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, specializing in serving gyudon (rice bowl with beef). It is the second largest chain of its kind in 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 dine inside the establishment. It also offers takeout food, except for the teishokus, and in some branches there is the service of drive Thru. Soba and tempura are also served in some units.

Yoshinoya - yoshinoya: the Japanese fast food chain


Yoshinoya is very old, founded in 1899 with headquarters 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. In 1958, in order to make more profit, fast-food chains switched to stand-alone restaurants for a joint-stock company. The store's first franchise was opened in Shinsaibashi, in 1968. In 1975, the first American fast-food chain opened was Yoshinoya, in Colorado.

Yoshinoya - yoshinoya: the Japanese fast food chain

The 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 idea of the bull's horn is related to the initial letter of Yoshinoya's English name, “Y”. The rope around the horn represents one in Japanese sumo wrestling, "Yokozuna" (equivalent to "winner"), representing the quality of food served in Yoshinoya. The rope is made up of 27 grains of rice. The logo is intended to suggest 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 because of cases of mad cow disease. And at that time there wasn't as much variation of dishes as there is currently. At that time, they had to replace the gyudon dish, which was the restaurant's flagship, 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, extending through its then 1,040 stores nationwide through March 20, 2008.

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


Services offered

Japan's Yoshinoya restaurants often serve complimentary green tea and 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 (combined dish in Japanese) and side dishes for gyudon . It also serves breakfast 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.
  • Oshink: 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 oshink.
  • 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?