Want to try Japan’s most famous hot pot, but don’t want to drop big bucks for it? Yoshinoya, plus one other amazing budget-friendly restaurant, are here to help.

We’re psyched that November is here. Part of that is because Japan’s fall leaves are about to reach their peak beauty, but the more important reason is because of two new delicious but cheap sukiyaki options.

Sukiyaki is usually an expensive meal choice in Japan. To start with you need beef, which is already on the pricey side here. Then there’s the fact that sukiyaki is most often found at upscale restaurants, which often require that you order enough for at least two people.

But as of November 1, sukiyaki is back on the menu at the most humble and affordable of Japanese restaurants: Yoshinoya!

Officially, Yoshinoya calls its sukiyaki the gyu suki nabe zen (“beef sukiyaki hotpot meal”). Single-diner-sized, the pot is filled with strips of beef, vegetables, and flat kishimen-style udon, all simmering in the sweet and savory broth that separates sukiyaki from other hot pot varieties.

▼ Yoshinoya’s sukiyaki is accompanied by white rice, a raw egg for dipping, and a side of pickles.

At just 690 yen (US$6.10), Yoshinoya’s sukiyaki is a tasty bargain, as the dish can easily be more than four times that price at other restaurants in Japan. However, if you’re willing to splurge by just the tiniest margin, we’d also recommend you try the sukiyaki set meal at Yayoi-ken.

Yayoi-ken is a chain of teishoku, or set meal, restaurants, and while it may not be as internationally famous as Yoshinoya, it’s a fantastic choice for a quick, casual, and immensely satisfying meal. Yayoi-ken isn’t a fast food joint, but you do purchase a meal ticket from a machine before you take your seat and a server comes to pick up your voucher, before later bringing your food to your table for you.

At 890 yen, Yayoi-ken’s sukiyaki teishoku is just a bit more expensive than Yoshinoya’s, though it still comes in under the magic 1,000-yen line, where Japan’s smallest denomination of paper money sits. The extra 200 yen gets you tenderer beef and higher quality vegetables, plus shirataki konnyaku yam noodles in addition to the standard udon.

▼ Shirataki

There’s one more awesome perk to Yayoi-ken too, which is that its set meals, including the sukiyaki one, give you unlimited refills of rice, which you scoop yourself out of giant rice cookers where Japan’s favorite grain is always ready to be eaten.

As such, for 890 yen Yayoi-ken’s sukiyaki set meal is absolutely guaranteed to fill you up. Of course, Yoshinoya’s 690-yen hot pot is also a filling option. Both restaurants’ sukiyaki sets are a great way to enjoy what was once a rarified dining experience in a budget-friendly way, and with the weather getting colder and colder, they’re also great ways to warm yourself up from the inside out.

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Follow Casey on Twitter, where he’s been looking forward to Yayoi-ken sukiyaki for months.

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