When traveling overseas, the last place one might think about eating at is McDonald’s. Sure, they have burgers, nuggets and fries like in the United States, but there are quite a few notable differences.

The restaurant

Unlike the restaurants in the United States, the ones in Kyoto don’t have drive-thrus. In addition, most people opt to eat their meals in-store rather than takeaway.

Depending on the restaurant, when walking through the door, there are two ways to order. One: order at the counter, and two: order on a touch screen (this one is a good option since it offers the menu in English). Once finished, numbers for orders will be called unless someone chooses delivery to the table.

Let’s talk about the toys because McDonald’s in Japan does them a little differently. First of all, customers get the choice if they want a toy. This is cool because let’s be honest, they get thrown away most of the time. Second, if someone gets a toy they don’t want, there is a toy recycle bin. The toys put in the recycle bin eventually are used to make the trays that carry the food and drinks.

The food

McDonald’s in Japan has so many different options compared to the U.S. that it spans from drinks, meals, sides, sauces and desserts. Some important notes are that “combos” are called “sets,” chicken nugget sets can only be purchased as happy meals, and drink sizes are much smaller. Let’s check out the items sold in Japan that are different from America:


  • Fanta grape
  • Fanta melon
  • Qoo white grape
  • Sokenbicha
  • Earl grey iced tea (plain, lemon or milk)
  • Yasaiseikatsu100


  • Teriyaki burger
  • Teriyaki chicken filet-o sandwich
  • Shrimp filet-o sandwich
  • Egg cheeseburger
  • Roasted sesame sauce ebi filet-o sandwich
  • Chicken black pepper sandwich
  • Soy sauce burger


  • Salad (sesame or mustard dressing)
  • Edamame and corn
  • Yogurt
  • Shaka-Chicki (plain, red pepper or cheddar cheese)


  • Mustard sauce (different than the normal U.S. mustard)
  • Sour cream lemon
  • Garlic habanero


  • Hokkaido yubari melon shake
  • Peach smoothie
  • Lemon cheese pie
  • Ice cream served in a waffle cone
  • McFloats (grape, melon, coke and coffee)
  • Petit pancakes
  • Macrons (raspberry, chocolate and vanilla

Was it good?

The verdict is in, and McDonald’s in Japan is a hit. One customer who is a pescatarian was concerned that there would be limited options but found the shrimp filet-o sandwich.

“I loved it!” he said. “For the first time I found myself wanting to go back to McDonald’s.” When traveling to Japan, stop by McDonald’s and try it out because it is a whole new experience.

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