Four types of stores you should know how to use in Japan

There are lots of useful little stores in Japan, but did you know that Japanese people use them all for different purposes?

How do we Japanese use the multitude of stores in our country?

Today, we’ll be looking at the uses for the drugstores, 100 yen stores, and 300 yen stores, that are so essential in our day to day lives!

We’ll also tell you when the best time to visit the supermarkets is!

① If you want to buy pharmaceuticals and seasonal healthcare products for cheap, look no further than the drug store

② I don’t know where to buy the things I want… Try the 100 yen store!

③ Cheap but stylish goods from the 300 yen store

④ It’s not where but when that’s important if you’re planning a trip to the supermarket!

What does it mean: “the when is more important than the where” for supermarkets?

Supermarkets are a place where all travelers should go.

If you’re lucky enough to have accommodation with a kitchen, buying Japanese ingredients from the store and preparing something yourself is a must-do.

You may be tempted to dine out and eat gyudon and ramen every night, but that adds up and it’s not exactly healthy for you, so give the supermarket a go!

They’re usually open from 9:00–20:00.

You can find seasonal produce from all over Japan

Supermarkets are great for people who don’t cook for themselves.

Japanese supermarkets have side dish corners where you can find bento boxes, freshly-fried croquettes, tempura, fried chicken, etc.

They even have ready-to-eat sushi and sashimi available.

Cheaper and more convenient than restaurants, the closer it gets to closing time, the lower the prices get with savings of up to half price, which is perfect if you’re after a late dinner or late-night snack.

So next time you decide to buy a bento, why don’t you try popping in the supermarket before you go to a convenience store?

Convenience stores are open 24-7, which is part of what makes prices a little higher. That’s why we recommend trying the supermarket first.

Drugstores – The cheap pharmaceutical and health care goods heaven

Japanese drugstores can be confusing to international visitors, so I’ll try to explain as best I can…

In Japan, we have drugstores and pharmacies. Pharmacies fill prescriptions received from a clinic.

In general, people without prescriptions cannot enter pharmacies in Japan.

Drugstores, on the other hand, sell basic medicines that don’t need a prescription, supplements, beauty goods, etc. (Although lately there are more and more drugstores where you can fill prescriptions too.)

Drugstores have become places that are essential to our daily lives in Japan and we often use them even if we don’t need to buy any medical goods.

For example, Japan is a country with four distinct seasons in which the temperature and scenery vary dramatically, so you can come to drugstores to buy seasonal self-care items too.

In spring you can buy masks to protect you from pollen, in summer you can buy sunscreen, insect repellent, and items to protect against heatstroke.

In fall you can buy items to combat colds and dry air, and in the winter you can buy hand warmers.

Drugstores also sell makeup, supplements, home essentials like shampoo and toilet paper, and even sweets and instant foods for discount prices.

There are also some drugstores that are similar to supermarkets and sell fresh produce too, meaning that you can buy everything you need in one place without having to go to the grocery store. Pretty useful, right?

If you’re unlucky enough to get sick during your travels or you want to make sure that you don’t catch a cold, the self-care items available at drugstores will definitely come in handy!

When in trouble, it’s off to the 100 yen store

Next up is the 100 yen store. These are refered to as “hyakkin” in Japan (which derives from hyakuen kinitsu de kaeru or “Everything is on sale for 100 yen.”) Japanese 100 yen stores are already pretty well known overseas, so there might not be so much need to introduce them, but… if you need anything, the 100 yen store is the place to head first.

One major 100 yen store chain, Daiso, has over 3,000 stores nationwide and 2,000 stores abroad.

They handle approx. 70,000 items including everything from sweets, party goods, cleaning supplies, and stationery to food, gloves and socks, and gardening tools.

70,000 products! What else could you possibly need?!

So if there’s anything that you require, make a trip to the 100 yen store first.

I always go there for disposable things like paper plates and cups to use at house parties and picnics, as well as cleaning sponges, etc.

Plus, if you suddenly find yourself needing something while you’re out or traveling, you can always visit a 100 yen store to pick up some slippers/sandals or even a towel.

There are lots of different chains of 100 yen stores in Japan. This store, Seria, stocks items that are popular on social media.

Many of their products are designed so well that they don’t even look like they should only be 100 yen and lots of people think the cost performance of these items is really good.

You can also pick up craft goods, like handicraft materials and accessories, here too.

Stylish shopping for low prices at the 300 yen store

If you want something a little better quality than you’d find at the 100 yen store that looks fashionable and sells at a reasonable price, the 300 yen store is for you.

This store sells everything from home trinkets, mainly kitchen goods and accessories, to children’s products.

Their earrings are popular among women and often featured on TV and social media.

The 300 yen store is the answer when you want to find stylish bargains and small gifts.

Today we showed you what to use the different types of stores in Japan.

If you want food and side dishes then go to the supermarket, the drugstore is your best bet for medicine and health goods, the 100 yen store is where you’ll find everything that you’re looking for and the 300 yen store is the place for shopping for stylish little gifts.

We hope that you check these stores out for yourself during your travels!

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