Have you ever heard of DAISO? Daiso is home to some of Japan’s most intricately designed, high quality items. (As Donald pops his collar) It’s a store that’s designed exclusively for Japan’s creme de la creme. If you don’t reek of money, you won’t even be allowed in the front door…why else would I be shopping there?
Okay, absolutely none of that’s true. Even if I had money and there was a super-posh store like that, I’m about 99.99% sure that I wouldn’t be one of the patrons…it’s just not my style.
DAISO is completely the opposite high-end.
DAISO is to Japan kind of what the Dollar Store is to the United States. Often you hear of DAISO being referred to as the “Hyaku En Shop (１００円ショップ)” These stores are all over the place! I can immediately think of two different shops that are within a ten minute bike-ride from my apartment. I was in Hitachi over the weekend, which seemed to be quite the warehouse town with not a whole lot there…but about a two-minute walk from my hotel…guess what they did have? Yep, you guessed it…A DAISO!I don’t know if you frequent dollar stores in the U.S., or if perceptions have changed, but in Georgia (at least where I lived) dollar stores had a bad wrap. Cheap, low quality items, run down shops, and and poor customer service are what come to mind when I think of dollar stores that I’ve been to. I guess business couldn’t have been all that bad though, because these stores continue to get business, and new stores are sprouting up all the time. However, I noticed that in the U.S., it would be hard to find a mainstream mall with a dollar store inside (unless the mall itself were on the decline). It always seemed as though Dollar Stores were reserved for places where socioeconomic status wasn’t as high or in the struggling parts of town.
In Japan, the same stigma doesn’t exist. I have seen Daiso shops in major malls* and stand alone shops alike. The stores are well-kept, the staff is courteous and you can find some amazing deals and a varied selection of items and goods. Now, not everything you find in DAISO will be one-hundred yen, but there are quite a few items in the store that are.
*There is a DAISO at IIAS, near where I live. IIAS is the largest mall in the Kanto area
Seeing a DAISO in a major mall with people actually shopping in it, says a lot about the store. DAISO may not have a super high-end items but despite it’s prices, I think the 100 yen shop is a store with a reputation that people, all kinds of people, know and trust.
It’s not easy to find deals this good, and often when I can’t find something I’m looking for, DAISO is actually one of my go-to places, and in most cases I end up finding what I need.
The variation from store to store. Some DAISOs are tiny, others are large. Some DAISOs have the items you’re looking for while others may have a more limited selection.
I AM A DAISO FAN!
If you’re looking for good deals and everything from toys to ties, from stationery to dinner ware, from watches to cleaning supplies, and then some, Daiso may be perfect shop for you. Please check it out when you have a chance and let me know what you think.