Japanese Convenience Stores
Japanese convenience stores are one of the truly great Japanese institutions. The operative word is convenient. Called “konbini” in Japanese, these convenience stores are located all over Japan and sell a stunning array of food, drinks, snacks, bento, and every other item that you didn’t know you need until you find it at the konbini.
Overview of Japanese Konbini
Japanese konbini are an essential part of modern Japanese culture. In a society where the majority of the people commute by train and do a lot of walking in between, it isn’t practical to get in a car and drive to the local grocery for odds and ends. Enter the Japanese konbini. These stores are located near every train station and in every residential neighborhood and business district. They are the perfect one-stop shop for every on-the-fly shopping need, hunger craving, and thirst quench.
There are some 40,000 convenience stores throughout Japan. Major convenience store chains in Japan include Lawson, 7-Eleven, Family Mart, Circle K Sunkus, Daily Yamazaki am pm, and many others. In addition to consumables and sundries, services available at Japan’s convenience stores include ATM machines, copiers, bill payment, package delivery, and ticket reservations. 7-Eleven is actually a registered bank that is open 24/7 offering all basic banking needs.
Items Found in Japanese Convenience Stores
So what items can you find in Japan’s convenience stores? The real question is what CAN’T you find? Let’s start with drinks. Every konbini sells a mind-boggling selection of beverages, including colas and sports drinks:
An unbelievable assortment of bottled teas:
Juices and coffee beverages:
Japanese bento (boxed meals):
Unique sandwiches (egg and fruit sandwiches!):
A nice selection of salads:
On-the-run Japanese snacks like onigiri rice balls:
And even hot foods like Japanese oden, a Japanese winter treat!:
We’ve only just scratched the surface of all you can find at a Japanese konbini. During your time in Japan, you’ll learn to appreciated Japanese convenience stores because you’ll find yourself returning to them again and again!