I was forced to update this old post as the pricing at QB House has changed. Due to a recent consumption tax increase, haircuts now cost 1080 Yen. My regular QB House has updated their ticket machine to accept coins. While the fumbling for correct change is a pain, the service is still quick and professional.
After several months in Tokyo, I tired of paying upwards of $50.00 per haircut. When I started feeling envious of my bald friends, I decided it was time to find a more economical solution.
A bit of research showed that the cheapest haircuts in Tokyo are to be found at QB House . The English language version of their website did not have a handy locator map. A bit more research (this time with a translator) showed the Japanese language version had a locator map. You can view the map page here (Japanese language only).
The process is pretty simple. Walk in, buy a ticket at the vending machine for 1000 Yen, and wait in line. When it is your turn, you take the next available barber. Sorry, no picking and choosing. I have not yet had a bad barber.
Since the shops are small, only clients are allowed inside, so don't bring the wife or kids. I also noted a sign that stated they reserve the right to refuse service if you don't speak Japanese. However, despite my linguistic limitations, I have never had a problem with getting served.
Once in the chair, the barber will ask how you want your hair cut. This is where it gets difficult. My barbers always ask how many centimeters to cut (note that when they ask how many centimeters, they mean how many centimeters to cut, not how many to leave). I usually go with two centimeters (about 3/4 inches, for the metrically challenged) for my twice monthly cut. You can use sign language to show how you want your sideburns cut.
Once your cut is complete, the barber will vacuum up loose hairs, hold up a mirror to show the back, and give you a free comb.
I am usually in and out in 20 to 25 minutes, including the waiting time.