimoto, this is a compact food court. It’s also popular with Japanese teenagers.


Location visited: Tachikawa, Tokyo

Hot dogs, cinnamon rolls, and a bistro.

Degree of comfort - 1 out of 5

Originality - 5 out of 5

Menu cost-performance - 5 out of 5

IKEA seems to lose points on the comfort factor due to hard surfaces, large trays exacerbating the potential for slippage, and difficulty in securing a seat.  

And from our end we might also add, it’s not really a food court, is it?! More of a canteen.  

Review totals

Aeon - 9 out of 15

Ito-Yokado (Ario) - 10 out of 15

MEGA Don Quijote - 11 out of 15

Daiei - 10 out of 15

IKEA - 11 out of 15

If you’ve got a favorite food court in Japan, drop us a line in the comments below.

Twitter: City_Cost_Japan


Source: 日刊SPA (Our translation is in no way ‘official’. See the original article.)

Image (cropped): Dushan Hanuska Flickr License



A Q&A and blogging community about life in Japan (plus a load of life-in-Japan stats!). Get your questions answered, share your experience! | Inquiry -> KyodoNewsDigital International Media | Tokyo, Japan | +81 3 6252 6402