Celebrate the Differences (Part 1): What’s a Japanese Convenience Store Like?

By Donald Ash | Articles

Having a chance to visit the U.S., even though it was just a week, really made me think about how different my life is here in Japan.  Different doesn’t necessarily mean better or worse…just different.  This spawned the idea to create an article series showing some of the differences between being in Japan and being in the US:

All convenience stores are not created equal.  In Japan I find that convenience stores are actually…convenient.  Prime example, if I want to pay any of those recurring bills like gas, water, electricity, etc. I can simply march into any convenience, put my bill on the counter and have my bill paid within mere minutes.  As far as food goes, you can still buy snacks and meals just like you could at any convenience store in the U.S., albeit a more limited, somewhat healthier selection.   The major convenience stores near my apartment are are 7Eleven (go figure), Family Mart, and Lawson’s.  Sunkus and am/pm are other popular convenience store chains.  I want to just give you a brief look at the ones near me, just to give you an idea of what to expect if you ever visit one.  They each have a slightly different feel, but in general, they are all very useful.  Please enjoy…

FAMILY MART- I don’t know why, but this convenience store is my personal favorite.  It was actually the first convenience store I used in Japan.  One of the clerks really went out of his way to help me get a calling card to call my family when I arrived.

7ELEVEN- I use this convenience store most often, as it is the closest to my apartment (about a 4-minute walk).  This is a popular convenience store chain in the U.S. as well.  I think Family Mart is a slightly cleaner, better-run store, but overall this is a good store as well.

LAWSON’S- I don’t go to Lawson’s so often anymore, since the one next to my job closed down.  Don’t quote me on this, because it has been a while, but I remember Lawson’s having the best food selection of the convenience stores in the area.

Donald Ash


About the Author

Donald Ash is an Atlanta, Georgia-born, American expat who has been living in a Japanese time warp for the last eleven years. While in that time warp, he discovered that he absolutely loves writing, blogging, and sharing. Donald is the creator of thejapanguy.com blog. Wanna know more about this guy? Check out his "What's Your Story" page.

  • Kayla says:

    I heard that it’s really hard to find good quality antiperspirant or deodorant in Japan? Is this true? While you were scanning around the cosmetics aisles, I was scoping out for that sort of thing and didn’t see any. =/

    • Donald Ash says:

      ABSOLUTELY TRUE! Now, they do have antiperspirant of course, but the couple that I’ve tried, I have had to reapply several times throughout the day. They work, but they are far weaker than the ones I’ve used in the U.S.. When I visited home last time, I stocked up.

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