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The top 8 fast food chains in Japan

By Michelle Lynn Dinh

Do you have a favorite place to get a quick, cheap meal? Maybe you go through the drive-thru at McDonald’s and enjoy a Big Mac or cruise on over to Krispy Kreme for a sweet treat. Even though Japan doesn’t have a strong culture of driving motor vehicles, people in the island nation still enjoy a wide variety of quick bites. But what is Japan’s favorite fast food? News site, NariNari, has the answer.

The following survey was conducted by Japanese retail research company, Softbrain Field, on Sept 13. They asked 5,708 men and women in their teens to their 80s to comment about their favorite fast food chains. Survey takers were first asked to list every fast food restaurant they often go to. Here are the results:

1 – McDonald’s (68%) 2 – Mister Donut (45%) 3 – MOS Burger (33%) 4 – Kentucky Fried Chicken (28%) 5 – Subway (11%) 6 – Lotteria (8%) 7 – Krispy Kreme (5%) 8 – Freshness Burger (4%)

Those surveyed were then asked, “Of the fast food restaurants you go to, what is your absolute favorite?” Here are the results:

1 – McDonald’s (33%)

McDonald’s was chosen by people in all age groups as the top fast food chain. Most people stated the low prices of McDonald’s food as the restaurant’s best point. They particularly like the 100 yen menu.

2 – MOS Burger (25%)

Many people stated MOS Burger’s fresh produce as their reason for preferring the chain. The restaurant makes their burgers to order, so patrons feel relieved to know their meal is always fresh.

3 – Mister Donut (17%)

Those surveyed said they enjoy the 100 yen sales that Mister Donut often has, as well as the point card system that allows patrons to choose a free gift.

4 – Kentucky Fried Chicken (9%)

KFC Japan uses domestically raised chickens, so patrons feel good about the food they are eating. Those surveyed also said they enjoy the secret blend of herbs and spices and flavor only KFC can provide.

5 – Subway (6%)

Being able to “have it your way” is a big selling point for Subway in Japan. Patrons like that sandwiches are made right in front of their eyes and they can choose which ingredients to add or take out.

Although Mister Donut is more often frequented, when asked to choose their absolute favorite, Japanese fast food lovers prefer MOS Burger overall. However, when the statistics are separated between men and women, they start to look a little different.

It looks like women in Japan don’t have a strong preference between the top three restaurants. Men on the other hand seem to prefer burgers over doughnuts, with an over 30 point difference between McDonald’s and Mister Donut.

Source: NariNari

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© RocketNews24

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I have to say that when I felt homesick for homefood or if I was hung over Loteria burger & fries hit the spot. Mos Burger is good but has a Japan taste to it. So do the specialty burgers at McD's have a Japanese taste to them.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

KFC Japan uses domestically raised chickens, so patrons feel good about the food they are eating.

Yes, what a relief to know that you're eating the flesh of animals that suffered here, not abroad.

Apart from that...there are no real surprises here, except for the omission of onigiri, Coco Curry, and all the other fast food places.

I agree with Mos and Mr Donuts being up there, I really like MisDo doughnuts. I never understood the hoopla about Krispy Kreme, they really are horrid in comparison.

-17 ( +5 / -21 )

Does Oroku Soba count as a fast food chain?

I think they have five restaurants.

Great Okinawa soba!

Cheaper than a McOffal burger and "Freedom" Fries.

Much tastier and much better for you.

-8 ( +4 / -12 )

My top fast food places are Matsuya and a standing soba shop.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

They particularly like the 100 yen menu.

Save your way to diabetes.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

Freshness burger should replace Mcchucks as number 1. where’s Burger King? Had a burger at MOS burger the other day. totally bland and unappetising.

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

"so patrons feel relieved to know their meal is always fresh."

who the hell wrote this LOL

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Loteria gets my vote. Very tasty.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

The restaurant makes their burgers to order, so patrons feel relieved to know their meal is always fresh.

Last time I went to moss burger, they stuck the pattie in the microwave.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

How many Krispy Creme shops are there in Japan? This survey looks heavily Tokyo slanted.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

No kaiten sushi made the top 8?

MOS doesn't really count as fast food, usually you have to wait a good 10 minutes for your order, I once waited about 20 minutes, but that was a while ago heh heh.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

best fast food for me in osaka: okonomiyaki, takoyaki, onigiri

no why is it that i never go into anyplace on the list here? (hint: pure japanese food is the best)

2 ( +6 / -4 )

"pure japanese food is the best"

MOS Burger isn't pure Japanese?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

serrano: MOS Burger isn't pure Japanese?

moss-burger is "made in japan", but the idea of a hamburger ain't from around here. i wouldn't call a pizza made in japan something that is pure japanese

1 ( +3 / -2 )

no Taco Bell???? :(

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

"This survey looks heavily Tokyo slanted"

Well, Nessie, it sure ain't Hokkaido slanted, ha ha!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Is Tim Horton's in Japan? I think Krispy Kreme pulled out of Canada because Tim Horton's is most popular.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Freshness Burger?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I wonder what % said I never eat "fast food" at these establishments.

Kaitenzushi is pretty fast food, that would get my vote.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Last time i went to a McDonalds Japan it was Full of Smokers. The air was thick with smoke. McDonalds say they care about Customers. Great. If they still allow smoking in their 'Establishment", WHY? There are people of all ages including Children who go to McDonalds. They should NOT be exposed to Cigarette Smoke. The Law needs to Change.

-4 ( +5 / -9 )

The following survey was conducted by Japanese retail research company, Softbrain Field

Not sure I'd want to tell people I work for a company called "Softbrain," but, hey, maybe that's just me.

I enjoyed the survey and, of course, the comments. I have not eaten at a MickeyD's in Japan in many, many years. I'm in Japan at the moment and, not that I have anything against them, I just don't eat McDonald's food anywhere, period. Just like when I'm at home in Georgia, I avoid Waffle House and Krispy Kreme.

After swimming laps, I'll consider a MOS Burger as kind of a "go-houbi." I guess I'm a creature of habit and I like the place near the pool in Japan I frequent. I actually love the uniqueness of their burgers. Viva la difference! It's something I just can't get at home. Like Japanese beer. (All the stuff back home is made in Canada or who-knows-where.)

I actually had my first MOS Burger this trip to Japan here in Hamamatsu a couple of days ago. Mostly, as many have written, I also prefer the local "non-fast" places. I especially like "izakaya" and I hope that's a style that will find its way westward.

I think Krispy Kreme pulled out of Canada because Tim Horton's is most popular.

Tim Horton's is great. My Japanese bride and I love the franchise. When traveling north, we can't wait to leave the Waffle Houses behind and get into Ohio and that first Tim Horton's off of I-75 heading to Toledo. We always stock up on their coffee too.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Freshness Burger is EASILY without ANY DOUBT the best on that list. MOS is probably the worst in EVERY way. ate there yesterday. My side 200 yen order of onion rings. 5 rings. Burger was like rubber. not good meat. not good value. ANY hamburger chain in the Japan is better than MOS. Most supermarketes have better, cheaper and crisper chicken than KFC in Japan.

really it all comes down to marketing. I dont even have a freshness burger in the Prefecture I live, but I make sure I hit one up when I travel.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

They were certainly asked to chose from a closed list of 10 fast-foods. That's obviously not the choice of 80% of people in Osaka. There is no way you don't get a chain of domburi or noodles in the top.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Christopher: "Freshness burger should replace Mcchucks as number 1. where’s Burger King?"

It should indeed, but then that would be a farce because the fact remains far, FAR more people go to Mickey D's than Freshness burger, and the former chain has about a hundred thousand times more restaurants in Japan. As for Burger King, it's not in the rankings because it went out of business in Japan until being reintroduced in Tokyo about two years ago. To my knowledge there are only single hand count of restaurants still in the nation, although they are planning to open more. Same with Wendy's.

CanuckNikkei: "Is Tim Horton's in Japan? I think Krispy Kreme pulled out of Canada because Tim Horton's is most popular."

Sadly I don't think there's a single Tim's in all of Japan, and I would kill for a double-double right now.

Anyway, personally of all those on the list I would say that WHEN (and not often!) I eat at a fast food joint it is likely Mickey D's, but that is solely because none of the others are in my area. There's a MOS, which I much prefer, not TOO far down the road, but it's still out of my way, and when I eat fast food it's not generally something I plan to do long beforehand and go out of my way for. As far as burgers go Freshness is No.1 and MOS No.2 in my books, but I would choose Subway above all the other places on the list as my favourite.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

MOS Burger

MOS Burger is anything but fast.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

There are people of all ages including Children who go to McDonalds. They should NOT be exposed to Cigarette Smoke. The Law needs to Change.

Children should not be exposed to the crap food and drinks they sell, anyway. Then I never saw anyone smoking in macdo except in the smoking room. So if you went inside a smoking place, you are not entitled to complain.

But Udon and Ramen are Japanese

But the coffee places like Doutor and the bread places like Bide France are pretending to not be Japanese.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

2 – Mister Donut (45%)

They must have interviewed people not living in Tokyo because there are virtually no stores anymore in Tokyo, they are all in the burbs and the malls they have out there.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

A guy walked into a Fast food restaurant and ordered his meal, the staff took his order and requested him to find a seat while the food is being prepared....

This guy found a nice seat at the corner of the restaurant waiting patiently and after 20 minutes, he still didn't get his meals....so he went to the counter and asked when will his meal be served, the lady responded, "Please wait a moment sir, we are still preparing, won't be long".....

Wasn't very happy, he turned around and pointed to an advertisement on the wall and asked the staff to read it out loud, "please read it out loud what does this mean"

So the lady read loudly "FAST Food Restaurant!!!"

Then the man replied "Where is my FAST food then?"

Got it? Enjoy your FAST food, every1!

1 ( +3 / -2 )

They must have interviewed people not living in Tokyo because there are virtually no stores anymore in Tokyo, they are all in the burbs and the malls they have out there.

There are at least 18 in the Tokyo area according to the company themselves.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

iskysong: the 'guy' who went into the fast-food restaurant probably had his order screwed up by the kids working there and then it had to be done again. Or the place was just too busy. In my experience in Japan, without complaining any shop that takes too long will give you some kind of discount coupon for the next time, or some other 'service', and will apologize profusely. I HAVE complained, I think, a total number of three times. One was when I went to a McD's just before closing time, they took my order and my money, then told after ten minutes me they couldn't make the food because the grills were off (it was two kids working by that time, and having worked in a restaurant I know they decided to clean up early). I got my money back, of course, but I was pretty miffed. The second time was because on certain days I have only a 30-minute lunch break and despite ordering a delivery well in advance and asking them to deliver shortly before my break started, they delivered it AFTER my break was done. I know they were busy and couldn't leave the shop or had other deliveries, but still. The third was when I ordered a pizza and it came 40 minutes later than they said it would take, and when I opened the box what I found was a complete mess, including gravel. Turns out the kid delivering the pizza had a slight slip on the bike, and when I heard that I felt horrible not only for complaining, but that the kid bothered to show up at all. And despite that they gave me a freebie.

Yeah, some places called 'fast food' are anything but fast, but I think really it boils down to semantics -- 'fast food' really just means 'junk food'. Some chains try to do a little better improve the quality and that takes more time.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

udon & soba are fast foods & much healthier as well. But i have heard mos burger uses all organic .

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Is there a worthy substitute for In-N-Out Burger in Japan?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

It is good to see Freshness Burger on the list, but it is still surprising that it is not more popular. It is easily the best western style fast food in Tokyo. The "Classic WW Burger" was always the item of choice for me. In California, In-N-Out would be recommended.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

definition of fast food is I believe unfortunately tied to Western burger, and I guess dessert, -style places.

Otherwise Donburi places like Yoshinoya, sukiya, and the curry ones and big ramen chains, like Gyoza no Osho, would be up there, at least a couple of them.

For me, MosBurger, Burger KIng, and donburi Sukiya shop are the best.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I walked into a Mos Burger a month ago. Placed my order. Went to find a seat. It was a hot day so I wiped off my face with my towel and sat down. Oped my iphone for a read, and my food was ready. Boy! That was fast. The worst burger I've ever had in my life. Obviously, MOS has changed their policy, and thay are not cooked to order or it was the managers decision. Still, I'll never go back.

Always wondered where KFC chickens come from, glad to hear they're local.

Sitting at a San Fransico hotel right now. Our flight got canceled. I thought I'd finally be able to get a nice burger. It was pre-cooked, frozen, and microwaved. Still, better than any burger I can get in Japan. lol But I don't live in the 3 major cities for that matter.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Krispy Kreme and Mr. Donut is sooo great! Krispy Kreme is so delicious (of course totally unhealthy) and yummy. We don't have donut-based chains where I live, so experiencing these when I was in Tokyo was really enjoyable.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

WTF, where's the tako-yaki?!

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Mos Burger by far is the best if you don't mind waiting for freshness which I don't even when I only have 30 minutes for lunch.

Timmy's coffee is crap and why anyone would think it's good says a lot about what they know about coffee. The only reason people even talk about Timmy's coffee is so they can feel cool saying 'double double'. It cheap priced so maybe that's why it popular but it's gross. Since they started freezing the dough for the doughnuts, the flavour and texture of their doughnuts has suffered but Timmy's is still the best for doughnuts in Canada.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

In Japan, I would have to say Subway! Everything else, pretty much sucks for the most part. Miki-D's make THE best fries though.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

this article reads like a brochure for the association of fast food restaurants

2 ( +3 / -1 )

smithinjapan - I see Mc Donalds slowly sinking into the abyss. Just to correct you on a few points - there are far more BK restaurants than you mention and far less Mc Donald’s restaurants as well. You may have been caught up in the excitement of writing your comments - happens to all of us.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

From the list, I only do not have the chance to eat in Subway´s and Krispy Kreme in 2005, from the others my two favorites where Lotteria and Freshness Burger, indeed, I had a Freshness close to my home in Kanazawa and I really enjoyed to eat there, the only problem against McDonalds was the price, but in the other way, I can relax and enjoy a hamburger and a trendy coffee while reading magazines for free... beat that Ronald!

0 ( +0 / -0 )


We don't have ANY "BK or Wendy's" in Kyushu. As to why, I have no idea.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I miss mos burger

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It's been mentioned a couple of times, but what about Ramen?

That's a fast food, isn't it?

What about Yoshinoya? Or Coco Curry? Or soba standups on stations?

What about Chinese restaurants? The original fast food?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I see Mc Donalds slowly sinking into the abyss.

Most McDonald's in my area are constantly packed even causing traffic jams.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Matsuya and Wendy's for me

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Wendy's quality is just unmatched when it comes to a burger. Not my absolute favorite, but still better than Miki-D's! Crispy bacon, can't beat that!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Serious lack of fast food for review, where is the sushi and curry and rice bowls. Softbrain needs to harden up.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

To everyone complaining about microwaves and frozen stuff: technology plays a big part in every eating establishment now, be it cheap Mc, Staba or a 5star French restaurant. Many places will even use a combination of these, like first warming it up in the microwave and than put it on the grill for finishing etc. And don't try to compare to your appliances at home, esp dry-freezing or vacuum-packing and than heating up in temperature-controlled water. It's rather the unprofessional use of these technologies that leads to soggy meals.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I like Mister Donut best.Yeah!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )


It's the microwaved bread I can't stand.

They don't use microwaves at Ramen shops - or at least not the ones I go to.

Not ANYWHERE, surely.

Ramen/soba is the best Japanese fast food for me.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The results read to me like it was a phone robot survey where you just listen and press buttons and no one could be bothered listening to more than a few options and McD was always in the top 3. I live in a town of 40,000 and there is one each of McDonalds/Mos/lotteria and none of the others on this list. Folk have plenty of other options and those shops are always busy.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This survey is irrelevant without considering chain donburi places like Sukiya and Matsuya.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I think it's supposed to be a survey on western style fast food chains rather than Japanese style ones. Anyway it's pretty difficult to differentiate between what is fast food and what isn't. What about take out pizza chains for instance?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

McDonald’s is considered as the top fast food growing restaurent.. easymandi

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Worldwide it is the largest burger chains. At least better for fast food in Japan or most of the other burger places...from the top 8 choices. In the states, totally different ball game.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Sukiya is by far my fave.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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