The Japanese Konbini (convenience store) is a one-stop-shop for all your needs. You can find them easily on every block and corner of Japanese streets. There will likely be a konbini within your sight no matter where you go. For Japanese people and travelers, these konbini are like a hero in shining armor to save them from hunger in the dead of night when everything is closed.
Due to long working hours, short break times, and fast-paced modern life, especially in Osaka, Tokyo, and Kyoto, convenience stores are of the utmost importance in Japan. Japanese konbini makes life a bit easier with its services like bill payments, tickets, microwave facilities, ATMs, printing services, and Wi-Fi for everyone.
Even if you are in Japan for a short visit, the ease of access will make you fall in love with a Japanese convenience store.
Let’s dive in to see what other perks make these convenience stores different from the rest of other marts in the world.
1. All Your Needs At One Place
Approximately 56,000 convenience stores across Japan are used for purchasing food and drinks. Even with the store’s partial space, the variety of products is diverse.
Whether you find yourself awakened because of the grumbling stomach in the middle of night or have a sudden craving for sweet or savory items, or just wanted to eat some rice balls (onigiri) for a quick breakfast, you will find it all at konbini. If you are searching for a hot snack such as fried chicken or fried potatoes, check them out on the fast-food deli section next to the register.
Japanese convenience stores also offer a diverse selection of bento/lunch boxes that you can heat inside the store. They also set tables by the window to let you eat food on the spot. This is a popular option for people looking for something quick and easy to eat. You can also find a range of refreshing cold drinks, canned drinks, and hot beverages here.
2. Enjoy The Novelties And Not Just Necessities
Japan has many seasonal and limited-time-only products. The line-up of snacks and drinks is in constant rotation, with new releases almost every week. Thanks to this rotation, konbini is always an exciting experience. People get to enjoy seasonal flavors from baked goods, chocolates, and snacks to drinks that are suddenly available in a new taste, whether that be matcha or mint chocolate.
3. At The Cashier
You will find fast food, cigarettes, and fresh coffee at the register. There are often microwaves and water kettles available as well, which you can use to heat food or prepare instant noodles. Some of the konbini also have eat-in areas to eat any purchased food.
4. Convenient Services Offered At Konbinis
Being more than just a shop to buy munchies, beverages, and daily supplies, what makes konbini truly useful is the myriad of other facilities they offer. One of the most useful ones for tourists is access to ATMs.
Other common services are photocopies, Wi-Fi, postal services, and the availability of restrooms. Some convenience stores also have ticket machines to purchase tickets for concerts, theaters, or amusement parks such as Tokyo Disneyland and Ghibli Museum.