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A Complete Guide to Konbini - Japanese Convenience Stores

04:24 01/15/2024

Japan is famous not only for its kind people, natural beauty, and rich culture, but also for its convenience in everyday life. One prime example of this is the large number of convenience stores, also commonly known as Konbini in Japanese.

These stores have a wide range of quality products available at a reasonable price, and thus have become an indispensable part of the Japanese’s lives. In recent years, konbini has also become a must-visit location on the checklist of many tourists to Japan. 


What’s so special about these convenience stores? In this article, GoEMON will guide you through all the basic information about convenience stores in Japan, as well as recommendations on what to buy there! 


1. Services available at convenience stores:

Aside from selling normal daily products, there are also a plethora of other services available at Japanese convenience stores, such as: 

  • Separate dine-in spaces at some stores
  • ATM services: Withdraw and transfer money using ATM(s) located inside the store
  • Pay for bills: from gas, water, and electricity to online shopping, test fees, and many more
  • Receives parcels on your behalf (which you can come pick up later) and sends packages for you 
  • Buy tickets for concerts, theme parks, etc
  • Free wifi only available at some stores)
  • Toilet (which is usually pretty clean)
  • Open 24/7, including holidays
  • Colored printers and copiers available 


2. Items available at convenience stores: 

True to its name, Japanese convenience stores are truly convenient. You can literally find everything here, from food such as ready-made meals, frozen products, desserts, drinks, and pastries, to daily necessities such as toothbrushes, toothpaste, cosmetics, medicine, and even clothing as well! These items are of pretty good quality and at very reasonable price ranges (although undeniably a little more expensive than the ones available at stores and supermarkets that are not available 24/7).  


3. Some of the most common convenience store chains in Japan and their most famous products

  • 7-Eleven: 

With over 20,000 stores available all across the country, 7-Eleven can be regarded as the most common and famous convenience store chain in Japan. Though originated as a US-born company, it was Japan that made the 7-Eleven known worldwide as a convenience store chain. It was originally a store which operated from 7 AM to 11 PM, hence the same 7-Eleven. 


7-Eleven is undeniably one of the most reputable convenience store chains in Japan. As of present, the convenience store chain is available in 15 countries across the world. 


7-Eleven provides a wide variety of services and products, covering various aspects of our daily lives. The place is truly convenient, as you can practically find everything here. Aside from general goods, 7-Eleven also has its own line of product called “Seven Premium.”  



Additionally, 7-Eleven also specializes in selling frozen products and spices, at prices that are not too expensive compared to that of large supermarkets in Japan. 

  • Lawson:

Lawson is known for its eye-catching, aesthetically pleasing, and unique product packaging. Many of the products sold here are catered to those who are on diets or gym enthusiasts. Therefore, if you are one of the following or just simply are a health-conscious person, then Lawson would be the place to go to. 

As for foods, the chain is also well-known for its own brand of sweets called “Uchi Cafe SWEETS.” One of Lawson’s signature and most loved desserts is the Premium Rolled Cake. At 143 yen, the quality of this cream-filled sponge cake is so good that it is hard to believe that it’s from a convenience store. 


Another one of Lawson’s most loved products is the fried chicken balls Karaage-kun. The chicken is in bite-sized shapes and available in a wide variety of different flavors, from the basic ones such as original, spicy, and cheese flavors to seasonal ones like lemon, bacon, tartare sauce, and so on. With this many flavors, everyone is sure to find one that suits their taste, as well as keeps customers entertained and curious while waiting for new flavor releases. 

  • Family Mart:

Family Mart is a chain that originated in Japan, different from 7-Eleven Lawson. As of present, the chain has up to 16,000 stores located in Japan only. Just like the name itself, Family Mart’s motto is to create a trusting and close relationship with its customers, just like that of a family. 


When it comes to Family Mart, their most famous product is their boneless fried chicken FamiChiki. Sold at 158 yen, the flavorful, tender, and crunchy fried chicken is so famous to the point that many people come here just specifically to get the FamiChiki. Since Japanese people often eat fried chicken at Christmas, Family Mart’s Chicken is sold out specifically early during this holiday. 

  • MINISTOP: 

In comparison with the three previously mentioned convenience store chains, MINISTOP has the least number of stores at roughly 2000. This is because these stores are mostly only located along highways and main roads where there is heavy traffic. 


As MINISTOP is under operation by AEON, most of its products are, of course, from AEON. This is also another reason why its prices are generally cheaper than those of other convenience store chains. 


MINISTOP is also famous for its desserts, especially sundaes, ice cream cones, and parfaits. What makes it special is that these sweets are not pre-made products but freshly made, which puts the taste and quality on a completely different level than those found in other convenience store chains. 


In the above article, GoEMON has introduced to you some of the most famous convenience store chains in Japan, and their signature products. 


Have you been to all 4 of these convenience stores? Which one is your favorite? Let us know in the comments! 


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