Yoshinoya: The Japanese fast food chain

Do you love fast food? And Japanese fast food? Yoshinoya (𠮷野家) is a Japanese fast-food restaurant chain that specializes in serving gyudon (bowl of rice with beef). It is the second largest chain of its kind in terms of number of stores in Japan. It also has branches in China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Philippines, Singapore, Malaysia and the United States.

In Japan, it is also known as “Yoshi-Gyu” (Japanese abbreviation of “yoshinoya no gyudon“, which means “gyudon of Yoshinoya”). The restaurant's motto is: “Tasty, cheap and fast”. Most Yoshinoya restaurants are open 24 hours a day and 365 days a year. Establishments are located at strategic points such as near train stations or on highways.

Inside a Yoshinoya restaurant, there are counters and tables, where they are displayed free of charge. beni-shoga, shichimi and shoyu for those who eat at the establishment. It also offers takeaway food, except for teishokus, and in some branches there is the service of drive Thru. In some units are served soba noodles and Tempura too.

Yoshinoya - yoshinoya: the Japanese fast food chain

Yoshinoya's History

Yoshinoya is very old, founded in 1899 based in Tokyo at the Nihonbashi fish market, its founder is Eikichi Matsuda. Its name derives from Yoshino (吉野), the birthplace of its founder, together with Ya (家) which means “home” in Japanese. On September 1, 1923, the market fell victim to the earthquake called the Great Kantō earthquake. Then, three years later Yoshinoya moved to Tokyo's new fish market, Tsukiji.

The chain opened its first 24-hour store in 1952. As early as 1958, in order to make more profit, fast-food chains switched from stand-alone restaurants to joint stock companies. The first franchise store was opened in Shinsaibashi, in 1968. In 1975, the first chain of fast food American open was Yoshinoya, Colorado.

Yoshinoya - yoshinoya: the Japanese fast food chain

String Fixer explained more details about the Yoshinoya logo. The image resembles a bull's horn and was invented by the founder of Yoshinoya. The bull's horn idea is related to the initial letter of Yoshinoya's English name, "Y". The rope around the horn represents a fight of japanese sumo.

The string name “Yokozuna” (equivalent to “winner”), represents the quality of food served at Yoshinoya. The rope is made up of 27 grains of rice, only the best sumo wrestlers receive it. The logo suggests that Yoshinoya sells the "best meat bowls". 

Most of the meat in Japan comes from the United States, but in 2003 there was a ban on beef imports due to cases of the disease of the mad cow. At that time there was not as much variation of dishes as there is now. At that time, they had to replace the gyudon dish, which was the restaurant's main dish, with other foods.

That's when the “butadon” (“Mas a” means pig and “don” bowl), which used pork instead of beef, and introduced the karé as one of the main dishes. As time went by, different dishes emerged.

Yoshinoya - yoshinoya: the Japanese fast food chain

In December 2005, Japan agreed to remove the ban on beef imports from the United States. The following year, imports stopped again because inspectors found prohibited parts of cattle in a shipment from the United States. In June 2006, Japan lifted the import ban again, and on July 31, 2006, Yoshinoya republished the letter promising to resume meat bowl service in about two months. 

But it wasn't until December 1, 2006, that they started serving bowls of beef daily, albeit at limited times. and on March 17, 2008, Yoshinoya announced that it would resume 24-hour sales of the meat bowl, stretching across its then 1,040 stores nationwide until March 20, 2008.

Yoshinoya has a network of stores in Japan, the United States, Hong Kong, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan and Thailand.

Services offered at Yoshinoya

Yoshinoya restaurants in Japan often serve Green Tea and complimentary water. It also changes the volume of gyudon broth at the customer's request, at no extra cost. Tsuyu-daku: is a term used to ask you to increase your gyudon broth. Tsuyu-nuki: is a term used to ask you to reduce the gyudon broth.

At Yoshinoya, gyudon, kare, Teishoku (Japanese combo dish) and side dishes for the gyudon. It also serves morning dishes, called teishoku-wing (wing which means morning and Teishoku combined dish) from 5am to 10am.

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main dishes

  • Gyudon: can be chosen between 3 sizes: namimori (normal), mori (big and tokumori (especially big).
  • Gyu-Sara: it's just the meat with onion from the gyudon, without the rice. It can also be chosen from 3 sizes like the gyudon.
  • kare: rice covered in curry sauce. It can be added with meat with onion equal to the gyudon.
  • gyushake-teishokugyu-sara small, trout, rice, miso soup and small portion of oshinko.


  • Miso Soup: soy dough soup.
  • Kenchinjiru: soy soup containing edible roots, kon'nyaku, abura-age and chicken.
  • Tonjiru: Miso soup containing edible roots and pork.


  • Tamago: raw egg. Usually placed on top of gyudon, mixed and enjoyed together.
  • Hanjuku-Tamago: boiled egg rare. Tasted in the same way as raw egg.
  • Oshinkō: pickled vegetables.
  • Kimuchi: Korean-style pickled chard.

morning dishes

  • nattō: fermented soy. Usually placed over rice, which is mixed and tasted together.
  • Nori: crispy sheet made of seaweed.
  • Nattō teishokunattō, raw egg, nori, rice, miso soup and a small portion of oshinkō.
  • Yakisakana Teishoku: trout, nori, rice, miso soup and oshinko.
  • toku-wing teishoku (special morning teishoku): nattō, raw egg, trout, nori, rice, miso soup and oshinko.

Would you like to eat at this restaurant?

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