Why I Love the Japanese Fast Food Chain Matsuya

Aaron Gilbreath
7 min readFeb 26, 2020

Inexpensive beef bowls make good friends while traveling in Japan.

Classic beef gyudon. Photo by author

Matsuya is a 24-hour beef and rice bowl chain that has over a thousand stores across Japan. You pay at a ticketing machine, called a shokkenki or kenbaiki. The cook takes your ticket when you find a seat, and after setting a porcelain cup of hot tea in front of you, they deliver your food within minutes. Founded in…

Aaron Gilbreath

Essayist, Journalist, Burritoist. Longreads Editor. Writing: Harper’s, NYT, Slate, Paris Review, VQR, Oxford American, Kenyon Review. 3 nonfiction books.