Tax and tip are always included in Japanese restaurants and bars. The price on the menu is the price on the check.
Wait staff don’t push drinks or food. You don’t buy more than you want. Staff is trained to serve, and not sell. No prizes for selling more.
Because companies don’t typically use expense accounts to take out customers, prices are lower. No bio-tech sales dinners that convince the chef to increase cost to ordinary customers.
Because there is fierce competition between restaurants, prices are lower. There are literally dozens of first-rate places in the cities.
Because many Japanese, especially under age forty-five, eat meals out four or five times a week, prices are low.
Beer tends to be about $6, sake/wine about $5, cocktails about $12.
Because “celebrity” chefs are rare in Japan, restaurants focus on the ingredients, which means that many places serve the same food, which means that prices tend to reflect the wholesale price of that food.
Seasonality in food in Japan means that food bought in season costs less than food bought out of season.
Plates are often shared: You spend less when you eat a series of small dishes.
Dining out is part of the day to day culture; a range of great places exists for little money. You can have a great French meal for $50 per person, a great Italian meal for $35 per person, and any number of Japanese meals for the same or less.