Japanese Convenience Stores Part 1
Searching for a quick, easy way to one-stop shop during your vacation in Japan? Look no further than Japanese convenience stores. Known as konbinis, there are more than 50,000 located throughout the country. As a result, they’re not only convenient but very easy to find.
What can you buy at Japanese convenience stores? The answer is a little bit of everything. Food is a primary commodity, with everything from meals and snacks to sweets for sale. In fact, there is such a wide range of offerings it can be a bit overwhelming. However, at any location you’re sure to find several basic staples: sandwiches (sando), onigiri, bento, and candy. This wide selection means it is fairly common (and easy) to create a whole meal from Japanese convenience store products. The high quality levels ensure you’ll be satisfied, too.
Food isn’t all that’s offered at these convenience stores, though. You can also purchase hot and cold beverages such as soda, coffee, tea, and milk. Alcoholic beverages are available at many locations as well. If you need toiletry items or even cosmetics, Japanese convenience stores have you covered. These stores really carry it all!
photo by Steven-L-Johnson
There are three main franchises in Japan: 7-Eleven, FamilyMart, and Lawson. Each is famous for different reasons. (See below.)
- : As the largest Japanese convenience store, 7-Eleven boasts the best overall food. In addition, it’s the best store to stop at for ATMs.
- : Fried chicken is Lawson’s signature food item. However, their sandwiches and onigiri (rice balls) are also good.
- : Stop at FamilyMart for the best bread and pastry selections. The deep fried pork sandwiches are highly recommended, too!
Other convenience stores in Japan include NewDays (typically found in train stations) as well as Ministop, Circle K Sunkus, and Daily Yamazaki, which are popular in residential areas.