Japanese Convenience Stores

Selling almost everything you need 24 hours a day

By Elena Lisina    - 3 min read

When I visited Japan for the first time and needed some supplies quickly, I naturally felt a bit lost as to where to get them from. A Japanese friend of mine advised me to go to a ‘combini’ store, as Japanese call convenience stores. Famous stores include Family Mart, 7-Eleven, Lawson though there are numerous smaller ones. Combini are everywhere in Japan.

For instance, I needed a few things like a finger bandage, a memory card for my camera, some small scissors, a comb, stamps and post cards and a few other bits and pieces. I bought all of these things from a Family Mart combini next door to my hotel. When I bought them, I noticed hygiene products, perfumes and cosmetics, socks, plastic dishes, batteries, stationery and more. While the variety for each item wasn't large, they were there, just in case.

Products from a convenience store
Products from a convenience store

Combini stores are stocked full of food and drink and are great places for breakfast or lunch while on a trip. Some foods will need a little preparation like cup ramen or soba. Staff can heat your lunch boxes for you but you'll also find ready to eat foods like onigiri rice balls made with different fillings, salads and sushi sets, breads, dairy products, desserts, crisps and so on. A hot food selection with croquettes, corn dogs, Chinese-style steamed buns, yakitori, oden hot pot, and more is also available. Plastic cutlery, chopsticks and paper napkins are provided. Very useful when you are too tired to dine in a restaurant and just want to relax in your hotel room.

Dinner set
Dinner set

Combini shops offer a variety of drinks including soft drinks, beer and so on. I find combini drinks to be better value than vending machine ones so I always buy a bottle of water or green tea in the morning and take it with me. You can also post mail from a combini, buy newspapers and magazines, purchase concert or event tickets and on rainy days, even cheap plastic umbrellas.

Truly, Japanese convenience stores are useful on trips!

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Elena Lisina

Elena Lisina @shiroi.tenshi

I love Japan very much! I like small towns of Japan where I can watch people doing their business and talk to them carefully. They're always friendly. I like Japanese gardens where I can just sit or walk and take my time. Also I like Shinto Jinja as being there I feel in peace. I like to watch sunsets and then to dine in some small local places. I like to soak into onsen after a long day of wandering. I like Japanese crafts very much as all items are made with great taste and skill. Nihon wo daisuki desuyo! My photos from Japan I also place here: https://gurushots.com/f10384/photos Matane!

Join the discussion

Sleiman Azizi a week ago
One of my first meals in Japan was the ubiquitous onigiri rice ball. They were only 80 yen in those days and I picked up 10 of them for 'dinner.' Good times, lol
Elena Lisina Author a week ago
Ten?!!! Well done! ))) I like onigiri and always pick tem, but just 2 pieces. :P
Kim B a week ago
I love Japan's convenience stores! They really are a one-stop-shop for just about anything you require.
Kim B a week ago
Yes! Great customer service is another thing I love about Japan!