Convenience Store (also known as Konbini) can be found all over Japan. In major cities it operates 24 hours, all year around. A wide range of products from food to everyday goods are sold at the konbini. They also offer ATM services, so on occasions when you don't have much cash on you, this is the most convenient place to go to withdraw money. We will be introducing the most well known convenience stores in Japan and its characteristics in this article.
Originated in America, 7-Eleven is now the largest konbini chain in Japan. From "Seven Premium", 7-Eleven's own private brand that offers dry groceries, seasoning, luxury items, cup noodles and beverages, to the piping hot oden that is sold at the shop front, all of the food product sold has a reputable taste. The "Seven Cafe", a self-service coffee machine at the store to make your own cup of coffee, as well as the desserts to match your cup of coffee, the "Seven Cafe Donuts", is also recommendable.
Stores which has a "TAX FREE" sign at the entrance handles duty-free. Please refer to the following PDF for more details.
2. Family Mart
Family Mart puts effort into its own private brand, aiming to become a more convenient and accesible konbini. The "Fami-Chiki "(170 JPY including tax), the fried chicken that is sold near the cash register, is one of the most popular product that has a lot of fans all over Japan. Family Mart also offers the self-service coffee machine "Famima-Cafe", especially a sherbet drink known as the "Frappe" is popular. Matcha flavored is also available, making it popular amongst tourists too. As Family Mart is in partnership with MUJI, you are also able to buy their stationeries and daily necessities at Family Mart. Currently, 4 stores (Tokyo, Yokohama, 2nd and 4th floor Kansai Airport ) handles duty-free. For more information, please refer to the Official Homepage.
Lawson is the first konbini to open its branch in all of the prefectures of Japan. Along with the normal stores, they also have "Natural Lawson", that sells food products for those who are health and beauty conscious, as well and "Lawson Store 100", that sells vegetables and fresh products, drawing support from customers who are conscious of their health. Their original sweets brand "Uchi Cafe Sweets" has a very good cost performance, and is reputed to taste good. Especially the "Premium Roll Cake"(150JPY/inc. tax) is the most famous sweets of the brand. Other than that, the "Karaage-kun", their fried chicken which has an eye-catching mascot prides itself with a firmly-rooted popularity. Currently, 5 stores all over the country (2 in Tokyo, 1 each in Narita, Kochi, Sapporo) handles duty-free. For more information please refer to the Official Homepage.
Almost all of its store has an eat-in area, allowing you to eat ice-cream, parfait, hot dog, etc. that you bought in the store right away. The foods sold here are highly reputable for being delicious, and its new seasonal menu is highly talked about every time it is released. And the 'Halo-halo', shaved ice eaten like a parfait that is sold during the summer season, is very popular with a huge number of fans. As there is an eat-in space, many customers to visit the store like they use a café.
5. Daily Yamazaki
Daily Yamazaki is easily recognized with its red signboard with a yellow "D". As it is operated by a bakery, they are very particular about their bread. There are stores that bake the bread there, enabling you to enjoy freshly baked bread. They sell different types of breads from sweet bun, such as the Melon-pan (a sweet bun that is shaped like a melon) and Anpan (Red Bean Bun), to savory bread products such as hot dogs and pizza. You are able to eat authentic bread, that are not available in a normal konbini. The number of stores they have is small compared to other konbinis, but if you happen to pass by one, please do give their freshly baked bread a try.
6. Circle K Sunkus
Circle K Sunkus is centered in Aichi, with more that half of their stores in the Chubu region. Its range of side dishes and cut vegetables has a huge selection, and with a number of dishes cooked in the store itself, it is the perfect konbini to go to if you're feeling a little hungry. "Cherie Dolce" is the konbini's own sweets brand, selling cream puffs, éclairs, puddings as well as other sweets-in-cup products. They also sell Japanese sweets such as the dango (sweet dumplings) and mizu-youkan (soft azuki bean jelly), so this is a highly recommended place to enjoy Japanese sweets easily.
Even though all of the different stores introduced are referred to as 'Convenience Stores', its features differ store by store. As the food and beverages change frequently, you should consider buying it on the spot when you find something that grabs your interest.
*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.
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